Croydon nail bar ‘community spirit’ wins outstanding team award

There was jubilation and dancing last night at a Croydon nail bar after winning a Croydon Business Resilience award yesterday.

Atara Nail Bar on Croydon High Street, opened by Lhaki David, 51, in February 2020, won the Outstanding Team Award.

Staff watched the ceremony from the shopfloor, which was hosted via Zoom this year, joined by loyal customers and friends.

Mrs David said: “My team is just amazing, it takes a long time for me to recruit because I look for people that think about the community.”

NAILED IT: (From left to right) Ms Shanel Goldson, 22, Ms Plidy Fernandes, 25, Mrs Lhaki David, 51, Ms Narcisa Rapaila, 24, and Mrs Plamnia Vasilava, 42, celebrate their award win.

Lockdowns and social distancing tested the business, but Mrs David credits Atara’s success to her close-knit team of nail technicians.

She David added: “I’m really, really happy to win—it means a lot to me and the girls.”

The work can be gruelling, nail technician Plidy Fernandes, 25, explained how the long shifts and busy days require plenty of stamina.

Nail technician Shanel Goldson, 22, added: “As a team we feel like family, most of us work six days a week.”

The win came as little surprise to Atara’s loyal customers, who praised the friendly and communal environment of the shop.

Mrs Christine Gabriel, 59, said: “They’re like your sisters, you’re just very welcomed.”

WELL POLISHED: A happy customer flouts their freshly polished nails.

The Croydon Business Excellence Awards started in 2015 to champion Croydon businesses, but were renamed this year to the Business Resilience Awards to recognise the difficulties of the past year.

Awards ceremonies are held annually between September and October, but were cancelled last year due to COVID restrictions.

Businesses from the borough apply or are nominated for the awards categories, which cover “Business Resilience” to “Sustainable Green Investment”, with the public deciding the winners.

Competition for an award is fierce, with over 150 entrants for awards and a shortlist of 89, Atara found itself against 11 other businesses for the “Outstanding Team Award”.

Ms Julie Leggatt, 35, Associate Director for Events at White Label, the PR company behind the awards, described how an award win is transformative for the small businesses of the borough.

Ms Leggatt said: “Winning an award can make a big difference to your marketing, bid proposals and gives local businesses that extra bit of confidence.”

Leggatt felt that ideas of community took centre stage on the night, with winners like Atara made a success by their community-focused approach.

The awards events go beyond celebrating Croydon businesses, they are also intended to spotlight success stories in the much maligned borough.

Ms Leggatt added: “It helps show you the strong community that we are and it works to counter Croydon’s unfair reputation.”

For Atara, success last night is only the start.

“I’ve got some amazing plans, and it’s going to be for the community,” Mrs David said.

Atara Nail Bar is located on 250 High street, Croydon, CRO 1NF.

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