Simply the best
More than 200 honorees and guests packed Hensley Hall at West Jefferson United Methodist Church on Monday at a red carpet luncheon to celebrate the best businesses and individuals Ashe County has to offer.
"The 'Best of the Best,' that's a little bit intimidating, but also impressive," executive director of the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce Cabot Hamilton told the crowd. "I congratulate you all and I'm proud to be here among you.
Sponsored by LifeStore and SkyLine/SkyBest, the Ashe Mountain Times' "2013 The Best Of Ashe County" stops to honor the businesses that customers deem to be the best of the best, Ashe Mountain Times General Manager Rex Goss said.
"It's the highest honor a business can receive because it was voted on by you - our readers," Goss said. "The reader response this year was overwhelming."
For six weeks in October and November, readers submitted more than 1,000 ballots for businesses in more than 150 categories, from best restaurant food and best cosmetologist, to the best auto dealers and investment firm.
"This is not a recognition that has been decided by some committee," Hamilton said. "It was done by your customers, the people who are coming to your business or organization and who had a positive experience, enough that they were willing to go vote for you."
And that positive experience may have stemmed not only from the hard work of a business owner or manager, but also their employees, he said.
"All of your employees, as well as management and ownership, can feel good about today," Hamilton said. "Please go back and make sure all of your employees know how valuable they are in this process of giving good service to your customers. That is the key, what every single one of us strives for."
Hamilton told the winners that with the award comes a big responsibility to continue the efforts that have brought them success.
"That is continuing tomorrow, next week, next month and all throughout the next year ... to offer good service and a good product to your customers," Hamilton said. "You are the 'best of the best' today, but to remain the best takes constant diligence."
The event was catered by Rozie Bolac, while musicians David Van Hoy and Michelle Lyall provided entertainment.
Individuals who were unable to attend the luncheon will also have an opportunity to view the event on SkyLine SkyBest cable TV in February.
The program will air on the SkyZhone HD channel at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, and then at other times after the initial airing. SkyZhone can be found on channel 1 and 801 in Ashe, Alleghany, Avery and Watauga counties and Shady Valley, Tenn.
Winners included Dr. Terry Williams, OB/GYN as the winner of the "Best Women's Clinic," while Barr Insurance, established in 1956, won the title of "Best Insurance Agency."
Operating two stores in Ashe and Watauga counties, The Cabin Store earned the nod for "Best Home Decor," by providing everything from rough cut furniture to unique art and taxidermy.
Boondocks waitress Bely Marino, who is also a full-time teacher for Wilkes County Schools, won "Best Waitress," for her efforts, while the West Jefferson Coffee House won the "Best Coffee Shop" category.
Smoky Mountain Barbecue brought home the "Best BBQ Restaurant" category, as well as "Best Place to Have a Business Meeting."
Ashe County's only complete golf course resort, Jefferson Landing, was named "Best Place to Have a Wedding," while 25-year veteran salon owner Dana Miller Little's The Cutter's Edge was named the "Best Beauty Salon."
For more than four decades, Bill, Joyce and son Cameron Current have served Ashe County with full chiropractic services, and brought home the "Best Chiropractor," title for their service.
Director of Mount Jefferson Child Development Center Becky Greer Goss has served the children of Ashe County for more than three decades; the nonprofit was named the "Best Daycare Center."
Sherman Lyall and Andy Gion's The Hotel Tavern successfully transformed the corner of a century old hotel into one of the most popular restaurant spots in the county, and were rewarded with the title of "Best Restaurant Food" for their efforts.
For his countless volunteer efforts, Lansing Volunteer Fire Department member Jeff Venable was named "Best Firefighter," while Julie Wyatt's Village Florist, a four time Best of Ashe winner, was named "Best Florist."
WJ Hardware has served Ashe County for three generations and was named "Best Hardware Store," by voters, while Jim's Corner was named "Best Furniture Store."
For a full list of winners, see the special section inside today's newspaper.