NOCO Style and I have a long history. Not long after I moved to Colorado in 1997, I began freelancing for the magazine, which I did for almost ten years— albeit inconsistently. In 2008, my husband and I had just returned to Fort Collins after a stint in the mountains and I started freelancing once again. At the end of the year, NOCO Style (then Lydia’s Style Magazine) was hiring an editor and I threw my hat in the ring.
I spent the next six years in the position, and one of the visions I had during that time was a Best Of contest for the community. Other local media sources had discontinued similar efforts and it was wide open for us to step into. We launched Best Of Style Magazine in 2014.
I had the privilege of working on two of our Best Of surveys before leaving the magazine in 2015 to help my husband run our business. Last year, NOCO Style’s publisher asked me to return as editor, and I was ready for the challenge. I stepped in as we were getting the December 2019 magazine ready for publication. It was a whirlwind, but so much fun to see how this component of the magazine had grown. This was a project that I loved from the very beginning; a way to celebrate local businesses but one that was decided and driven by the people who frequent and support those businesses. And who doesn’t love fighting for their favorite pizza joint, or seeing their stylist get the recognition they deserve?
The crew here at NOCO Style has done an amazing job of expanding and refining Best Of. They brought on Second Street to enhance the survey and ensure its impartiality. They marketed and promoted and tirelessly acted as cheerleaders for local businesses. And, they threw one killer Best Of party last year. (We are mourning the fact that COVID has squashed an even bigger celebration this year.)
The community has taken notice. We have more than doubled the number of survey participants and the number of votes over last year. We have added dozens of new categories. Each year, we have a mixture of tried and true longstanding businesses with several wins under their belts along with fresh upstarts that have proven they can raise the bar of competition. It is fun and energetic, and a platform for people to celebrate the hard work of our community businesses. We hope you value the importance of your own votes as you take a look and see who is the Best Of the Best this year!
In the meantime, we at NOCO are already looking towards 2021, anxious to move forward and work at making next year even bigger and better (and, let’s face it: after this year, up is the only direction left to go).
My husband and I managed to find the absolute best way to spend our winter: training our brand-new pup, Burton. He is sweet tempered and snuggly. He has this adorable habit of sitting back and watching us for several seconds, trying to figure out exactly what is going on before he makes the decision to pounce and
destroy. He cracks us up and fills our house with laughter.
So, here’s to hoping the end of 2020 goes out like little Burt…sleepy and sweet. It owes us that much at least.
See you in 2021!