No doubt about it: Estevan has a very diverse business community.
And it shows in this year’s Estevan Mercury Best of Estevan contest, with the number of businesses that won awards and the total number of awards presented.
The awards were grouped into nine different categories for people to vote on; the number of awards in each category ranged from as low as nine to as high as 32.
And while some businesses won more than one award, more than 125 businesses captured awards this year.
Deanna Tarnes, who is the publisher and sales manager at the Mercury, said the idea behind Best of Estevan is to remind the public that they can get every single thing they need here.
“That’s why we do it, is to promote our local businesses and just show people that no matter what category you come up with, you can get it in Estevan,” she said. “We like to showcase our local businesses.”
Thousands of votes were received for the competition. The ballot appeared in the Mercury on Feb. 19 and 26, as well as March 4, and in Southeast Lifestyles on Feb. 21 and 28. People could fill out their ballot and drop it off at the Mercury’s office.
The ballot was also posted on the Estevan Mercury’s website, www.estevanmercury.ca. Due to the number of awards, the ballots had to be broken up into three components. Nearly 2,400 people visited the Best of Estevan tab on the website during the voting period.
“It was a pretty even mix of print and online votes,” said Tarnes, who was pleased with the number of people who took the time to go through the ballots and fill them out.
Those who voted for at least 25 awards were entered to win $100 cash.
She also thanked everyone who took the time to vote.
“Everybody is busy and has things to do, and took the time. It’s nice to see,” she said.
Even though the contest was offered just two years ago, there was a lot of change in the award recipients. Some of the winners are long-standing businesses who didn’t win two years earlier, others are new businesses in the community.
“People have diversified to stick with the ever-changing markets, and are trying some different things,” she said.
Tarnes noted there were some surprises as well and some businesses won multiple awards. And of course, there were some long-standing businesses who won this time around, just like they did in 2018 and the first time Best of Estevan was offered back in 2011.
Certificates from 2018 and even 2011 can still be found on the walls of local businesses, who are proud to be voted as the Best of Estevan.
“It’s nice to acknowledge the different businesses,” Tarnes said. “We’re only here because of them.”
Certificates are also a good form of in-house marketing, as it’s a way for people to know the services that are offered.
“It’s nice that people see value in being awarded something from us,” said Tarnes.
The businesses who win a Best of Estevan award will receive a framed certificate to hang, as well as recognition for their success. All of the ads from this publication will be posted in a photo gallery on the Mercury’s website.
And there’s also the element of bragging rights.
Tarnes stressed that while many businesses won awards for Best of Estevan, there are many others in the city who would be worthy of recognition in different categories as well. Many of the awards had numerous deserving recipients.
“There are so many businesses who do great things who didn’t win in a certain category that they may be associated with,” said Tarnes. “They still do great things as well. Many of the votes were close.”