Best of Morgantown honors local biz
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 00:02
Local businesses came together Tuesday to celebrate the second-annual MORGANTOWN Magazine Best of Morgantown award ceremony.
Committed to promoting the local treasures of Morgantown, from dining and shopping to sporting events and people, MORGANTOWN Magazine is the go-to resource for living in Morgantown. The Best of Morgantown competition has local businesses competing and trying to be the finest and thus crowned as the winner.
"We call it ‘The BOM Awards,’ and we go out with a ballot in the magazine and promote it on Facebook and Twitter," said Nikki Bowman, publisher and editor of MORGANTOWN magazine. "This year, we had more than 2,000 people voting, which is pretty incredible. It’s at least double from last year."
What qualifies a business to be called the best? It’s up to the readers of MORGANTOWN Magazine, who vote for their favorite local businesses.
"When I think about what I personally believe is the best, I think about service, quality of food and their use of local ingredients," Bowman said. "I am all about supporting local businesses – that’s what each of my publications champion. It’s really helping small businesses, local businesses and encouraging people to support them."
The event was hosted at Black Bear Burritos Evansdale, and The Cupcakerie provided miniature cupcakes. Both businesses were two-time winners this year and were honored to keep their spot as the Best Vegetarian and the Best Cupcake, respectively.
Black Bear Burritos is co-owned by Jason Coffman and Matt Showalter, who both graduated from WVU and maintain their friendship while running their business.
"He and I both grew up in households that were powered by small business, and it clearly stuck with us that we wanted to open our own small business," Showalter said. "It was a good night to be among like-minded people and to be recognized and to recognize places that we frequent and try to support."
By focusing on local businesses, members draw together a community of local vendors.
"There are a lot of folks out here that have never been to Black Bear before so it’s an opportunity for us to showcase our space, our service and a little bit of our food," Coffman said. "It is just an honor to be recognized among a lot of the folks out in the crowd right now."
Other winners this year included Kappa Kappa Gamma as best sorority, Sigma Alpha Epsilon as best fraternity and a two-way tie between Boreman and Summit for best dormitory. All winners can be found in the February/March 2013 edition.
The participating businesses support one another, and the awards have become a networking tool for local business owners.
"The thing with Morgantown Magazine, why it’s so special, I think, is that Morgantown is the fastest-growing city in West Virginia, and we have a lot of turnover in our population," Bowman said.
With all the students and visitors coming in and out, MORGANTOWN Magazine is striving to be a reference.
"When people are coming in, they are always looking for something to tell them: where is the best daycare, where do I go to the dry cleaners, where do I go for this and that – they want a source," Bowman said.
"They turn to us as their resource on living in Morgantown."