“We are excited to reveal the list of businesses selected by our readers as the best in Walker County,” said Publisher Jack McNeely. “Today’s special keepsake section is the culmination of a community project that started in early January.”
According to McNeely, more than 1,200 eligible ballots were counted; a more than 50 percent increase in participation from the competition’s inaugural year in 2013. Nearly 500 additional ballots were not eligible due to incomplete entry forms.
The ballot, which featured 115 categories of businesses and professionals, was distributed in five separate issues of the Daily Mountain Eagle during the first half of January. Malarie Brakefield, the newspaper’s graphic designer, spent most of January counting each of the more than 70,000 votes cast in the 2014 awards contest.
“The success of our first readers’ poll last year obviously sparked more participation this year,” McNeely noted. “And the area businesses acknowledged as first-, second- and third-place winners are very appreciative for those votes.”
In addition to being listed in the keepsake section printed on special hi-brite newsprint, each business listed in first, second and third place will receive a certificate for their place of business within the next two weeks.
Also by the end of March, each first-place business that purchased a “Thank You” ad in the special section will also receive a yard sign designating them as the “Best of the Best” for 2014.
An e-book version of the special section will also be featured on the Daily Mountain Eagle website for the remainder of the year.
Readers were encouraged to cast votes in most, if not all, categories listed on the ballot. Joyce Key of Jasper was the lucky winner of a 12-month subscription to the Daily Mountain Eagle. Her ballot was drawn from 713 ballots that were more than 50 percent filled out.