ST. GEORGE — Amid the breathtaking scenery of the greater St. George area are unique shopping locales, premier restaurants and a wide variety of small businesses all vying to position themselves as local favorites. But only an elite few can win the right to call themselves the Best of Southern Utah.
Voting has concluded in the fourth annual Best of Southern Utah contest, presented by Canyon Media, St. George News and title sponsor Dixie Power. More than 600,000 total votes were cast, an all-time high. This year’s contest also set a new record for nominations, with 970 businesses nominated across 208 categories.
“That tells us we’ve got a very passionate local community that cares about small business,” said Ben Lindquist, general manager of Canyon Media. “It also shows that we have a unique and really skilled and talented community of businesses that take a lot of pride in what they do.”
Gold and silver award winners will be crowned within 10 consolidated categories: Activities and Entertainment, Business and Services, Food and Beverage, General Services, Home and Garden, Lifestyle and Beauty, Medical, Schools, Shopping and Vehicles and Services.
The winners will be published online and in the Best of Southern Utah magazine, which is designed and produced entirely by Canyon Media, on June 7.
Along with showcasing the winners, the magazine is designed to serve as a guidebook for both locals and visitors seeking the very best that Southern Utah has to offer. 15,000 copies will be distributed at 20 pickup locations throughout the greater St. George area.
Lindquist highlighted the time and energy that St. George News and Canyon Media staff contribute to building a first-class publication every year.
“It’s amazing how the magazine has had a shelf life of so many months,” he said. “We’re still seeing the 2020 issue circulating and being utilized as a reference, and I think that really speaks to its value and quality.”
Best of Southern Utah has developed into a signature event within the local business community and continues to grow in popularity every year. The inaugural contest in 2019 drew just over 270,000 votes.
“This has become a brand,” said Brent Rowe, director of sales for St. George News. “It’s something they can use to help their business grow and give it some credibility.”
Small businesses are an invaluable thread in the fabric of Southern Utah and rely on the community’s support. Although the contest is a fun way for locals to help promote their favorite spots, it’s also an opportunity to celebrate the ingenuity and resolve of business owners as they continue improvising, repurposing and overcoming obstacles to better serve their customers.
For the first time, Canyon Media is hosting an exclusive winner’s gala the same evening that results are announced. The winning businesses will be presented with a prize package featuring a gold or silver medal along with a window cling and a certificate celebrating their accomplishment.
“The sales team gets to see the excitement of the businesses as they participate,” Rowe said. “We love seeing the pride they take in displaying the decals and representing the fact that they won Best of Southern Utah.”
As impressive as the surrounding natural beauty may be, the value of the greater St. George area truly lies in its people and the businesses striving each day to support an atmosphere of community. Best of Southern Utah highlights the very finest small businesses that the region has to offer, from burgers and pizza to automotive shops and building contractors. It’s an opportunity for owners, employees, customers and fans to let their voices be heard.
“We’re all connected in one way or another to a small business, whether it’s people we know that work for them or people that own them,” Lindquist said. “Southern Utah is a fantastic place to live and work.”
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