More and more, the Emerald Coast is exhibiting a distinctive, local flair and infectious energy — from the bright facades of progressive businesses to the beaches lined with welcoming lounge chairs and the full tables at our favorite eateries. Life along the Emerald Coast is further enhanced by businesses and professionals committed to delivering quality products and experiences, exemplary customer service and inviting environments. When you think of the word “best,” you may recall the mouthwatering meal you bragged to out-of-towners about, the spot you look forward to all week for drinks on Friday night, the suit that was tailored to perfection or the comfort you received from a caring physician. That is, you reflect on businesses that warrant recognition through the chance to win a coveted “Best of the Emerald Coast” award. Contribute to giving your favorite business what it deserves. You can see the full list of categories for our annual readers poll each year when it’s published in the June–July issue of Emerald Coast Magazine. 

Best of the Emerald Coast Rules

To preserve the integrity of the voting process, the following contest rules must be observed in order to cast a ballot and ensure it is included in the voting tabulation process:

  • Only ballots printed on original magazine pages will be accepted — no copies (color or black-and-white) or facsimiles of the ballot.
  • Ballots must have votes in at least 20 categories.
  • All votes must be for locally owned Emerald Coast area businesses. Locally owned and operated companies are defined by the owner or managing partner living in the Emerald Coast area or within a 30-mile radius of the Emerald Coast.
  • No incentives, prizes, goods or services may be offered in exchange for votes. 
  • Only one ballot per envelope is permitted. 
  • Businesses may not require ballots to be turned in to a central location; ballots must be filled out independently and mailed to address listed below. 
  • All ballots must be mailed directly to the post office box address below: 

Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC
C/O: Best of the Emerald Coast
500 Grand Boulevard, Suite 210
Miramar Beach, FL 32550

  • Ballots must be postmarked by July 6, 2018.
  • Obvious attempts at ballot stuffing will be disqualified.
  • A business can win the “Best of” award in no more than two categories. If a business is the leading vote-getter in more than two categories, that business will win only the “Best of” award for the two categories in which it received the most votes.
  • Any winning business must be in good standing with Rowland Publishing Inc. in order to be promoted as a “Best of Winner.”

Once ballots are counted, all tabulations are final.

2018 Best of the Emerald Coast FAQs

Each year, Emerald Coast Magazine celebrates over a hundred businesses throughout our community that have been singled out by our readers as the best of the best. We have always been transparent about this yearly survey and how it works, but for those who may be new to the process, here are answers to some of the more commonly asked questions about “Best of.”

How are Emerald Coast Magazine’s “Best of” winners selected?

The readers of Emerald Coast Magazine choose the winners. A ballot is printed in the magazine (June/July issue), and readers are asked to fill it out and mail it in by a certain deadline. Each ballot must have votes marked in at least 20 categories to be counted. Votes arriving after the deadline are not counted. Refer to rules listed above. We also have four exclusive online categories that anyone can vote for by visiting from June 1-30.

Who counts the votes and decides the winner?

Emerald Coast Magazine contracts with a third party to count the votes and determine the winner and runner-up. The counting will be done by Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC.

Do you have to buy an ad in the magazine to win?

Absolutely not. Our winners include advertisers as well as non-advertisers.

Can someone “stuff” the ballot box?

No. Only ballots printed on original Emerald Coast Magazine pages are accepted. Copies or facsimiles of the ballot are automatically rejected.

Who is eligible?

The readers decide whom they want to honor. Locally owned and operated companies are defined as such: the owner or managing partner living in Bay County through Escambia County or within a 30 mile radius of the Emerald Coast area.

How are categories decided?

The categories are revisited each year, and we welcome reader suggestions.

What do Best of winners get?

Winners earn the prestige of being selected by a majority of our readers. They also get a listing in the magazine, usage of the “Best of” logo for a year, discounted advertising rates, an award to showcase in their establishment, invitation to the exclusive winners party and two complimentary tickets to the “Best of” celebration.

Results are published annually in the October/November issue of Emerald Coast Magazine. Have questions about Best of the Emerald Coast or interested in sponsorship opportunities? Contact Mackenzie Little for more information.