2007 Readers Choice Award Winners

Once again, the BBJ’s avid readers responded to the call for excellence in incredible numbers. Your ability to vote online provided a substantial increase in our number of ballots — way to make your votes count, folks, and kudos to BBJ cyber-whiz Sean Echelbarger for making it possible! On to the winners …

2006 Business Person of the Year:
Ben Scholtz,
Mallard Ice Cream

The Man Behind the Mallard was your choice for top business person in 2006, a year highlighted by the store’s move to their fancy new digs on Railroad Avenue. Congrats Ben, and keep that Heath Bar Crunch coming!


Best new business: G.I. Joe’s

Remodeling an aging, vacant eyesore sure seems to have made on impression on the readers, so G.I. Joe’s won this category, but the sports megacompany only squeaked by a couple of smaller companies: in second place was Business Bank of Whatcom County, followed by Four Starrs Boutique and Barkley Chiropractic. Also receiving multiple votes were Robek’s, Fool’s Onion, Re-threads, Left Coast Furnishings, Kohl’s, Ruff Day Doggie Daycare, Fairhaven Toy Garden, Sirena Gelato, and, even though it has yet to open its doors, Trader Joe’s.


Best customer service:
Les Schwab

Yes, they run out to your car — but there must be more top it than that, as Les Schwab took the coveted customer-service category, followed by Hardware Sales, WECU and Haggen.


Best latte: Javatown
Javatown has a grassroots system for getting our the vote that most politicians would envy – and enough people love their java that they won this category again in a runaway. In second was The Black Drop.


Best place to take your spouse to dinner:
The Cliff House

Talk about a room with a view, and apparently the food is pretty darn good as well, as you voted the Cliff House tops in this category, edging out Giuseppe’s and Nimbus. The Oyster Bar and Anthony’s were also in the running.


Best Computer Repair: Northwest Computer

Color it two in a row for these folks in this category; in second place was TD Curran, followed by 3D. Whatcomputers, Kulshan Computer Services, and Intellect also received multiple votes.


Contractor: Skeers Construction

It’s three years at the top for Dick Skeers and Skeers Construction; Faber Construction was next, followed by A1 and Wilder.


Best Business website: runningshoes.com

Dataheads picked runningshoes.com as their fave place on the Whatcom County Internet; also receiving multiple votes were the Chamber of Commerce, the Bellingham Herald, Peter James Photo Art, KGMI Radio, and the BBJ.


Best sushi: Osaka
Osaka swam its way to a win in one of our new categories this year, followed by Tokyo House, Little Tokyo, Bluefin Sushi, and Wasabi.


Most community-minded company: Haggen

Congrats to Haggen or winning this category for the second year in a row; the local grocery giant was followed by Village Books and the Community Food Co-Op.


Funniest business name:
A Boy, a Girl, and a Squeegee

Do other cities have as many funny business names as Bellingham? We doubt it. Regardless, a two-squeegee salute to A Boy, a Girl, and a Squeegee for its streak-free title run in this category. It was followed by former champ Brewed Awakening. Other’s receiving votes included All About Wood, Ruff Day Doggie Daycare, Haulin’ Ash, Big Fat Fish Co., Sober Rovers, Beaver’s Tree Service, Fool’s Onion, Suck It Up, and Left Right Left.


Best Realtor: Chet Kenoyer
Always a hotly contested category, Chet Kenoyer took the top spot this year, followed by last year’s champ, Dean Ulrich. Eric Larsen, Lylene Johnson, Mike Parcher and Pete Coy also received multiple votes.


Most environmentally responsible: The Re-Store

Keeping perfectly good building materials out of local landfills is a great concept for a business – and you think so, too, naming the Re-Store tops in this category, followed by SSC and Ryzex.


