Nominations open for Item's Best of Sumter annual contest

Reader’s choice contest features 41 new categories, 1st nominee expo for public in February

BY KAYLA ROBINS
kayla@theitem.com
Posted 1/8/19

After a record-breaking year of The Sumter Item's reader's choice contest that included a first-ever winners celebration event, Best of Sumter 2019 is about to kick off and will feature new categories and another first-ever event.

Nominations for …

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Nominations open for Item's Best of Sumter annual contest

Reader’s choice contest features 41 new categories, 1st nominee expo for public in February

Posted

After a record-breaking year of The Sumter Item's reader's choice contest that included a first-ever winners celebration event, Best of Sumter 2019 is about to kick off and will feature new categories and another first-ever event.

Nominations for the annual contest where readers, friends, family and customers vote for their favorite businesses, professional services, schools, restaurants and more are now open at www.theitem.com/bestof. There are more than 300 categories to choose from this year, with everything from best lawyer and best car repair shop to best burger and best place to work, all with the goal of highlighting all the reasons people like to call Sumter home.

Anyone can nominate a business or person - there is no limit to the number of nominations each person can submit - through Jan. 21. Voting will take place from Jan. 22 through Feb. 28, during which each person can vote once per day in as many or as few categories as he or she wants. There will also be a ballot in the paper that readers can fill out and turn in to our office.

The Best Of platform on The Sumter Item's website will feature lists of nominees in an easy-to-use format. Nominees can participate in advertising packages that promote their entry by expanding their listing to feature additional details on the business and/or a promotional video produced by The Sumter Item's video department, Studio Sumter.

The contest will culminate in the second-annual Best of Sumter Red Carpet Event, where the winners are announced for the first time live at the event, and each winner will receive a plaque. Winners receive a free ticket, and additional tickets will be available for purchase by the public. A list of the winners will be published in a glossy magazine a few days after the winners celebration in April, but they will be given to those who attend the event.

"Best Of Sumter took on a life of its own last year. We had such tremendous engagement from the public and excitement from local businesses. This year, it's going to be even more engaged and interactive between our quickly growing reader base and our business partners," Publisher Vince Johnson said. "It's exciting to recognize the great things going on in our community, and Best of Sumter 2019 is going to be bigger than ever before."

Last year, the name of the contest changed from simply a reader's choice contest to Best of Sumter, and the red carpet event was held for the first time. In that first revamped year, 101,934 votes determined 264 winners.

This year, 41 new categories include car salesperson, IT company, trucking company, firefighter, law enforcement officer, wedding venue, breakfast buffet, food truck, tax preparation service, outpatient therapy clinic, fishing store and tobacco store.

A brand new Best of the Best category is also being added, a group of six winners who will be announced last at the event with enhanced prizes, including new business, local industry, place to work, boss and locally owned business.

A third new aspect this year will be a nominee expo held on Feb. 21 during the voting period, where any nominee can participate in a free and open-to-the-public showcase at Central Carolina Technical College's downtown campus to promote his or her product, offer samples, handouts and giveaways and encourage people to vote for the nominee.

The red carpet event will be on Thursday, April 25, with the magazine coming out for the public on Sunday, April 28.

For more information or to find out how to get your nominated business or product involved in promotions that will be going on throughout the contest cycle, contact your sales representative, email marketing@theitem.com or call (803) 774-1200. Nominate your favorite business, service, person, restaurant or product now at www.theitem.com/bestof. A public list of nominations is also viewable and searchable.