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It’s the best time of the year again.

Today, our Best of the Best 2022 nominations open to the public, giving our readers the opportunity to recognize excellence among local businesses and organizations.

And, keeping with enhancements made to the longstanding program in 2021, Times Leader Media Group is offering a wide range of platforms for potential nominees to get the word out among voters.

“We are continuing the successful upgrade we did last year due to the overwhelming success with the number of nominations and votes,” Times Leader Media Group Publisher Kerry Miscavage said, noting that the area’s original readers’ awards spotlights the region’s finest across over 100 categories annually.

“We have so many ways to help our local businesses encourage votes,” she added, including a special tool kit for local businesses to spread the word on social media and in their locations.

“This program puts our local business owners in a spotlight where they deserve to be,” Miscavage said.

How it works

Readers will have an opportunity to nominate their favorites in every category and then cast their ballots for the top nominees in each category.

• Nominations open today, Friday, Jan. 14 at timesleader.com/bestofthebest. You can type in that link or go right to our homepage on the top menu bar to click into the contest. The nomination period closes Jan. 30.

• We have 14 categories in which you can vote for your favorite local businesses. Remember, this is a local business contest, so national chain properties will not be included.

• You can vote one time per email address per day.

• After the nomination round is over we will move into the voting phase, in which you will be able to go into the ballot and vote for the top five nominees per category. That round will run from Feb. 11-25.

• When the voting round is over, the ballot will select the top winners in each category. We always celebrate our Platinum winners (winners of five years or more), Gold and then Silver winners.

• The winners will be announced March 26-27.

This just shows how important the nomination phase is to your business. The more nominations you have, the better chance that you will have to be a finalist in the voting round.

This is the readers’ choice best practice, and it allows more businesses to have an opportunity to be voted Best of the Best.

Putting businesses in the spotlight

Advertising Manager Diane McGee said the program enables Times Leader Media Group to highlight and celebrate as many local businesses as possible, bringing valuable recognition from the community.

Over the years, that spotlight has brought positive accolades to many proud winners in our region, often for several years running.

“We frequently hear from winners about the positive feedback they receive via word-of-mouth, from customers coming in the door, and increasingly on social media,” McGee said.

“It’s a powerful demonstration of how much respect the program has built up over the years, and how the awards leave an impression on readers — which can only help boost business,” she explained.

And, McGee added, the awards can be another important element of a successful advertising campaign for winners.

Gerrity’s Supermarkets Vice President and co-owner Joe Fasula, whose Scranton-based supermarket chain took home the gold award for local grocery stores in 2021, has seen that first-hand.

“It’s certainly something to be able to mention this in your advertising, to be able to say to your customers that your business stood out in such a way that you were the recipient of this award,” Fasula said.

It’s also a good feeling.

“I often hear about it from people I know, employees, friends, acquaintances,” Fasula said.

As well, the program underscores how important newspaper advertising is to Gerrity’s other many retailers in highlighting a wide range of sale items, Fasula explained. That’s vital, considering that the chain may have 1,200 items on sale in a given week out of 30,000 different items carried in the stores.

“When it comes to the retail business, having the ability to communicate with the amount of space print gives you, that is important,” Fasula said of newspaper ads.

Past recipients weigh in

Fasula is not alone, of course. Here is what some other previous winners have had to say about the Best of the Best program in past years.

“It’s really such an honor It just shows that customers really appreciate us.”

— Rose Wateski, Rainbow Jewelers, Kingston

“It’s a huge recognition for our team members. A lot of people really do talk about it. I often see posts about it on Facebook.”

— Maureen Metz, The Metz Group, Dallas

“Being the best at what you do and having it published in the Times Leader is wonderful. It raises your profile in the community, and it also means that we’re doing everything right.”

— Kingston dentist Dr. Loren Grossman