Rate the economy:
1 –
2 –
3 –
4 –
5 – 11
6 – 26
7 – 20
8 – 23
9 – 7
10 – 3


Best place for a quick business lunch: Giuseppe’s

Just like the phoenix rising from the ashes, Giuseppe’s has risen anew after its disastrous fire, and is your choice of the place to go for a quick business lunch. Hot on its heels is a long-time power in this category, Hizzoners, followed by La Fiamma, The Bagelry, and the Bayside Cafe.


Best thing to happen to Bellingham in 2006:
Tim Douglas

Welcome back, Mayor Tim. Also receiving votes: the Waldron Building renovation, Western Air, more condos downtown, the House of Orient’s new site, the passage of the Greenways levy, and the circular-filing of the new Bellingham city logo.


Best business logo: Fiamma Burger

Not bad for a burger joint yet to to seat its first patron! Other stylists thumbs-up went to Cruisin Coffee, Mount Baker Motorsports, Jack’s Bike Shop, Mallard Ice Cream, The Woods Coffee, Spice Hut, Whidbey Island Bank, and Favinger Plumbing.


Best auto-repair shop: Trottner’s

Past champion Trottner’s revisits the top spot on the podium this year, followed by Harmony and The Panacea. also receving multiple votes: Davis Auto Repair, Bradford Rovers, Bellingham Automotive, Milne’s, Angler Auto Repair, Rising Sun, Hi-Tech Auto, and Olsen’s Auto Body.


Local company to boom in the next few years:
Logos Bible Software

"And on the 13th Year of the Readers Choice Awards, thou shalt be given a wondrous bounty …" Congrats to the folks at Logos! The Business Bank of Whatcom County also received multiple votes.


Best daycare:
Blossom Childcare and Learning Center

You chose Blossom as the place to take your tiny ones while you get through the 9 to 5; it was followed by A Loving Space Preschool, Running Rabbits, and Bright Beginnings. Also receiving multiple votes were the YMCA, Promise Daycare, Kids Corner, Hillcrest, and Children’s Garden.


Attorney to defend you from a lawsuit:
Michael Tario

Sooner or later, everybody needs a lawyer; you voted Michael Tario as the guy to call. Also receiving multiple votes were Frank Chmelik, Stephen Shropshire, Starck Follis, Steve Adelstein, Dean Brett, Jon Sitkin, Jill Bernstein, Barry Meyers, and David Hunter.


Best car dealer: Northwest Honda

Second place last year just wasn’t good enough for Northwest Honda, who took the top spot in 2006, edging out Wilson Toyota. Following closely were Roger Jobs, Dewey Griffin and the brothers Cox — Bruce and Keith. Also receiving multiple votes were Jerry Chambers, Pioneer Ford, and Diehl Ford.


Best place for an after-work drink: Nimbus

This category had the highest number of entrants, and we’re not sure if Bellingham is just a fun place or there is more reason to booze it up in 2006-2007, but Nimbus was your choice for top place for an after-work nip. Other vote-getters included the Fairhaven Pub & Martini Bar, North Fork Brewery, Boundary Bay, Poppe’s, Jalapenos, Bob’s Burgers & Brew, Applebee’s, The Cliff House, Anthony’s, and the local Irish embassy, Uisce.


Best shoe store: 12th St. Shoes

12th Street Shoes ran away with this category, hopefully with its shoes on. In second place was Hilton’s, followed by Mi Shoes, Fairhaven Runners, Footworx, and Left Right Left.


Most outrageous business rumor:
Trader Joe’s is coming!

This was the same "outrageous rumor" that won last year — only this year, they were (finally) right.


Best sick-from-work excuse:
"My mother is in jail"

Worked for us.


Best salon: Studio Galactica
Always a close category, Studio Galactica zapped the opposition to come out on top in 2006, followed closely by The Avenue Salon, Mikol’s, Tropix, Studio 112, and the Argyle Salon.


If you had $1 million to give away, which local nonprofit would you give it to?
Brigid Collins House

There were a huge number of incredibly deserving entities in this category, but Brigid Collins House had the most votes, followed by Lydia Place, the Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the Lighthouse Mission.

Congrats to all the winners!


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