We asked you to name the best local businesses and shoppers in Tampa Bay, and you all came through! We were flooded with nominations for Best New Business, Best Established Business, Most Community-Minded Business, Best at Grassroots Marketing, and Best Local Shopper.
The entries included self-nominations (which we welcomed and encouraged!), nominations from shoppers and nominations from fellow businesses. We especially loved seeing nominations from seemingly competing businesses, showing that the spirit of support and collaboration is alive and well in Tampa Bay!
Many nominations also came in for previous winners and for businesses in our Advisory Board, but those are not eligible. Businesses closely associated with LocalShops1 also were nominated, but of course not eligible, either. All finalists will be recognized at the Awards Banquet Aug. 8 at the St. Petersburg Museum of History.
Cutting the choices down to 30 finalists (six per category) was not an easy task. We spent days poring over the entries, checking out the local business nominees' websites and Facebook pages, and debating amongst ourselves.
Some factors we considered: the number of nominations a business or shopper received, the details provided in the nomination, and, for the business categories, the level of interaction between shoppers and the business online and in real life. (Yes, we made some Mystery Visits to check them out!)
Winners will be announced at the Aug. 8 Awards Banquet in St. Pete. See you there! Advance registration is available through our online calendar.
And now, the finalists!
Best Established Business
Best at Grassroots Marketing
Best New Business
Best Local Shopper (aka, LS1 Girl's BFF Award)
New this year! In addition to Judges' Choice, we are also going to award the Popular Choice Award! Vote today!