Michael Strasburg reporting

Reporter Michael Strasburg puts the finishing touches on a feature story about Roets Jordan Brewery — one of this year’s winners.

The southwest metro has a lot to offer — from local places to grab a bite to eat or sip on a cold beer, to fitness offerings, local services and top-notch schools, there’s much to love about living and working in the area.

But don’t take our word for it.

Southwest News Media’s 2019 Best of the Best contest wrapped up in October with more than 35,000 votes. The contest, now in its third year, celebrates the best of what the region has to offer. Readers were invited to vote for their favorite local places to grab a coffee, play a round of golf or take their four-legged friends to get a haircut. There were 76 categories in all.

“We have so many great businesses in our south metro area, and this is a great way for our readers to show their support for their favorites,” said Southwest News Media Publisher and Senior Vice President of Sales Laurie Hartmann.

The annual contest has only grown since year No. 1. The popularity and visibility of the contest within the southwest metro area has grown significantly, Hartmann said.

“We’ve had business owners contact us throughout the summer months asking when the contest would be held this year, so there is definite interest on both sides,” she said.

How does it work?

The primary rule is readers could vote for one business per category per day, said Southwest News Media’s Vice President of Digital Strategy and Operations Scott Wyffels. The top 10 vote-getters are considered finalists, with one winner. Each business must be nominated by at least three people, Wyffels said.

“We only had one phase this year,” Wyffels said. “We used to separate voting and nominations into two phases.”

To improve the process for audience members and businesses, Southwest News Media consolidated the nominations and voting in 2019, which reported more votes than ever.

“It was fun to get the new vote total every morning,” Hartmann said of the contest, which ran Sept. 23-Oct. 13. “We surpassed last year’s number early on, so we knew our readers were doing a good job voting for their favorites.”

The vote totals in many categories produced close winners, Hartmann said, so all finalists should be considered winners.

What’s next?

Hartmann and Wyffels both report Southwest News Media is already planning for 2020. Several business categories will be added and the company will survey some winners from the past to see how to make next year’s contest even better.

“Supporting our local business community is always a good thing,” Hartmann said of the contest. “We have many great retail establishments, restaurants and service providers who are asked to contribute in many ways throughout the year. This is one way we can generate more awareness and support for them.”

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