Publisher's Note: 2008 Best Of
By Jody Reese
More than 2,500 ballots were cast this year in Hippo’s annual Best Of awards — 500 more than last year.
Hippo’s Best Of is a celebration of what’s different about our community. Only local businesses can win. We don’t count the chains, like McDonald’s. And that’s not because we don’t like them or think that they have good fries. It’s because there are McDonald’s all over the world. They don’t make southern New Hampshire a different place. It’s the people, places and local businesses that make this area special and different from Omaha, Neb.
Almost all this year’s winners are small businesses. Looking over the list, it’s hard to find a winning business that brings in more than $5 million a year. Most are even smaller, with fewer than 10 full-time employees. But clearly size, in this case, doesn’t matter.
In this busy world where people are commuting farther and farther to make ends meet, our readers took time out of their schedules to go online and vote or fill out the ballot in the paper and mail it in to support their favorite places.
As the number of voters keeps increasing (great news), counting the ballots is getting more and more time-consuming. This year, editor Amy Diaz essentially had to count 720,000 entries (that’s 2,500 votes times 72 categories times four winners). Because of that we won’t be offering a paper ballot in the paper next year. You’ll be able to vote online and through some paper ballots offered at our office for folks who don’t have access to the Internet.
Many readers tend to think they’re budding comedians. For “where to take your visiting relatives” one person wrote, “Any random departure gate at the airport, Manchester.” Another said “any hotel.” Most people chose things outside Manchester, Nashua or Concord. The towns of Peterborough and Hampton got plenty of votes.
In “best place to break up” (admittedly not the happiest category, but very important to know in some cases), one person wrote in Peters Nissan in Nashua. Just a guess, but the staff there might be happier if their showroom does not become a Jerry Springer episode. Another reader wrote “side of 93.” That’s pretty rough, not to mention dangerous. If you must choose to break up while driving, choose one of the park-and-rides.
In “best community event,” some people chose big events like Glendi in Manchester and Nashua’s Winter Stroll, but others voted for more obscure events like the New Hampshire primary. Something called the Weare Patriotic Celebration got a vote. I wonder if that’s a Freestater project.
In the “best place to take your kids,” Bagdad, Iraq, got only one vote. Another reader wondered why we even had this catergory: “are parents with kids really part of the Hippo demographic ... wait single moms!” Ouch. Actually, 50 percent of Hippo readers have kids at home and 16 percent of our audience are single parents. About 60 percent of our readers are married and 80 percent own homes. I could go on all day about the Hippo readers’ demographics – of course our readers are the best demographic in New Hampshire, smart, sexy and, if not actually young, young at heart.
Thanks for reading and voting. If you want to add a category for next year send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.