Award adds a little shine to 2011
MARGARET Hooper's story of 2011 is typical of so many Ipswich business people who were caught up in the floods.
The carpet business owner's showroom on Brisbane St wasn't the only thing gutted after the Bremer River rose to its highest level since 1974, but Ms Hooper, her staff and supporters showed they wouldn't be defeated.
With months of hard work and a deep reach into the pockets, Hoopers Carpet One was back even better than before by the end of May.
The 50-year-old business' success through adversity was one of the major reasons for Mrs Hooper receiving the President's Award at Saturday's Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business Awards.
The Ipswich Civic Hall was packed for the black tie event, with 11 of the city's most successful business owners receiving awards.
Chamber president Michael Munt admitted Mrs Hooper's name was the first that came to mind when deciding on who should receive his award.
"There are a number of reasons why I chose her," he said.
"The Hooper name is so prominent in Ipswich's history - it is one of the reasons why Ipswich is on the map.
"It is also because Margaret has been through so much this year - it takes a person with great fortitude to get back in there after taking such a hit."
Mr Munt also noted the carpet business owner's contributions to the arts in Ipswich.
Of the other major awards on the night, aluminium extrusions business Capral took out business of the year, while Extreme Safety won small business of the year.
Ipswich Cup boss Brett Kitching accepted the award for event of the year on behalf of the Ipswich Turf Club, while Clinton Abel from the Ipswich Foot and Ankle Clinic took out the Young Business Person of the Year Award.
"The night went really well and feedback I received was that everyone really enjoyed themselves," Mr Munt said.
"I think we have come out of the floods disaster as a stronger business community - because we are now a more close-knit community.
"It is because we have shared these struggles that we've have been brought closer.
"Over the next year we can look to build on these successes."