Everyone likes to be appreciated for a job well done. That’s the basic idea behind the Lethbridge Sun Times’ annual Best of the Best survey.
The Best of the Best is a way for Sun Times readers to offer a pat on the back to the local businesses they feel are the cream of the crop. As Downtown Lethbridge BRZ executive director Ted Stilson, the creator of Best of the Best, noted in this issue’s cover story, “It was a way to acknowledge the great businesses we have in our community.”
Almost 20 years after its debut, the Best of the Best is not only continuing to do that, but the survey has grown by leaps and bounds. From its humble beginnings when just over 400 ballots, filled in by hand, were received, this year’s Best of the Best survey attracted a whopping 97,295 votes via a new and improved website.
The survey has grown in scope, too, and now features more than 90 categories, many the result of suggestions from the public and the business community. It now serves as a veritable directory of outstanding local businesses providing almost any kind of product and service one could want. Even newcomers to Lethbridge have learned to make use of the Best of the Best results to help them find top-quality local businesses.
Over its two decades, the Best of the Best survey has raised its profile to the point that readers eagerly look forward to the voting period, and suggestions for additional categories continue to be offered. Best of the Best plaques are proudly displayed by businesses who recognize the significance of the recognition. The award is a validation that local business operators and their staffs are doing things right, and that those efforts are being recognized and appreciated by their customers.
The businesses that crack the top three in the various categories are a mix of small, locally owned businesses and major national chains. Many of them are located downtown, serving as a testament that the city’s downtown core has regained its vitality after a difficult period in the 1980s and ’90s. A strong downtown is important to any local economy and the Best of the Best results are an indication that Lethbridge’s downtown is healthy once again.
In fact, the Best of the Best serves to showcase the quality of the entire Lethbridge business community. There are many outstanding businesses in the city, and readers will find a number of them in the pages of this year’s Best of the Best edition.