The nominations are in and the results have been tallied. BEACON Senior Newspaper readers spent the last two months nominating their favorite local hot spots. Now, we’re excited to reveal the BEACON Best—nearly 30 restaurants, shops, service providers and more who rise above the rest for Mesa County boomers and seniors.
“There are other, similar contests, but none specifically from the viewpoint of boomers and seniors,” said BEACON Publisher Kevin VanGundy. “Nothing else focuses on the businesses and services that they particularly like.”
For reader Judy Allerheiligen, participating in this year’s contest was a way to let her voice be heard.
“I’m a strong proponent of shopping local,” Allerheiligen said. “This was a way to recognize the smaller businesses that are doing things right.”
Although this year’s winners span many different industries, they all have something in common—each provides a high-quality experience in a welcoming, friendly environment. One huge component of that is a dedication to superior customer service.
“Many of our readers grew up in an age where service came with everything you bought,” VanGundy said.
Unfortunately, some businesses treat customer service as if it’s old-fashioned and out of style. The winners of this year’s BEACON Best Awards do not feel the same way.
“We live by the philosophy that we shop here and see our customers around town, and it’s easier to wave and say, ‘Hi,’ than it is to duck and take cover,” said Neil Bumgardner of Airstream Plumbing and Heating, the BEACON Best winner in the best heating and cooling services category. “We wear floor savers to keep from tracking messes in your home and try to keep a tight schedule because customers appreciate that and we know time is money.”
Dennis Hill, co-owner of Bookcliff Gardens, which won the award for best garden/nursery, said friendly customer service—along with quality products, a curated selection and a knowledgeable staff—is a cornerstone of his business.
“I thought about that 20 years ago, trying to figure out what makes people come here over other stores,” Hill said. “People love visiting. If you come in regularly, we greet you by name. You always want to go where everybody knows your name, just like in ‘Cheers.’”
BEACON reader Chuck Carlson, who participated in this year’s contest, said this kind of customer-first attitude went a long way in securing his vote.
“The people I voted for are all special people, and I try to support them,” he said. “I’m loyal to the people who are good to me, and if you let people know they’re doing a good job, that builds a better bond.”
While VanGundy hopes that other businesses will take note of the BEACON Best Awards and think about ways to make their establishments more senior friendly, he said the idea of the contest is to recognize the businesses and services that seniors love.
For Shane Allerheiligen, co-owner of A Robin’s Nest of Antiques and Treasures, winning the award for best antique store is not going to change the way he does business.
“We set high expectations for ourselves,” he said. “We’ll continue to do so as we move into the future and grow.”
It’s this kind of attitude that sets the BEACON Best apart.