Hundreds of local businesses were recognized during the Record-JournalReaders’ Choice Awards ceremony Thursday, October 14.
“We all know that local businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and for our readers this program allows them to learn about their local businesses that we can count on for trusted products and services,” said Liz White Notarangelo, editor of Record-Journal.
The awards ceremony, held at the Aqua Turf, was a return to corporate recognition in person after last year’s virtual ceremony. A red carpet welcomed over 750 attendees and photographers buzzed through the crowd like paparazzi.
Sapna Raghavan, Miss Connecticut 2021, announced the 217 winners in various categories.
“It was so great to have so many business people celebrating tonight,” Notarangelo said.
Record-Journal readers are invited to nominate companies for the award in June, followed by two rounds of voting to narrow down nominees and select a winner. The first two finalists in each category are also recognized.
“It helps give readers a voice on the best businesses in our community, so we can help promote those businesses throughout the year. And what you end up seeing around … our local towns are the banners in the windows that say “nominated as a company of choice by readers,” Notarangelo said.
Being recognized as a winner can be a boost for businesses, especially newer ones looking to establish themselves in communities. John McCarthy, owner of the Rock House School of Music, said being recognized as one of the top music schools has helped the location of Wallingford, which opened in 2019.
“We had a bump right after that,” McCarthy said.
Chris Wilson, owner of Ultra Coin Laundromat in Wallingford, said the atmosphere of the annual celebration made it a highlight of his year.
“My brother-in-law and I just got back from Vegas and it has a Vegas vibe. It really is, everyone is excited, everyone is friendly to each other and the atmosphere here is amazing, ”he said.
Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce CEO Ray Andrewsen called the awards ceremony the “ultimate networking event” for local businesses.
Mike Truss, owner of Craft Kitchen in Southington, thanked his employees for this recognition.
“It reminds me of the people I pay the least who come every day of the week and give their all just to be part of the system that allows us to win a prize,” he said. “We won the best pizza in Southington and there was absolutely no way we could do it without the lowest paid employee agreeing with what we’re doing.”