The annual Best of Springfield awards are meant to “shine a spotlight on local businesses” and the products and services that they offer to the community, says Chris Schutte, vice president of destination marketing and communications for The Greater Springfield Partnership
“It’s the celebration of everything local, everything great in Springfield,” Schutte says. The organization launched the contest in 2015.
The winners in all 50 categories were announced the evening of Thursday, Oct. 20, at a sold-out event at Mother Stewart’s Brewing Company
Award categories range from the best bakery to the best steak and from the best financial firm to the best florist.
A list of the winners will be available online, as well as in a magazine to be distributed in the Sunday, Oct. 23, edition of the Springfield News-Sun, which served as a partner for this year’s contest. The magazine also will be available digitally.
Throughout the years the contest has provided exposure to Springfield’s retailers, services and providers – including many a “hidden gem” that had previously flown under the radar, Schutte says.
Voting was conducted differently this year, with two rounds of votes. During the first round, anyone could nominate any business located in Clark County, he says. Then three finalists were chosen in each category and voters could participate in a second round of voting. More than 100,000 individual votes were tabulated between the two rounds.
The winners weren’t notified ahead of the celebration, but the three finalists in each category should be proud of their accomplishments, Schutte says.
“This is great for everyone,” he says. “It raises everyone’s game.”
Throughout the years the contest has been far from static. Schutte has enjoyed seeing the number of new businesses that have become finalists since the contest began seven years ago. Inaddition, Best of Springfield may include several new categories next year.
“It celebrates the good work that all of these places do,” he says.