Presenting the inaugural Best of the Willamette Valley awards

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June 17, 2020 By Best of the Willamette Valley

Welcome to the Best of the Willamette Valley. Our inaugural edition features winners as voted by over 17,000 unique users. We present 382 awards in 191 categories to 329 different individuals and businesses. To be named in the top two of any of our categories is an accomplishment. Congratulations to all our winners.

The Best of the Willamette Valley contest opened on February 10th with nominations of over 1,600 individuals and businesses. Voting opened on March 9th and was held through March 27th. Despite the pandemic of 2020, we received over 70,000 votes cast by our 17,000 unique voters.

We chose the Oregon Pioneer, also known as the “Gold Man” statue that stands atop our state capital building as our visual symbol. Created by Ulric Ellerhusen and standing 22 feet tall, it was chosen to pay tribute to those who began arriving in the Willamette Valley as early as 1839.

It is a fitting symbol for today’s small businesses in Marion and Polk Counties. Like our contestants, we too are a small business based in the great Willamette Valley. During this difficult year for small businesses, the term “all in” has never been more appropriate. Being a small business today takes more bravery than ever before, like the pioneers that traveled West on the Oregon Trail.

NERUS Strategies is not new to contests. We are quickly becoming known as the producers of North America’s most successful Best Of programs. Our largest is Best of Las Vegas with over nine million votes cast last year. In addition, we produce contests with a variety of media partners in Arkansas, California, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and New Hampshire. We will also be launching a program in Montreal, Canada this summer.

Best of the Willamette Valley was deployed with a combination of media to promote the contest to our audience, including social media, digital display campaigns, bus side advertising, outdoor advertising, radio, cable television, email, live events, and direct mail.

We encourage you to explore our winners, and better, plan to visit as many as possible. You can rate and comment on your favorites at year-round.

Grab a copy of the magazine at winner's locations across the Willamette Valley. We also mailed 10,000 additional copies to households in Marion and Polk counties. 

Congratulations to all of those that participated, and to those that won. A big thank you as well to all our advertisers for their support, and to all those who cast votes... thank you!

Until the 2021 Best of the Willamette Valley!

Bill Cummings & Neil Potter