Best of Best

Geordie Wilson, publisher of The Frederick News-Post, fifth from left, and Flying Dog Brewery CEO Jim Caruso, to his left, pose with Flying Dog staff at a reception honoring the Best of the Best, a reader’s choice contest sponsored annually by The Frederick News-Post to recognize small businesses and businesspeople.

Businesses in and around Frederick County were honored Thursday for being among the best.

The Best of the Best is a reader’s choice contest sponsored annually by The Frederick News-Post to recognize small businesses and businesspeople. More than 40 of the businesses invited to the Weinberg Center shared a special distinction for winning in their category for each of the five years the competition has been around. Other invitees had placed in the top three for each of the five years.

“This is a really fabulous turnout for quite a special night,” Geordie Wilson, publisher of The Frederick News-Post, told the crowd.

The contest has been running since 2015 and is the largest of its kind in the area. Every year, hundreds of thousands of votes are cast for businesses in a variety of categories from best happy hour to best retirement community.

“We saw an opportunity for a different kind of contest,” Wilson said. “Our goal was to get a very broad participation from as many people in the community as possible.”

This year, 345,000 votes were cast in the final round which subsequently relayed victories to businesses such as China Garden and Thomas Scott Salon and Spa.

Smooch Studio was one of the five-time winners. They have placed first in the “Best Makeup/Skincare Shop” since the contest was started.

Owned by Kendra and Nicole Knight, who are sisters-in-law, the makeup shop on Shab Row offers customizable make-up for Frederick residents.

“A big part of our line is ingredients and integrity,” Kendra said.

When asked how she felt about winning Best of the Best for five years in a row, Kendra said it wouldn’t be possible without the customers.

“We’re just blessed to have the best customers ... that have been with us from the start,” Kendra said. “It’s so nice to have customers that are loyal to the small businesses in Frederick.”

Another five-time winner is 24/7 Dance Studio, which offers a variety of dance and acting classes as well as gymnastics. They have won five times in the “Best Dance Studio” category.

“Our philosophy is that anyone, no matter shape, size, age, can have an experience with the performing arts...we are not a competition studio, we are an education studio,” said Susan DesRoches, marketing director for 24/7 Dance Studio.

According to DesRoches, one of the most popular programs is the adult hip-hop dance option. DesRoches said the program “has just exploded” and that winning Best of the Best validates the importance of the studio in the community

“It’s such an amazing honor, and to know that we’re able to share the performing arts [with] kids and adults, it’s just an absolutely impressive feeling,” she said.

The contest has no plans of slowing down. Wilson told the winners Thursday night that next year, the nomination page will be streamlined. Additionally, Wilson said the Best of the Best team is working on adding more year-round recognition for the contest and winners.

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill

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