Almost 500,000 votes counted to crown an elite few as Best of Southern Utah 2020; winners revealed today

Composite image. background Zion National Park, Utah, date unspecified, St. George News

SOUTHERN UTAH — While there is no doubt that people from around the world are drawn to Southern Utah for its splendid beauty and plethora of chances for adventure, the true value of the area lies in its people and the businesses striving everyday to support an atmosphere of community.

Best of Southern Utah 2020 magazine, St. George, Utah, June 3, 2020 | Photo by James Kreitzer, St. George News

Along these lines, after thousands of hours of work, over 1,300 nominations across almost 200 individual categories and nearly half a million votes, the results are finally ready for this year’s Best of Southern Utah, and organizers say they couldn’t be more excited to reveal the winners Wednesday at noon.

Ben Lindquist, general manager for Canyon Media, said the results of the annual contest — sponsored by House of Hearing, St. George News and its parent company Canyon Media — are a welcome celebration of the best businesses in the region after the tumultuous past few months.

“Everybody’s been through a whole lot the last two months – emotionally physically, financially – and we’re really excited about this and excited about making it bigger and better next year,” Lindquist said.

The contest, which lets the community decide what businesses offer the greatest services and goods in the area, saw record participation this year, he said, not just in businesses nominated but also in votes cast. And now that everything is reopening, people need to know the best place to go.

“We look at this as a celebration of all the best of Southern Utah,” Lindquist said. “It couldn’t have come at a better time for businesses trying to get their name out there and reconnect with customers who might have either been quarantining or had restricted access. The excitement we’ve seen from the community and business owners about being able to participate, showcase and celebrate what they do that really separates them, it’s been fun to be a part of that.”

This year the contest included the following 10 categories:

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

Nominations began on Feb. 3, and the final winners will be released online at BestofSouthernUtah.com.

This year, Canyon Media and St. George News have picked up all of the publishing reins and have created a magazine in full 8 1/2 x 11-inch format to showcase the winners.

“It’s going to be a beautiful magazine,” Lindquist said. “I’m really proud of our design team. … On the layout and the quality, I’m just really impressed.”

He added that the part they are most excited about is the longevity they expect for the magazine. A lot of publications come out and are only good for a couple weeks, but Lindquist sees their magazine as a resource that people will be able to use all year long.

We really look at it as an annual guidebook for people that are from here, people moving to town, people that just moved here in the last year and tourists that come here and are looking for great places to eat, shop and adventure. This really will be the premier area guidebook.

Lindquist said they felt like the magazine had to be the best representation of what’s available for consumers and that it was “an honor” to be able to showcase these business and celebrate what makes them the best. He said they expect the magazine will be a great resource that might ultimately be found anywhere from hotels and grocery stores to offices and living room coffee tables – and, of course, at the winners’ locations.

Best of Southern Utah 2020 magazine, St. George, Utah, June 3, 2020 | Photo by James Kreitzer, St. George News

Shane Brinkerhoff, director of news operations for St. George News, said he couldn’t agree more, and everyone is ecstatic about the new magazine and the changes that were made moving to the larger format this time around.

“We’re going to distribute 15,000 copies,” Brinkerhoff said, adding that they had already ordered racks so they could get the magazine out into the public as soon as they were printed. He said these distribution racks will be located all across Southern Utah in high profile areas and will be restocked monthly. “We’re really excited about it. We hope it’s going to have good shelf life.”

Brinkerhoff echoed Lindquist’s sentiments about the high quality of the magazine.

“The look and the feel – and the print is big,” he said. “There are a lot of really good things about it.”

Brinkerhoff said the community participation in Southern Utah was better than they could’ve hoped, and he expects this year’s Best of Iron County contest, which resumes next week, to be just as successful. 

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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