ST. PETERSBURG – More than 40 local businesses were honored Aug. 6 during LocalShops1’s seventh birthday bash and annual Best in Biz Awards, presented by C1 Bank.
This year there were five categories – Most Community-Minded, Best in Grassroots Marketing, Best New Business, Best Established Business and Best Nonprofit. Winners were chosen through an online poll – in which more than 2,500 people participated – and by a panel of independent judges including local journalists and business professionals.
The event featured keynote speaker St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and was hosted by channel 10 News journalist Noah Pransky.
Following is a list of this year’s winners:
• Best Established Business – Judges’ Vote: Rick’s Home Theatre Store, St. Petersburg; People’s Choice: Jessi’s Restaurant, Pinellas Park
• Best New Business – Judges’ Vote: Out of the Weeds, St. Petersburg; People’s Choice: Mangia Gourmet, Gulfport
• Best at Grassroots Marketing – Judges’ Vote: Michele Tuegel Contemporary, St. Petersburg; People’s Choice: Pipo’s Cuban Cafe, St. Petersburg and Seminole
• Best Nonprofit – Judges’ Vote: The Kind Mouse Productions, St. Petersburg; People’s Choice: Paws for Friendship, Tampa
In addition to the business awards, LocalShops1 presented its annual Floppy Hat Award for Community Service to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.
The annual award goes to a civic or community member who goes above and beyond to support local businesses and the Buy Local movement. Kriseman was recognized for his Small Business Tours and other pro-local business programs, and during the Best in Biz Awards he announced plans for new initiatives to make it easier for entrepreneurs to navigate through the regulations required to open up shop in St. Petersburg.