Welcome to our 23rd annual Best of Boulder™ publication. Just a reminder to everyone, the winners on the following pages have been chosen by our readers via our reader survey, not by Boulder Weekly staff. Once again, we’d like to kick things off by thanking the many thousands of you who took the time to fill out this year’s survey because without your participation, BW’s Best of Boulder™, with its highly coveted “Best Of” awards, would simply not be possible.
Every year someone points out that every business in Boulder County is not on the survey and they want to know why that is. The simple answer is there are far too many businesses — tens of thousands — to put them all on our survey. So we have developed what we think is a fair process for getting on the ballot (meaning, listed as one of the multiple-choice options in any given category). Just like winning, getting on the ballot is also determined by our readers. Each year we go through the ballot, question by question, to add and subtract nominees on the basis of past support from voters. If a nominee received little support from voters during the previous year, we might decide to remove them from contention; if a nominee received significant support from voters during the previous year, they will remain on the ballot. Most importantly, we review the all-important write-in votes from the previous year and add nominees to the survey that received significant support. In fact, we give out an award: Write-In Winner, to those businesses receiving the most write-in support in their category. This year’s Write-In Winners will automatically be listed on next year’s survey. Our aim is to present the top nominees in each category, and we engage in a meticulous review to create the survey each year. This review is conducted solely on the basis of whom our readers voted for in the past. And just to be clear, whether or not a nominee is a BW advertiser is not part of the equation.
However, as our publisher likes to point out, the very nature of advertising does come into play here. When a business advertises in Boulder Weekly, they enter into a relationship with our readers. More often than not, this relationship breeds good will and familiarity, and when our readers take the survey they are more likely to vote for a business with whom they have a relationship, just as they are more likely to choose a restaurant, café, summer camp or bike shop that they have a relationship with when making a purchase. But that’s as far as it goes. When it comes time to tabulate the results, we give the awards to whomever our readers voted for in the greatest numbers, and we construct the survey each year on the same basis.
So that’s how it works, time to get on with the fun. You’ll notice a few staff picks mixed in with our readers’ survey results and they are clearly marked as such. These are thrown in to let us give a shout out to a great business for something that doesn’t fall into one of the established “Best of” categories or just to add a little humor. You’ll also notice reader comments sprinkled throughout this magazine. The comments are examples of what our readers had to say as they filled out their surveys. Yes, we read all 1-2,000 of them every year and then choose a few that tickled our fancy to publish.
Congrats to all the winners. Boulder County’s quality of life is truly enhanced by the presence of your businesses and efforts.
Now, on to the awards!