Voting for ‘Best of Southern Utah’ opens as businesses vie for coveted title, community recognition

ST. GEORGE — From Santa Clara to Springdale, the search is on for the finest restaurants, mechanics, realtors, builders and countless other categories of local businesses. Only an elite few will be crowned the “Best of Southern Utah.” 

Voting for the third annual Best of Southern Utah begins online Monday at noon and will continue through March 8. Visitors may cast one vote per category – with a total of 10 votes per day – and are invited to return every day to support their favorite local businesses. 

Best of Southern Utah is presented by St. George News and Canyon Media. They have partnered with title sponsor Vasion, a leading technology company in the area, to bring even more visibility to this year’s contest. 

Nominations began Feb. 1 and closed last Wednesday. During this time, nearly 30,000 visitors nominated over 700 businesses across 207 categories.

Ben Lindquist, general manager of Canyon Media, said that interest and participation in the contest has never been higher. 

“It’s really exciting to see and be a part of,” he said. “I think it has a lot to do with where we’re at as a community and where we’re at from a business standpoint.” 

Although Best of Southern Utah is a fun way for the community to support their favorite local haunts and let their voices be heard, this year’s contest has a greater purpose of celebrating the small businesses that rose to the challenges of 2020. Lindquist said he is thoroughly impressed by the ingenuity and resolve local business owners have shown as they improvise, repurpose and overcome obstacles to continue serving their customers.  

“I think our business community has really stepped up and made the best of a tough year,” he said. “This one’s special because of what our small business community has gone through.”  

Last year, Southern Utahns cast nearly 500,000 votes in all, almost a 30% increase from 2019.  

Shane Brinkerhoff, director of news operations for St. George News, said that the website has undergone significant upgrading ahead of this year’s contest, making it easier than ever for visitors to cast their ballots. Whether you’re an owner, an employee, a customer or a fan, this is your opportunity to speak up and show your support. 

“The contest continues to grow every year,” he added. 

Gold and silver award winners will be crowned in 10 consolidated categories:

  • Activities and Entertainment
  • Business and Services
  • Food and Beverage
  • General Services
  • Home and Garden
  • Lifestyle and Beauty
  • Medical
  • Schools
  • Shopping
  • Vehicles and Services

Winners will be published online and in the Best of Southern Utah magazine on June 7. 

In addition to showcasing the winners, the magazine is designed and produced entirely by Canyon Media to serve as a guidebook for both locals and visitors seeking the very best that the area has to offer. So far, 15,000 copies of the 2020 edition have been distributed throughout the community. 

Lindquist said the hundreds of people moving to this area every month are realizing what locals already know: Southern Utah is a fantastic place to live and work. 

“We have an incredible business community,” he said. 

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