Published on 24 January 2020

A toast to the best of Onkaparinga business

The people have spoken: here are the region’s top businesses.

From burgers, beverages and fresh produce to nourish our bellies, to yoga and live music to nourish our souls; local businesses offering all these things and everything in between have been acknowledged at the inaugural Onkaparinga Business Awards celebration.

The 2019 awards were held in partnership with Messenger Press, and culminated in the announcement of 14 category winners at Sauerbier House, Port Noarlunga, on 28 November.

The community nominated more than 200 businesses in the awards, from which 46 were shortlisted. More than 17,000 votes were received for the shortlisted businesses.

Veteran Main South Road grocer, O’Halloran Hill Fruit Mart, took out the Hall of Fame award.

The business has been lovingly run by three generations of the Daher family since the family’s patriarch, the late Hanna Daher, started it in 1979.

Originally based in a tin shed, the business has called the Hilltop Shopping Centre home for about 30 years. Hanna’s son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Iman, took over the reins along the way, and these days their sons Hanna and Nicholas have picked up more responsibility. But Hanna, 27, is quick to point out, “Dad is the backbone of the business, without him it doesn’t run. I think everyone knows him and he knows everyone.

“It’s those connections with customers that keep people coming back, even after they have moved away from the region. That and the good quality produce, at low prices.

“That’s been our motto forever. You do that right and you keep everyone happy; it’s a recipe for success,” Hanna says. “It’s not rocket science what we do — putting out fresh fruit and veg and keeping everyone happy.”

While Brian kept the home fires burning at the store, Hanna and Iman attended the awards evening, and were surprised at the result. They thanked the organisers, and credited their strong customer base — including more than 11,000 supporters on social media — for the win.

Another winning business was Southern Classics and Customs at Seaford, owned by Adam and Jodi van der Linden, who took out Best Manufacturing/Construction/Trade Business.

They restore and customise classics, muscle cars and hot rods.

“A lot of these cars are steeped in Australian history, something Adam and I both connect with and are very passionate about,” Jodi says.

“We’re lucky to work with people who are just as passionate about keeping these pieces of Australian history alive, on the road and looking beautiful.”

Adam has a background in crash repair, and originally completed restorations on weekends as a side business until it became clear there was more than two years of weekend work piled up. Combined with Jodi’s background in retail management, starting up their own business in 2010 was a natural progression, and a great way to be flexible around a young family, with their home just minutes from the workshop.

“We feel very lucky to be part of this community,” Jodi says. “We have a lot of personal connections with our clients and the cars that we restore.”

The award win was an “emotional and overwhelming” moment, according to Jodi, who thanked their staff and customers, and the council for its support of small business.

She says small business ownership is, “not always roses, but we feel very blessed — almost 10 years and we’re still kicking”.

The awards are part of council’s ON Business Partner Program, which aims to help local small businesses thrive through grants, advice, education and networking opportunities.

Registering for the program is free and easy to do; just sign up online and upload your business profile to start receiving updates and event notifications, and become eligible for its small grants initiative and other member benefits.

Full list of 2019 Onkaparinga Business Award winners

Hall of fame

O’Halloran Hill Fruit Mart
Fancy That On Beach Road
Wood n Logs

Best start up

Port Burger
Tent-it Teepee Party Hire
Tipi Lane

Best eatery

Agatha’s Café
Home Grain Bakery
Becks Bakehouse

Best coffee

Coffee Factory Café
Café Cody
Coffeed Café

Best pub/bar/live music venue

Pepper Tree Café
Victor’s Place
Mick O’Shea’s Hotel
Keg and Barrel Steakhouse

Best food/beverage manufacturer/producer

Beach Road Wines
Thug Life Brewing
Shifty Lizard Brewing Co.

Best tourism experience

McLaren Vale Motorcycle Tours and Chauffeured Cars
Willunga Farmers’ Market
Mollydooker Wines

Best professional services/inclusion support business

Concept Accountants
Complete Mobile Mechanical
Achieve Video Marketing

Best manufacturing/construction/trade business

Southern Classics and Customs
Tapp Electrical
South Vac Hydro Excavation and Vacuuming

Best mobile trader

Rosy Lee High Tea and Catering
Radicool Reptiles
Zaks on Wheels
Pitstop Italianfood

Best retailer

Railways Landscape Supplies

Best health/beauty/wellness business

Salt Yoga
Flava Fitness Down South
Madiva Hair Lounge

Best eco/sustainability business

Eco Party Box
The Flour Store
McCarthy’s Orchard
Uniquely Natural

Best customer experience

Pepper Tree Aldinga
Port Burger
Agatha’s Licensed Cafe
Hanna Daher at the family-run O’Halloran Hill Fruit Mart