Last week Sanibel and Captiva business owners were presented with a plaque that distinguishes them as Best of the Islands in one or more of 96 categories during the Islander/Island Reporter's annual luncheon held at The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, which won the best tennis courts and best golf course categories.
"Hosting Best of the Islands is our humble way of giving the community a chance to show their appreciation for the hard-working island businesses that put forth a great service on a daily basis," said Breeze Newspapers publisher Scott Blonde.
The island community voted for its favorite island business in the outlined categories that included everything from best art gallery (won by 2 Islands Gallery) to best fireman (won by Josh Koza). The nearly 145 guests attending the luncheon also had the chance to win prizes from the Dunes worth more than $2,000 plus the floral center pieces designed by Floral Artistry, which won the best florist category.
In a new category, Geppetto's Beach Foodies won for best beach food to go while its counterpart Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream took the best ice cream category. The small ice cream shop on the east end of Sanibel has been an island tradition for more than 30 years and continually has been voted best ice cream for several years.
"We take the business of producing a quality product and maintaining high customer satisfaction very seriously," said Donna Puma, owner of Geppetto's and Pinocchio's. "Our loyal customer fan base is Pinocchio's primary asset and the kudos we receive from their actions, such as voting us best ice cream each year, is the greatest gift we could receive for building strong relationships."
Like Pinocchio's, many island businesses have been voted best in their category year after year, while others won their category for the first time. Some even took more than one category, such as The Jacaranda that was voted best happy hour, best bar and best place for dancing and entertainment.
See Island Faces in both sections of this paper for pictures from the Best of the Islands awards luncheon.
"We thank everyone who attended the 2012 Best of the Islands winners luncheon and making this the most successful event yet," said Blonde. "We would also like to thank the many advertisers that have supported the Islander/Island Reporter throughout our 40 years of being your community newspaper."