CEDAR CITY — Where can you find the best steaks in Cedar City? Who is the only mechanic you’ll trust to not leave you stranded along Interstate 15? Voting for the Best of Iron County opens today, allowing locals to decide which businesses are the best in the community.
Presented by Cedar City News, parent company Canyon Media and title sponsor Brian K. Tavoian Family Dentistry, the inaugural Best of Iron County showcases the diversity and entrepreneurial spirit of a growing community and celebrates the family-run businesses at its heart.
For businesses, it’s a welcome opportunity to get their names on customers’ lips after a challenging few months.
Recognizing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local businesses, Canyon Media General Manager Ben Lindquist and the rest of the team made the decision in March to delay voting and extend the nomination period. Nominations concluded on July 22. More than 500 businesses from Parowan to Kanarraville were nominated in 149 subcategories such as real estate, pet grooming and dermatology.
Gold and silver winners will be awarded in 10 consolidated categories:
- Activities and Entertainment
- Business and Services
- Food and Beverage
- General Services
- Home and Garden
- Lifestyle and Beauty
- Vehicles and Services
Known for the stunning beauty found in nearby Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks and the friendly competition of the Utah Summer Games and Tony Award-winning entertainment offered by the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cedar City – nicknamed “Festival City, USA” – welcomes more than 1 million visitors annually. The Best of Iron County will serve as a guidebook for both locals and tourists to find their new favorite spots throughout the region, Lindquist said.
“It’s a great area that deserves something like this,” he said. “They have world-class festivals, great entertainment and an incredible university. We wanted to do something for them, something that highlights the community and the great businesses that are there.”
In 2019, Canyon Media launched the Best of Southern Utah, which mainly highlights companies in the Washington County area. Shane Brinkerhoff, president of news operations for Cedar City News and St. George News, said the Best of Iron County was inspired by the feedback they received from business owners in the region eager to have a contest to call their own.
“We thought it was important to have a competition distinctly for Iron County so business owners, employees, customers and fans have the ability to nominate their favorites,” he said.
Lindquist said he believes small businesses are the heart and soul of rural communities, adding that finding new and better ways to serve the people of Iron County has been a priority for Canyon Media over the past couple of years. They recently established the Cedar City News office with dedicated full-time reporters and sales representatives.
The second annual Best of Southern Utah concluded in early June with more than 1,300 businesses nominated and nearly 500,000 votes counted. A directory of winners is available to view digitally and in a free magazine distributed throughout the St. George area. Brinkerhoff said he anticipates the Iron County contest will be met with equally enthusiastic community participation, and he encouraged all southern Utahns to vote, share, and most importantly, patronize the competing businesses.
As with the Best of Southern Utah, voting for the Best of Iron County will be handled by a third-party service. Voting concludes Aug. 10, and winners are due to be revealed online Oct. 10.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.