St Albans indies pick up six awards in regional competition

Emma Bustamante of Cositas.

Emma Bustamante of Cositas. - Credit: Laura Bill

St Albans businesses have walked away with a trophy case full of gongs at a regional awards ceremony. 

The Muddy Stiletto Awards for Herts and Beds recognise the achievements of independent business across both counties, and there were plenty of accolades for our district.

Emma Bustamante from Cositas and Cositas Gifts won the best Interiors Store award.

She said: "We are all beyond excited to win the Muddy Stilettos Award for the third year running!

"This year means even more to us because I was afraid of the changed retail landscape left behind from Covid; the rise in online shopping, the unease some people might have felt about returning to shops and then again with the lifting of the masks.

"But winning this award is such a reassurance to us that our customer base remains strong and engaged and that the high street hasn’t been forgotten and still has such a big part to play in St Albans.

"Winning the award impacts us for the better in so many ways from the reassurance that retail still has an engaged audience that I’ve spoken about, a hit of publicity that we wouldn’t have had without the award and the fact that with every award like this it helps our customers to know, like and trust us and the Cositas brand even more which of course delights me!

"I’ve said it before but it’s so much at that heart of everything we do here that I think it’s worth harping on about it! Cositas isn’t just a shop that sells things: it’s a community, our shop offers escapism, inspiration and even just a chat.

"We love working with other small businesses and we hire out our space to give them the opportunity to showcase their products in a bricks and mortar environment.

"A high street shop is nothing without the support  of the community it serves. That’s why we will never stop listening and doing our best to deliver. And it’s just so so uplifting when our efforts are recognised by the people whose opinions matter the most - our customers!"

Tabure won the Best Restaurant category in the Muddy Stiletto Awards.

Tabure won the Best Restaurant category in the Muddy Stiletto Awards. - Credit: Tabure

Hulya and Mark Pearse, founders of Best Restaurant award winner Tabure, said: "We have always aimed so high with what we wanted Tabure to offer. Our team works tirelessly to create exciting, honest, high quality and great value modern Turkish dishes for all our diners to share.

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"To be voted Best Restaurant in the Muddy Stilettos Awards is real recognition for all the hard work that all our team have put in across all our restaurants.

"Over the last 18 months Tabure has adapted so quickly to the ever changing landscape, adapting to food for delivery for so many regulars, when forced to close our doors. We helped celebrate Mother's and Father's Day, birthdays, anniversaries and have catered for weddings and garden parties. 

"We have been able to really connect with our local followers through our determination to keep going come what may. This award serves as a real light at the end of a pretty long tunnel as we enjoy welcoming diners back to our once again busy and buzzy Hertfordshire dining rooms."

Best Photographer Stephanie Belton added: "I'm really thrilled to have won this  award, receiving all this support from my clients and the local community has been such a boost, especially as the past 18 months have been quite a challenge! The nomination and finals stages have been a great opportunity to support other St Albans businesses too, well done to all the winners!

The full list of local winners are:

  • BEAUTY SALON: Skin & Tonic Beauty Salon (St Albans)
  • GARDEN DESIGNER: Jackie Gough Garden Design (St Albans)
  • HAIR SALON: Mosaic Hair Studio (St Albans)
  • INTERIORS STORE: Cositas (St Albans)
  • PHOTOGRAPHER: Stephanie Belton Natural Portraits (St Albans)
  • RESTAURANT: Tabure (St Albans)

All of the winners will be privately invited to a regional awards party.