CATSKILL — Local residents spent months nominating and voting for their favorite businesses and services in the second annual Best of Greene County competition.
On Friday, the winners were announced in a gala celebration at the Lumberyard Center for Film and Performing Arts.
The contest is sponsored by Columbia-Greene Media and the Greene County Chamber of Commerce. Beginning in October, people were asked to nominate and vote for their favorites from around the county, in categories ranging from arts and entertainment to restaurants, dental offices, libraries, and the service industry, among others.
Friday’s event brought together business and community leaders from across the area.
“The economic numbers in Greene County are really strong,” said Greene County Chamber of Commerce President and Executive Director Jeffrey Friedman as he welcomed the crowd. “If you are a business owner you understand how low our unemployment rate is.”
The county recently broke its own employment record, Friedman said.
“Sixteen thousand in-county jobs — that is a record. We have never, ever had that many jobs,” he said.
Home sales and sales tax figures for the county are also strong, Friedman said, which bodes well for local businesses.
Voting for the competition started with nominations in early October, with voters casting their ballots on hudsonvalley360.com in the first round of voting. The top three winners then went on to the second and final round, Friedman explained. Twice as many people voted this year compared to last year’s inaugural Best of Greene County contest.
“This is the second year of the ‘Best of,’ and it’s amazing the number of people who participated this year,” said Mary Dempsey, publisher, general manager and executive editor of Columbia-Greene Media.
In the first awards category announced, Best Art Gallery, the top vote getter was the Thomas Cole Historic Site, which also won in the second category, Best Historic Site.
“It is just so exciting that the people of Greene County have recognized the Thomas Cole Site in this way and that they understand how wonderful it is,” said Thomas Cole Historic Site Trustee Linda Gentalen.
The top vote getter overall in the Best of Greene County awards was Story Farms in the Best Farm Stand category, receiving 275 votes. Story’s Nursery also won for Best Landscaper/Lawn Care Company.
“It’s wonderful that the community looks at us in such a good light,” co-owner Matt Story said. “We try to do the best we can for the community.”
Some winners are in their second year of coming out on top, also winning in the 2019 inaugural Best of Greene County.
“Last year we won three awards,” said Jessica Felice, owner of Circle W Market, which received several awards this year — Best Place for Lunch, Best Specialty Food Shop and Best Place to Have Coffee or Tea. “We are so excited to be part of the Catskill community. We have been really welcomed by the community in both Catskill and Palenville.”
New York Restaurant was also a big winner Friday, receiving top votes for Best Burger, Best Ethnic Cuisine and Best Place for Dinner.
“This is awesome. My team works hard — the restaurant business is crazy, and to win two years in a row is just fantastic,” said New York Restaurant general manager John Jimenez.
Sweat Exercise is also a two-time winner, taking home the award for Best Exercise Studio/Gym.
“It is amazing,” said owner Jamie Mitchell. “This is our second year winning, and we couldn’t do it without the community.”
The Catskill Public Library came out on top in the library category.
“This is fantastic. We put a lot of work into providing everything we can for our patrons,” said Alexandra Rappleyea from the Catskill Public Library. “I am happy to know we are providing them with what they need and that they recognize it.”
Crossroads Brewing, with locations in both Athens and Catskill, also took home several awards, including Best Place for Nightlife, Best Place for Meeting with Friends, and Best Place to Have a Craft Beer.
“It’s always an honor to win anything, and it’s nice to see that people appreciate us,” said Rob Sager, director of marketing and events for Crossroads Brewing. “We love everyone that comes in our doors — it’s a great friendship we built with our customers.”
The Rip Van Winkle Wine, Beer and Beverage Festival drew the highest number of votes in Best Annual Community Event.
“We are in our 14th year, so it is great to be recognized by the community,” said Brenda VanDermark. “All our proceeds go back to the community to build and maintain playgrounds, and for two sporting events each year.”
Voting for the 2021 Best of Greene County awards is expected to begin in early October.
Below is a listing of all the winners:
Best Art Gallery - Thomas Cole National Historic Site
Best Historic Site - Thomas Cole House
Best Library - Catskill Public Library
Best Movie Theater - Community Theatre
Best Place for Live Music - Athens Summer Concert Series
Best Place for Nightlife - Crossroads Brewing
Best Theatre and Performance Space - Bridge Street Theatre
Best Annual Community Event - Rip Van Winkle Wine, Brew and Beverage Festival
Best Annual Large Scale Event - Taste of Country Music Festival
Best Event Space/Wedding Venue - The Historic Catskill Point
Best Exercise Studio/Gym - Sweat Exercise Studio
Best Golf Course - Rip Van Winkle Country Club
Best Place for Outdoor Recreation - North/South Lake Campground
Best American Cuisine - Barnwood
Best Burger - New York Restaurant
Best Ethnic Cuisine - New York Restaurant
Best European Cuisine - Bavarian Manor Country Inn and Restaurant
Best Farm Stand - Story Farms
Best Place for Breakfast - Betty’s Place
Best Place for Dinner - New York Restaurant
Best Place for Lunch - Circle W Market
Best Place for Meeting with Friends - Crossroads Brewing Company
Bet Place for Outdoor Dining - The Stewart House
Best Place for Pizza - Village Pizza II
Best Place for Wings - The Inn at Leeds
Best Place to Dine with Kids - Chicken Run Family Restaurant
Best Place to Have a Craft Beer - Crossroads Brewing Company
Best Place to Have Coffee or Tea - Circle W Market
Best Auto Repair Shop - R.C. Lacy Ford/Lincoln/Subaru
Best Beauty Salon or Barbershop - Doreen’s Family Haircare
Best Building/Contracting Company - Maggio and Sons
Best Caterer - The Creekside Restaurant
Best Dental Office - Catalano, Leifer, Bruno and Russell D.D.S.
Best Doctor Office - Robert M. Schneider M.D.
Best Electrical Contractor - Holdridge Electric
Best Hotel/Motel - The Stewart House
Best Inn/B&B - Bavarian Manor Country Inn and Restaurant
Best Landscaper/Lawn Care Company - Story’s Nursery
Best Pharmacy - Kelly’s Pharmacy
Best Photographer - Veronica Chewens Photography
Best Plumbing Contractor - Huber Enterprises
Best Real Estate Company - Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty
Best Antique Shop - Coxsackie Antique Center
Best Boutique Shop - Mahalo Gift Shop
Best Florist - Karen’s Flower Shoppe
Best Gift Shop - Mahalo Gift Shop
Best Outdoor/Sporting/Ski Shop - Snow Bird Ski Shop
Best Place to Buy a Car - R.C. Lacy Ford/Lincoln/Subaru
Best Place to Buy Apparel/Shoes - Westerner
Best Place to Buy Jewelry - Mahalo Gift Shop
Best Specialty Food Shop - Circle W Market
Best Wine Shop - The Wine Cellar