It’s all about the Reader’s Choice

Published 11:00 pm Friday, March 29, 2013

Last year, when extended family came to visit for Thomas’ high school graduation, we found ourselves with a free day to explore Troy and Pike County.

When asked what they wanted to, they answered with a challenge: “Take us to your favorite places.”

And so after a morning spent touring the community, we found ourselves strolling the sidewalks along the Square, popping in and out of shops and comparing notes.

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And even though everyone was more than amply fed from lunch, a stop at Byrd’s for milkshakes was a must. After all, this is a family of milkshake connoisseur

“These are the best,” a new young fan declared.

Thomas just nodded in agreement, his own milkshake in hand.

Of course, we all have our favorites – the go-to places for milkshakes or sweet tea to the trusted mechanic who keeps our cars running smoothly and safely. Most of the time, those folks go about their business without notice or acclaim.

But once a year, about this time, the spotlight shines on a few of our favorites.

This weekend, the annual Reader’s Choice Awards are presented in a commemorative edition inside today’s paper. These awards, selected by the reader’s of The Messenger, recognize the businesses and individuals who go above and beyond in service, products or professionalism.

We received thousands of votes each year on the ballots, with reader’s offering their votes for everything from the best place to buy flowers to the best massage therapists. We tally the votes – and trust me, each and every ballot is counted meticulously – to select the winners.

And the winners? Well, who wouldn’t want to brag when their customers and the community vote them the “best in the county”? You’ll soon see the familiar Reader’s Choice star popping up in signage and promotional materials throughout the community, When you see the certificates hanging in a business, we hope you’ll tell the winners congratulations and how much you appreciate what they do for our community.

And for you, our readers and the voters: Thanks, once again, for your overwhelming response. You took the time to fill out all those lines on the ballots – sometimes even if it was only to say “that one behind the …”. And most important, you took the time to think about the people you do business with right here in Pike County.

As Margaret Oliver, winner of the 2013 $100 Gift Certificate said, “Well, it takes a little bit of work but then you get to thinking about all of these places and people and what they do, and well, it’s worth it.”


Stacy G. Graning is publisher of The Messenger. Contact her at