Almost everyone has seen the Best of Hudson Valley® (BOHV) logo proudly displayed in local businesses, for everything from “Best Apple Cider Donut,” which Tantillo’s Farm had won for years (until BOHV did away with that category), to the much missed Hi-Ho Gift Shop, which displayed the “Best Gift Shop” award banner for years.
Did it not give Gardiner residents a sense of pride to see our local businesses recognized for excellence? Yes indeed, and every Spring, Hudson Valley Magazine’s annual “Best of Hudson Valley®” poll starts up again with a new season of excitement for businesses.
This year, two long-time Gardiner businesses were feted, along with the hundreds of other winners from around the Hudson Valley, at a huge party on October 12th at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel in Poughkeepsie. McMahon’s Contracting won “Best Contractor” and Whitecliff Winery won “Best Winery.”
The Best of Hudson Valley® describes itself as a “celebration of the region’s finest emporiums and their spectacular culinary and creative talents as voted by the readers and editors of Hudson Valley Magazine.”
The process begins with nominations taken on their website (www.hvmag.com/Hudson-Valley/Best-Of-Hudson-Valley/) and each of the categories (e.g., sushi, bagel, etc.) generally has two winners. Readers’ Choice winners are picked democratically—whichever takes the most votes on their online ballot wins—while the editors’ pick winners based on months of research. During this process, they pay for all meals and services, and do their research anonymously, and Hudson Valley magazine strongly asserts that “There is no connection between their advertisers and their winners. Period.”
Both Tom McMahon (McMahon’s Contracting) and Yancey Stanforth-Migliore (Whitecliff Winery) modestly attributed their success to the expertise of their teams, reporting that that’s what sets their businesses apart from others in their respective fields. Both also spoke very eloquently and passionately about what their businesses mean to them and about their “overnight success”—which occurred over a long period of time.
Tom McMahon asserts that “making customers happy is our business,” and pointed to a high level of customer service, expert design services, quality craftsmanship, and interactive project communication to a level usually only seen on TV as key factors. The company also hosts a home improvement forum page on facebook, McMahon’s Home Improvement Forum, which provides local, home-related, news, tips and access to interesting home remodeling projects.
Yancey Stanforth-Migliore of Whitecliff tells us that establishing the vineyard has been an ongoing process since 1979. It involved years of trial and error to determine which varieties would produce quality wines, as well as stand up to the weather here. Their diligence and determination paid off when they won Best White in Show at the 2010 San Francisco International Wine Competition, winning over the 1,300 other wines by wineries from 27 countries and 28 U.S. states.
As a member of the Hudson Valley Cabernet Franc Coalition and the Shawangunk Wine Trail, wine lovers can easily locate Whitecliff’s lovely tasting room nestled in their vineyard. Yancey commented that one of their big focusses this year is to “create
the most fun and friendly tasting room possible, with the most knowledgeable staff.”
We look forward to the 2018 season of The Best of Hudson Valley® and expect to see more Gardiner businesses joining the ranks.