For the eighth year, the Lockhart Post-Register is giving readers the chance to make their voices heard with the introduction of the Eighth Annual “Best of Caldwell County” Readers’ Choice Awards.
“Right after New Year’s, we start getting calls about when we will start voting for ‘Best Of,’” Post-Register publisher Dana Garrett said. “That tells us that the Readers’ Choice Awards becoming a beloved part of our community fabric.”
Throughout the year, Garrett said, readers and business owners continue to reference the “Best of Caldwell County,” often asking for referrals to businesses and services based on previous years’ votes.
“As you would expect, we always get questions about the best barbecue,” he said. “But it’s grown over the years, and now we’re being asked for the best electrician, the best real estate agent… from newcomers and people visiting town, and from folks that have lived here for years.”
The annual contest, designed to bring recognition to the businesses, individuals and service providers who are “stepping up their game” and providing exceptional service throughout the year.
“When we first started the ‘Best of Caldwell County,’ we had no idea that it was going to take off the way it did,” Post-Register editor Kathi Bliss said. “Because I grew up here in Caldwell County, it used to be that people would ask me what I thought about this business or that one. Over the last few years, I’ve had fewer questions about what I think, and more questions about who our ‘Best Of’ winners are.”
Garrett and Bliss also said that the Post-Register adjusts the contest annually, based on what readers and voters hope to see.
“Without fail, we have someone ask about a category that we’ve forgotten,” Garrett said. “Or something that we didn’t think about in previous years. So we try to keep track of all that, and tailor the ballots not only to what we know people are talking about, but also to the things that people want to talk about.”
The business community, as well, has embraced the “Best of Caldwell County Readers’ Choice Awards.”
In addition to the friendly competition the poll provides, many business owners have said that winning – or not winning – an annual award has caused them to evaluate their business practices in an effort to win the next year.
Some say their interest is in making sure that they are providing the best service they can to their customers. Others, jokingly, say they want to win the “Best Of” to prove something to their competitors.
All agree that winning a “Best of Caldwell County Readers’ Choice Award” is an honor that they appreciate, because it gives them confirmation that they are doing the right things.
Last year, a record-breaking 8,200 votes were cast in the “Best of Caldwell County,” and this year, the Post-Register expects the response to be wider and more far-reaching.
“For the first couple of years, our winners were confined just in Lockhart,” Bliss said. “But three or four years ago, it started branching out, and voters began recognizing businesses and individuals out in the rural communities… that’s been a nice thing to see. It truly means that we’re discussing the very best of Caldwell County.”
The voting period, which opens today, will run until March 1, 2013. Ballots can be found on Page 8B of this week’s print edition of the Post-Register. Votes will be tallied and winners announced in a special commemorative edition of the Post-Register on March 30, 2013.
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