Falvey

Bank of NH President Paul Falvey. (Adam Drapcho/The Laconia Daily Sun file)

LACONIA — Bill Cummings said he usually counsels against being both a sponsor of a “Best Of” contest and a contestant. But to Bank of New Hampshire, both opportunities were too good to pass up.

“We thought it was a great opportunity to be on the ground floor of something right here in our hometown,” said Paul Falvey, bank president.

Cummings, CEO of Nerus Strategies, said sponsors of the “Best Of” contests, which his company operates all over the country, including the Best Of the Lakes Region with local partner Laconia Daily Sun, run a risk. If they do poorly in the contest, they look bad. Or they can win their category, and the public presumes that they were given the win in exchange for the sponsorship.

“We make sure that they’re aware that there could be that conflict,” Cummings said. In reality, he said, sponsoring the contest offers a business no advantage except some additional branding. “We are definitely not a pay-to-play program. It doesn’t cost anything to enter, it doesn’t cost anything to win. It is truly a poll of public opinion.”

For Falvey, the risks associated with being both the presenting sponsor and a contestant for “Best Bank” were worth it. He wanted to give his employees and customers the chance to vote for their favorite bank, and he wanted to support the contest, which celebrates the gems of the Lakes Region economy.

“It really lets us show off some of our local businesses,” Falvey said. “We think it will be fun. It’s new, it will be supporting local businesses, which is all great… They’ll be able to celebrate a lot of the neat stuff that’s done right here, whether it’s hospitality, food, catering, arts and crafts, all of those industries. There’s a lot of talent here.”

Falvey said he was also encouraged that the Daily Sun contracted with a third-party vendor to run the contest, and that Nerus takes pains to ensure fairness.

Beginning today, anyone can go to www.bestofthelakesregion.com to nominate their favorite businesses. The nomination period closes on March 22.

Voting, which only takes place through the above website, will take place from noon on April 9 to 5 p.m. on April 25. Voters are permitted to vote once per category per day.

Winners will be announced on June 26, when the Daily Sun and the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce will hold a gala to celebrate the top vote earners.

Cummings said it is shaping up to be a spirited contest.

“We’re looking forward to seeing who gets best of what in the marketplace. We’re getting a lot of interest and excitement. From our standpoint, we’re pleased with how the marketplace has embraced it. And I encourage everybody to go nominate who they think is the best.”

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