News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 7, 2013

Looking for the Valley’s best of the best

2013 Readers’ Choice Awards offers 106 categories this year

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Nominations for the 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards are under way, with voting continuing through March 18.

This year voting can be done online at www.tribstar.com as well as by completing a printed survey from the daily newspaper. Participants must enter their selection in at least 50 categories for their ballot to be counted. It is the fourth year for the awards.

“There are 106 categories this year and we are constantly tweaking the categories to reflect the interests of the community,” said Tina St. Clair,  Tribune-Star advertising director.

As an example, there are 29 categories this year just for food and drink.

“There is the best local place for tenderloin, which is something for our community as people like breaded tenderloin. If you think about barbecue, that is an Indiana kind of thing,” St. Clair said. “Readers Choice awards have been around in communities across the United States, but the difference is there are categories that reflect a community.”

“It incorporates everything from our shopping habits, from our apparel to our homes to our vehicles. It also incorporates our pets and even children, with best teacher and schools awards,” St. Clair said.

The Readers’ Choice Awards are announced in a special section of the Tribune-Star on April 27 and winners receive a plaque.

The awards section can also be a good resource for someone moving into the community, to try places that participants selected as their favorite, St. Clair said.

“I would say that anybody coming in new to the community, the three things that I would want somebody to give me are the Readers’ Choice, a Visitor’s Guide and the Terre Haute Chamber Directory,” she said.

The Bush on Locust Street earned the title of Best Local Place for Tenderloin two years in a row, in 2011 and 2012. They also won in 2011 for the Best Local Place for Lunch.

“We did get people to come in because of [the award] and it did help,” said Bobby Grizzle, co-owner and manager.

Grizzle said some patrons said they came to try the tenderloin and “some said, ‘wow.’”

“It is a fresh product. We make it by hand and it is something we have been doing for 31 years. Our two main stays are fish and tenderloin. Our tenderloin are like plate size,” Grizzle said.

The Tire Barn Warehouse on U.S. 41 South last year won the Best Place to Buy a Tire. Manager Logan Young said the business “tries to make sure the customers are happy and try to do everything we can to satisfy their needs,” he said.

Also, the business has “a pretty descent selection of all major bands and some non-major brands. We always guarantee the lowest price and try to stand behind the guarantee as well. Price is number two next to the customer service,” Young said.

Young said people came to the shop because of the Reader’s Choice award. “Every now and then we have people bring in the paper and say look here,” at the award. “It is kinda cool,” he said.

Last year, Heather Grundon won the Readers’ Choice Award for the best hair stylist.

“I am the best hair stylist,” she said with confidence of her award hanging on her business wall at Bluebird Style Studio on South 25th Street, which opened in 2009.

“It did raise some awareness of the award in general and that I won something,” she chuckled. “My clients know my level of service and the quality product they get when they come here. I think they were pleasantly surprised that it just wasn’t them, but there is a whole group of people out there” that recognized her skills, Grundon said.

Grundon said she has been a hair stylist in Terre Haute on and off since 2003. Grundon said many of her clients “are tech savvy younger 30 to 50 (year old) business women who are just more aware of things going on. Everybody who sits in my chairs see the level of service they get, but they want to share that too and let other people know what is available to them here, so I think that helped as well” with the 2012 award.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

Make Your Choices

• This year voting can be done online at www.tribstar.com as well as by completing a printed survey from the daily newspaper. Participants must enter their selection in at least 50 categories for their ballot to be counted. It is the fourth year for the awards.