2-12 bolr_contest

LACONIA — If you’re the best around, nothing’s going to ever keep you down.

Anyone who has seen The Karate Kid — or even just heard the 1984 film’s soundtrack — knows that, but, how can you know for sure if you’re the best? Coming this spring, The Laconia Daily Sun will have a definitive way to find out.

“I’ve wanted to do a ‘Best Of’ program for years,” said Adam Hirshan, publisher of The Laconia Daily Sun. “I’ve seen how valuable the ‘Best Of’ programs are for advertisers and readers.”

Some of the other publications that Hirshan is a partner to — The Conway Daily Sun and the Portland Pheonix — have run popular “Best Of” programs. They give local businesses a chance to assert their excellence in a given category, and they give readers a chance to voice their support for their favorite local stores, restaurants and services. Meanwhile, businesses hope to find a few new customers, and readers might discover a new favorite they didn’t know about before.

Hirshan also has seen how challenging they can be to operate. Keeping track of all the entries into myriad categories can consume much of a newspaper’s staff resources. Then he came across NERUS Strategies, an Oregon-based company founded by Bill Cummings.

“We started in April of 2017,” said Cummings, NERUS’s chief executive officer. “I’ve been 30 years in the media business. It was born out of frustration that there wasn’t a good resource for newspapers for a ‘Best Of’ program.”

NERUS allows newspapers to outsource their Best Of program, which results in two primary benefits: The newspaper staff is able to continue with its usual tasks, and the readers and advertisers get a Best Of website and experience that is credible, polished and easy-to-use.

The Laconia Daily Sun will be holding a kickoff event on the evening of Feb. 26 at an undisclosed location. To get details, business owners and managers may register for the party at rsvp4thebest.com.

Beginning in March, readers will be able to go to BestoftheLakesRegion.com and nominate their favorites in nearly 200 categories. There will be seven main categories, such as “Eat & Drink,” “Shopping and “Professional Services,” with subcategories organized underneath those. Voting will take place from April 9-25.

The winners will be announced at a gala event presented by The Laconia Daily Sun and the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce at the NASWA Resort on June 26. Winners also will be celebrated in a comprehensive publication and digital platform, so other customers can find out why they won.

“I love the Lakes Region; it’s an incredible place to live, work and visit,” Hirshan said. “Our goal with the Best of the Lakes Region is to help people discover the very best places to visit, eat, shop, find a snack or choose a doctor and more – and it’s all voted by the community. We’re thrilled to find and highlight the best of the Lakes Region and look forward to seeing who is nominated and ultimately wins.”

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