WINTERSVILLE — The owners and staff of a wide variety of businesses were acknowledged for their hard work through the presentation Wednesday of honors in more than 400 categories in the Herald-Star and Weirton Daily Times’ Best of the Best Readers’ Choice competition.
As master of ceremonies for the event held at St. Florian Event Center, Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the two newspapers, told the many business owners and professionals in attendance they may think their efforts go unnoticed but the many votes cast by readers prove they do not.
Gallabrese said 5,510 readers cast 101,920 votes in the competition’s first round, with another 72,229 votes cast by 3,434 readers that helped to determine a winner and two finalists for each of the many categories.
One of the night’s biggest winners was Trinity Health System, which received awards for best hospital, best home health care, and best sports medicine program.
The Trinity School of Nursing was voted best private school and the office of Dr. Amjad Alkaed, a Trinity physician, was named best pediatric practice.
Matt Grimshaw, chief executive officer of Trinity Health System, said of the honors, “I couldn’t be happier. It’s great to have all of our team members throughout the community be recognized.”
Another recipient of multiple awards was M&M True Valley Hardware of Steubenville, which received the most votes for best hardware, best lawn and garden supplier and best rental service.
Gus’s Goodies of Weirton received awards for best bakery, best cookies and best doughnuts.
Pastaio Cucina Rustica Italiana of Wintersville received the most votes for best Italian food, best service and best restaurant overall.
Theo Yianni’s Authentic Greek American Cuisine of Weriton, received awards for best menu and best atmosphere.
Shawn Mihellis, owner of the 12-year-old restaurant, said, “We’re so overjoyed. It’s an honor.”
He said it would not have been possible if not for the support of his staff and the community, adding, “It’s a blessing and we’re very thankful.
Among many receiving two awards was Puskarich Accounting, which netted awards for best accounting service and best tax preparation service.
The Follansbee business is run by the mother-daughter team of Debbie and Brandy Puskarich.
Debbie said votes cast for them by readers felt like a show of appreciation for the many hours they put into the financial records of their clients.
“It’s a great thank you to us,” she said.
Brandy said, “Our clients are like family to us. To be chosen for these awards is very special to us.”
She added that receiving them also gives them something to live up to in the future.
“It will keep us on our toes,” she said.
This year also saw the presentation of the readers’ choice for best new business, an award open to those that opened between June 2022 and June of this year. That honor went to The Fashion Exchange of Weirton.
Joe Lovell, special events coordinator for Ogden Newspapers, said he was quite pleased with turnout for the awards presentation, which is in its third year and the efforts of the many staffers behind it.
“This year we almost tripled our attendance. I think we stepped up in making it an event people want to attend,” he said, noting about 250 business owners and professionals were on hand.
“It’s always nice to recognize our area businesses for the excellence service and product they provide the community,” Lovell added.
Assisting organizers in presenting the many awards was Mrs. West Virginia Jami Myers of Chester, who has drawn on her experience as an occupational therapist to speak on treatment and preventative measures for dementia in the U.S. and abroad.