Reader’s Choice salutes ‘Best of Bradley County’
by RICK NORTON Associate Editor
Jun 29, 2014 | 1515 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
READER’S CHOICE 2014, an annual publication that identifies the “Best of Bradley County” in 165 categories, is included inside today’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner. At left, Assistant Sports Editor Joe Cannon and Lifestyles Editor William Wright look over the 40-page tabloid as it rolls off the press Friday. Readers voted Cannon “Best Newspaper Columnist” for the second consecutive year and Wright, who won the same category in 2012, finished this year as runner-up. Banner photo, HOWARD PIERCE
READER’S CHOICE 2014, an annual publication that identifies the “Best of Bradley County” in 165 categories, is included inside today’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner. At left, Assistant Sports Editor Joe Cannon and Lifestyles Editor William Wright look over the 40-page tabloid as it rolls off the press Friday. Readers voted Cannon “Best Newspaper Columnist” for the second consecutive year and Wright, who won the same category in 2012, finished this year as runner-up. Banner photo, HOWARD PIERCE
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To quote a familiar adage, “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true.”

Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on who’s talking and how it’s said.

Nonetheless, Day 1 of Braggin’ Rights 2014 is here. Inside today’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner awaits a special section titled “Best of Bradley County.” These Reader’s Choice 2014 awards include the winners, and the runners-up, in 165 categories of professional service.

This “Who’s Who?” of community favorites features Bradley County’s best — as voted by Banner readers — in five classifications: Automotive, People, Restaurants, Services and Shopping.

This is only the community contest’s third year, but public response has been — in a word — “incredible.” That’s the assessment of Sheena Meyer, retail sales manager for the Banner whose team coordinated the annual competition and who did all the legwork — including the final tabulation of thousands of ballots.

“The public response just keeps getting bigger every year,” Meyer said. “This year’s participation was the biggest so far. We had phone calls starting as early as March and April asking when this year’s contest was coming.”

After a two-week series of reminders and promotions in the Banner, balloting began in early May and continued through the next two weeks. Voting closed May 20 and that’s when the fun really began as in-house coordinators launched the task of sorting through piles and piles ... and piles ... of completed ballots, and tallying the votes in every category.

“In the first two years of these Reader’s Choice awards, we were amazed at the level of community response,” said Stephen Crass, editor and publisher of the Banner. “And now in the third year, reaction — both in voting numbers and enthusiasm — has been over the top.”

After the community excitement generated by the competition in its first two years, coordinators never doubted its return for a third year, and beyond, Crass cited.

“We thank every Banner reader who took the time to participate in the voting,” the longtime newspaperman stressed. “Thanks to them, Reader’s Choice 2014 has been a major success. I said this last year and I’ll say it again. Frankly, we see the sky as being the limit for this contest. That’s how much fun it has been for our newspaper and how much playfulness it has brought to literally every facet of our community.”

Crass urged Banner readers to enjoy today’s special section for what it is — a fitting, and fun, way of saluting those whose dedication to community, and to customer service, has put them in the spotlight. In some cases, this year’s winners are enjoying their first appearance on center stage, while others are reaping the benefits of public opinion for a second or third year.

“The people, the services, the companies and all organizations who are represented in today’s special section are there for a reason,” Crass stressed. “That’s because other people appreciate what they do and how they do it, not just on this day or that day, but every day.”

He added, “Customer service, and making it a practice of doing the right thing as the norm and not the exception, are what sets people and their businesses or organizations apart from the rest.”

Readers are also reminded that this is not a scientific survey. It was never intended to be. It is simply a unique opportunity for newspaper readers to shine a spotlight on those who they believe are some of this town’s finest.

For instance ...

In Automotive, who offers the best auto body repair? Who has the best tire store? Who offers the best in cars, used cars, trucks and used trucks? Readers have responded. Their answers are inside this edition.

In People, who’s the best volunteer, politician, attorney, nurse, plumber, funeral director and accountant? Who’s the best newspaper columnist? Readers have marked their ballots. Find out how in today’s special section.

In Restaurants, who serves up the best-tasting biscuits? Who plates the freshest seafood? How about best pizza, dessert, ice cream and sandwiches? It’s all there, as told by our newspaper readers. Check it out.

In Services, who’s the best bank, the finest nursing home, the most reliable law firm, the most credible school and the most comfortable hotel or motel? Our readers have had their say. Now you can find out how they said it.

In Shopping ... and who doesn’t love to shop? ... where can you go for the best in antiques, men’s or women’s or kids’ clothes, hardware, jewelry, furniture, groceries or shoes? For some local insight, pull out today’s special tabloid.

It’s called Reader’s Choice 2014. It gauges ... at least for one year at a time ... the “Best of Bradley County.”

It’s not our vote.

It’s our readers’ votes.

It’s a recognition of people. It’s a praise of service. It’s a down-home “... attaboy!”

As written last year of the Reader’s Choice awards, “These folks aren’t just good. These folks are the best ... the ‘Best of Bradley County!’”