For the latter half of last year, the BBJ crew devoted countless hours of brainpower and phone calls to compile this year’s Book of Lists, which is included in this issue.
The Book of Lists presents an interesting challenge, as we sift through phone books, industry lists and Web sites to gather information and contact the leaders of about 45 different industries. But while the phone company has only one list to gather data from — that being the list of folks with telephone numbers — our job requires a lot more initiative and investigation.
Once we have identified the list of potential candidates for each list, then comes the part of gathering accurate information. Most of the time that involves contacting managers and owners of businesses to ask them for information such as current number of employees, how much product they sold the previous year, what their annual budget is, etc. This can involve a lot of phone tag, e-mails, faxes and the like, but through this process we hope to gather the most up-to-date information.
Every year after the lists come out, however, we get calls from businesses that were either not included when they should have qualified or they dispute the information listed. In some cases, businesses did not give us complete information and were thereby left off the lists. All we can say to this is that we have done the best we could and we will keep this information for next year’s lists.
If you spot a business that we have missed, please let us know. We keep a running file of all the contacts, and when we start gathering information again in August (not so far away, really), we will make sure to try to contact the correct people to get the information. Send me an e-mail at editor@thebellinghambusinessjournal, and it will make for even stronger lists next year.
Also in this issue you will find our annual Readers Choice Awards. This is always a fun project for us, as we watch the ballots come in by fax and in the mail, and compile them to find out who is the best of the best in town.
It’s interesting to see the “campaigns” that go on behind the scenes, as well. The Java Town people, for example (you know who you are), get out the vote every year and make sure to have a strong representation. It’s also interesting to watch the battles in certain categories, such as “best thing to happen to Bellingham.” This year Mayor Dan Pike was up against heavyweight favorite Trader Joe’s, and even though he had a strong showing, he didn’t last all 15 rounds. (We also decided to take a look at how the dust has settled in the grocery store industry now that the new competitor has been in town for several months. See our story on Trader Joe’s on page 16.)
Both of these projects — the Book of Lists and Readers Choice Awards — allow us to reach out to the community and get to know you better, which is always a delight. We enjoy your feedback and participation.