Homer News produces 1st annual “Best Of” business contest

Voting for the contest closes on Monday, Dec. 11.

Homer will soon conclude its voting and receive the results for its first annual “Best Of Business” community contest. The contest is an opportunity for residents to vote for their favorite Homer-based businesses to win a certificate denominating the honor of “Best Of,” should they have been nominated.

Voting has been open on the website since Nov. 7. However, the initial window in which people had the opportunity to nominate businesses they thought should be considered was a few months prior.

“Back in July we put out (in the community) that we were doing it and people could nominate who they wanted for each category,” said Callie Steinberg, multimedia sales associate with Homer News. “After that first nomination round was done, we totaled up the votes for each one and then the top three made it to this part we’re at now.”

Voters choose between six different categories: Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, People, Recreation, Services and Shopping. More than 100 unique businesses in Homer have been nominated, organized into 38 different subcategories to narrow down each winner. Only Homer-based businesses and public services were considered for voting.

The question of whether the “Best Of” voting is a worthy addition to the community discourse isn’t a hard answer according to Cara Hall, sales manager for the Peninsula Clarion and Homer News.

“Yes. Community involvement, community spirit, it helps people promote their businesses … it’s all positive,” Hall said of the contest.

Hall has been working with Steinberg on coordinating the “Best Of” contest for the Homer area. Hall and Steinberg say it is a collaborative effort between them and the “Best Of” team to curate the best possible result for the contest: They supplied the information, and the team inputs the info into the website for voting.

“Well, Sound Publishing owns the Homer News, and they have 43 papers, and they literally have a (dedicated) ‘Best Of’ team. We send in everything to the ‘Best Of’ team and then they (format) the voting and everything for us, so it’s been successful (across) all the papers,” Hall said.

The deadline was originally Monday, Dec. 4, but was extended an extra week to Dec. 11 to allow some last-minute votes. The winners will then be announced on Thursday, Dec. 14. Winners will receive a certificate at an open house celebration from 4-6 p.m. at the Homer News Office, along with some cookies and hot cocoa.

Steinberg and Hall will also follow up on their initial open house with weekly consultations, open to the public every Thursday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The aim is to provide a place for people who want to discuss sales-marketing in a relaxed atmosphere.

“There wasn’t an official face for marketing in the building, so we just wanted to make sure people know who we are. Small questions, big questions if you want to just stop in and say hi … Branding is key, and we want to be able to help the people or businesses of Homer get their name out there. It’s an opportunity for (Cara) and I to kind of say, ‘Hey, here we are, ready to help,’” Steinberg said. “Even if you just want to come by the office and say hello, you are more than welcome.”

For businesses that did not win or were not eligible this year, no need to stress. The opportunity to compete in the “Best Of” contest will come around again.

“Anyone who feels they didn’t get a chance to do it this year or were busy, it’s alright because we’ll be doing it again next year, so definitely don’t be discouraged,” Steinberg said.

“We’re gonna do it every year, and I think it’s a fun thing to keep around.”