The 2021 Reader’s Choice competition put on by The Advertiser-Gleam is open! This is the contest every year where you, our readers, get to vote on the businesses and organizations you think are doing a good job. It is a “Best of the Best” competition.

For you, the reader, voting in the competition just might earn you a nice prize. To encourage more people to vote, The Advertiser-Gleam will take the ballots that are sent in and draw one lucky reader to win a $100 gift card.

The ballot is elsewhere in this special section. It must be received by the Gleam by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17. So get those ballots in! You can mail them to P.O. Box 190, Guntersville, AL 35976 or drop them in person in our front office. 

The more people who vote in this contest, the truer picture we get of businesses in the community who are doing a really nice job with their products and services.

It matters a whole lot to the folks who win these awards. It is a point of pride.

Over the last few years, I’ve sort of made it a point to look for our Reader’s Choice winner’s certificates proudly displayed in businesses. I’ve seen them in lots of places, doctor’s offices, restaurants, gyms, the chiropractor’s office and many other businesses.

It is a lot of fun on our end to give these awards to the businesses and organization that are truly deserving.

A couple years ago, the Guntersville Civitans won in the category of “Civic Club.” I got to present the award to them and the smiles on their faces showed how excited they were to receive it.

I’ve also been on the receiving end of the award. One of my own organizations, the Lake City Civitans, won the civic club award awhile back. It was a nice “atta boy” to know the community had noticed our efforts.

It’s just nice for the community to acknowledge you a little bit and say, “Hey, nice job.”

That’s really what our Reader’s Choice awards are.

To be honest, other folks at The Advertiser-Gleam do most of the work for our Reader’s Choice competition. I’ve had very little to do with it over the years. But it is fun to follow along to see what businesses our community loves.

If you’re like me, you have your favorite places to get a burger or a steak. You have certain businesses you favor. You know good service when you receive it. Reader’s Choice is a chance to vote your heart.

Our local businesses pour their hearts into their ventures. It’s nice to tell them they’re doing a good job.

There are still over 100 categories in this year’s contest. I would encourage you to vote for as many as possible.

You don’t have to vote in every single category. Day spa, for instance, is one that I have no formal knowledge of and couldn’t tell you a thing about. You do need to vote in at least 25 categories to be eligible for the gift card drawing.

We live in a great town. Whenever I travel, as I get back to town, the thought occurs to me “Why did I leave?”

I’ve spent a lot of time in the mountains and a lot of time at the beach over the years. I’ve traveled as far away as the Bahamas, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica. I’ve been to Montana and New York City, among many other places. I’ve never seen anywhere as pretty as good old Guntersville, Alabama.

When you come over the river bridge or down Highway 69 off Brindlee Mountain or down Highway 431 from Sand Mountain and all that water unfolds before you, there’s just nothing else quite like that.

But it’s the people who truly make our hometown special. Our merchants often go the extra mile in customer service. Reward those folks who do a good job by casting a ballot in our Reader’s Choice contest.