One of the special things about our annual City Pulse Top of the Town Contest, now 16 years running, is seeing how many folks will take the ultimate challenge of voting in every category. Not just for your favorite restaurants, stores and other businesses you patronize and easily identify with, but Every. Single. Category. You may not be familiar with all of them, but you take the challenge for fun and maybe to learn a little more about your community.
Of course, not everyone is so inspired to go that far. We were thrilled this year in our first go-round with Revfluent LLC, which hosted our contest online, to have more than 20,000 of you sign up for TOTT and cast more than 247,000 votes! Revfluent has also built for us a new Lansing Guru site that will celebrate and host the Top Five in every category all year long, so those wanting to patronize the “best of the best” in Greater Lansing will have an invaluable resource. And we had a lot of fun with our friendly-aliens-visiting-Lansing theme and the great artwork by Dennis Preston that went with it.
But we still love those who take the “every-single-category” challenge, and this year, we added some substantial motivation for voters to go the distance with us: We enlisted the support of seven diverse businesses and launched a side contest, as the second round began, where those who voted in all 338 categories would be entered in a drawing to win a $650 package of gift certificates from Local Roots, Meat BBQ, One North Kitchen & Bar, Preuss Pets, Pure Options, Spagnuolo’s Restaurant and Sweet Custom Jewelry.
Twenty-seven individuals embraced this task and, last Friday, we drew one of their names randomly. Shortly thereafter, Quinn Redick, who happens to be marketing and communications coordinator at Capital Area District Libraries – Downtown, received an email from our office.
“I can’t believe I won! I’m so excited!” she replied minutes later. It turns out that when Redick, a 28-year-old Haslett native, has voted in TOTT multiple times in the past. She is an Eastern Michigan University grad (’17) who studied journalism and media studies. She gives off the vibe of someone who’d love to be a lifelong ambassador for the best of the best in Greater Lansing.
“I was inspired to vote because I think it’s important to recognize the people, organizations, services and businesses that are making a difference in our region and impact our lives,” she said. “It could be your favorite place to grab a bite or drink, or your hairstylist or doctor who has provided outstanding service. They deserve to be recognized because it helps further their success and introduces new clients and customers to a business, service, etc., that they weren’t aware of. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Redick was was fired up about about checking every proverbial box when she learned of the drawing and prize package. “I thought it was a fun way to incentivize people to vote!”
She quickly recognized many of her favorite categories (and businesses) to vote in, including Best Dive Bar (her choice: Dagwood’s), Best Burger (Crunchy’s), Best Lansing-Area Brewery (Looking Glass Brewing Co.), Best State/National Politician (“Big Gretch”), Tattoo Parlor (Splash of Color), Coffee Shop (non-Biggby) (Constellation Cat Cafe), Best sports bar (Art’s Pub or Reno’s East). And, naturally, Best Library (CADL Downtown). “Libraries are great hangouts,” she said, “I’m a huge supporter of all libraries.”
When it comes to great categories, Redick added that there were “too many to name! I will say I am a huge fan of the new ‘Best Place to Cry in Public’ category. It has to be Frandor!” (She was prescient: Frandor it is. We can relate.)
On the other hand, did Redick also discover people, businesses and categories with which she was not familiar, but which inspired her to learn more about and try?
“Absolutely! That was a great benefit of voting in the contest,” she said. For example, “I’m definitely interested in trying out the vegan food options in the Lansing area. I wasn’t aware of them before the contest, but now I want to try them out!”
When we talked with her last week, Redick had not yet told her colleagues at CADL that she had won, but she said her co-workers were excited about their chances of winning for Best Library and Best Librarians. “I’m so happy they were recognized. Librarians do amazing work for their members and the community as a whole, so the nominations are well-deserved.”
Redick is still in a bit of a state of disbelief about being chosen and has big plans for her prize package and patronizing businesses she already loves and others she wants to try. “I couldn’t believe it when I first found out,” she said. “I’ve never won a contest like this, and I am extremely grateful. I want to give a huge thank you to City Pulse and the businesses that donated gift certificates.
“I’m very excited to go to MEAT BBQ,” she added. “My husband has never been, so I’m looking forward to taking him there and having some of the best BBQ in the region. Then who knows, maybe we’ll venture down to Preuss Pets to get something for our cats and then visit other Lansing businesses and restaurants that were featured in the Top of the Town. We’re planning to make a whole day of it and call it our ‘Tour-De-Lansing.’”
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