Nominations now open for ‘Best of Southern Utah’ with new title sponsor House of Hearing

ST. GEORGE — Who makes the best steak in town? Where can you take the whole gang out for a night of family fun or just find the best massage for you and a loved one? The time has come for Southern Utah’s voice to be heard.

Stock image, St. George News

Nominations opened Monday at noon for Best of Southern Utah 2020 at BestofSouthernUtah.com. With a goal of helping locals and visitors spotlight the absolute best of the region, from the best photographer to the perfect place to find an oven-fired pizza, the second annual competition – sponsored by St. George News and Canyon Media – is back in 2020 with a new title sponsor: House of Hearing.

Canyon Media General Manager Ben Lindquist said the response from the community last year was amazing, with almost 300,000 nominations cast by 90,000 unique voters.

“There’s no better way to identify the best businesses,” Lindquist said, adding that is it great to be partnering this year with hearing aid specialists House of Hearing and its owners Chris and Jennifer Bain.

“It’s fun for us to be able to partner with people like the House of Hearing that see the vision and the value in this like we do,” he said. “We’re thrilled to have them on board. I think they realize the level of quality that has gone into the Best of Southern Utah, from the magazine to the website. … This is something that will grow every single year.”

Jennifer Bain told St. George News it was an honor being nominated for last year’s Best of Southern Utah and thought it was probably because they genuinely love each person that walks through their door. She said they are excited to sponsor this year’s competition.

“We truly love our patients,” she said. “You’re never another number, ever. I never want you to feel that way — you’re going to leave with a hug.”

It’s about taking care of people that want to be taken care of, Chris Bain added.

“You’re changing people’s lives,” he said. “It’s a very fulfilling job.”

Nominations for this year’s Best of Southern Utah will continue through Feb. 19.

A new year means new categories and an easier process

Lindquist said businesses can often be held hostage by the latest negative review or Instagram post, but Best of Southern Utah gives the community a chance to let their opinions be known from a larger perspective.

Offering a listing of 184 different categories and subcategories, the competition provides an honest way to help people discover who their neighbors think is the most experienced doctor, where to find a qualified mechanic or who carries the best beauty products.

“There are a lot of great participants,” Lindquist said.

For 2020, two more main categories have been added, with the full list as follows:

  • Activities & Entertainment
  • Business & Services
  • Medical
  • Schools
  • Food & Beverages
  • Shopping
  • General Services
  • Home & Garden
  • Vehicles & Services
  • Lifestyle & Beauty

“We’re going to try and build it bigger and better every single year, to add whatever we can to make it a good win for businesses and also the consumer in the community that wants to know where some of the best places,” Lindquist said previously.

Since credibility is vital in any competition, the entire voting process will handled by a third party, which Lindquist said keeps everything above-board, and there is no way someone can pull any tricks or manipulate votes.

“You want to make sure that you’ve got a company that can handle the voting and that can do it in a way that is easy and convenient for the voter – and ultimately, protect against any voter fraud,” he said.

President of News Operations Shane Brinkerhoff said a key element they focused on for 2020 was making a few highly needed changes to the nomination process.

“We thought the process was a little cumbersome last year,” Brinkerhoff said, “so we decided to redo the ballot system to make it easier.” 

All daily submissions will still be free, but this year, the online nomination process will utilize a “build-your-ballot” type of system. Instead of having to go through the entire website to submit a nomination for their chosen category, users will be able to vote from one easy-to-navigate page.

We are excited about our new ballot system that should make the voting easier for the general public to be able to navigate the categories,” Brinkerhoff said. We made it more of a 1-2-3 step process to submit your ballots across all the main level categories each day.”

Participants can simply click on a category, select a subcategory and then include it on the ballot. To make it even easier, every selected category is listed on the side of the page for that day’s submission.

Brinkerhoff said not everyone that wanted to be part of the competition was involved last year, and he hopes that people hurry and nominate their favorite businesses at Best of Southern Utah and give them the recognition they deserve.

“We’ve tried to really make some changes to the site that will make that easier for people to participate,” he said. “Whether you work there or are a customer, a fan, an owner — make sure you choose the category that you want and make sure you get your businesses nominated so they have a chance.

Last year, Canyon Media distributed over 20,000 copies of a magazine with all of the winners, and Lindquist said some people remarked it was one of the best publications in the community. This year they are making the publication bigger and better, printing in a larger 8 1/2-by-11 format and adding several new distribution racks around town.

Voting on finalists will begin Feb. 24 and conclude on March 15, with the final results published on the website and in the magazine on June 3.

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Email: apinckney@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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