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Drakes MD receives lifetime achievement honour at local event


The managing director of Drakes Jewellers was presented with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement accolade at the Plymouth Business Awards.

The Plymouth-based retailer’s managing director, John Hirshman, was honoured in front of hundreds of local business people on Friday, May 17, at a glittering ceremony.

Right from the first day Drakes opened its doors in March 1950, John Hirshman has had his heart firmly in the family business, started by his father Harry Hirshman. John officially joined the team in 1954 before taking over the reins as managing director in 1975. Today he has eased back a little, handing over the day to day running of the business to his children, Andrew and Monique. They are now the driving force behind the business together with the first director outside of the family, Jennifer Manning.

Although John Hirshman is officially semi-retired, he still makes great efforts to visit the store daily and be involved in the progression of Drakes. Since joining the company, he has seen Drakes trade from many prominent locations around the city centre as well as the opening and merging of its sister store ‘Plymouth Goldsmiths’. The businessman, who this year celebrated his 80th birthday, is very much one of the reasons that Drakes has been as successful as it has.

William Telford, Plymouth Herald’s Business Editor, said of the win: “John Hirshman is a true veteran of the Plymouth business scene and a worthy recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. He has steered one of Plymouth’s best known, and best-loved, independent retailers, Drakes, though various economic cycles for decades. John joined the firm, started by his father Harry Hirshman when he was just 15 years old, and took control of the business in 1975, seamlessly handing the reigns to his children Monique and Andrew Hirshman.

“During the past five decades Drakes has grown to become one of the most successful independent retailers in the region. Plymouth Live, The Herald and Western Morning News have all tracked its success over the years. This sustained success, and John’s dynamism and sheer hard work over that period makes him the standout candidate for this award.”

Monique and Andrew Hirshman were bursting with pride when John was announced as this year’s winner.

“I am so proud of Dad and everything he has worked for and achieved, he is a true gentleman in every sense of the word and I know how much this will mean to him, and to us all,” says Drakes director Andrew Hirshman.

Fellow Drakes director, Monique Hirshman, adds: “I am so thrilled that Dad has been presented with the lifetime achievement award. He is such a supporter of this beautiful city we live in and has lived and breathed business all his life.”


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