A specialist soft furnishing business in Colne is celebrating a double success in a regional business awards scheme.

Swankies, in Stanley Street, headed by husband and wife team David and Jo’anne Greenwood, was selected for the 2020 Northern Enterprise Awards as ‘Best Custom Upholstery and Soft Furnishings Supplier in Lancashire’ and also ‘Customer Service Excellence Award.’

“It is wonderful to be acknowledged in these awards,” said David, a member of the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers. “We’ve been in business for 27 years and customer service has always been important to us.”

The day the couple decided to launch Swankies is etched on their memory. As a skilled craftsman, David had become disillusioned with mass production in the furniture industry, and that evening in 1993 he left the factory for good and returned home with his trusty tea mug in hand.

At the very same moment, Jo’anne arrived home with a positive pregnancy test for their second child.

“It was a baptism of fire with another baby on the way”, said Jo’anne, “But we knew that setting up on our own was the right thing to do.”

David’s upholstery skills are complemented by Jo’anne’s expertise in interior design, and they soon outgrew their first premises, a modest workshop on a Nelson side street.

They found an ideal property, a split-level former joinery works in Stanley Street, just off the main Albert Road, and created a showroom and design studio on the ground floor with the workshop above.

There, David designs and creates furniture ranging from small footstools to huge sofas, tailored to individual requirements. He also reupholsters and repairs clients’ own pieces, bringing old favourites back to life.

Jo’anne helps clients to choose fabrics and guides them through choices of complementary curtains and blinds.

Last year Jo’anne joined the board of Colne BID (Business Improvement District) which brings businesses together to promote the town.

Jo’anne said: “Colne is a great town for shops and other businesses and we are so glad we moved here”.

Northern Enterprise Awards executive Natalie Farrell said: “This prestigious award marks the hard work and stellar efforts of those who have helped shape this demanding and dynamic region, and our comprehensive selection and judging process singles out the true market leaders over the past year”.