AJT staff production

AJT marketing consultant Henry Volk and AJT editor Jamie Shell during filming of the 2020 ‘Best of the Best: Avery County’ virtual ceremony.

Inside this week’s AJT is our second annual special section entitled “Best of the Best: Avery County.”

This year’s production is a stark contrast to our inaugural event in August 2019, which included a red carpet awards ceremony and celebration. The current global pandemic has muted many events and celebrations in 2020, but we at The AJT felt it was vital to recognize those businesses in our area who have demonstrated uncanny resilience in the face of overwhelming odds to continue to provide valuable goods and services to our neighbors and friends during these tough times.

I want to personally congratulate all of this year’s winners. A total of 158 categories were surveyed, and you, our readers, made your voices heard in support of your friends and neighbors who have remained a steady beacon of light through one of the most trying economic and business periods our area has experienced.

As well, I want to extend a debt of gratitude to the major sponsors whose supported this year’s section and helped to make the 2020 Best of Avery possible: Blue Ridge Energy, Mayland Community College, Stone Walls, and WJ Office. I would be remiss if I didn’t also take a moment to express my appreciation to a number of our co-workers, the Mountain Times Publications marketing team, for their tireless efforts in visiting countless businesses and helping to get the word out, partnering with local proprietors in sharing their success stories.

As a companion to our print publication, and in lieu of the in-person ceremony this year, The AJT staff decided to produce its very own “virtual” 2020 Best of Avery Awards Ceremony, available for viewing now on our website at www.averyjournal.com.

From the friendly and stately confines of our newspaper offices, and certainly without the high-budget, bells-and-whistles-laden glitz of your typical Hollywood extravaganza, Henry Volk and myself nevertheless share the virtual stage to recognize our winners in a professional, while at times potentially humorous, fashion. Special thanks to Henry for being a good sport and for all his efforts, as well as a special word of thanks to another highly valuable member of our community, Glory 1130 station manager Phillip Greene. Without the efforts and technological wizardry of this duo, such a video production would not have been possible (nor certainly as enjoyable) to put together.

Finally, thank you to each of you, the reading public, for participating in this event that applauds the efforts of so many of our local organizations, small businesses, large businesses, family members, residents and friends.

My prayer is that we will be able to gather together face-to face next year in celebration of the Third Annual “Best of Avery County” Awards. Until then, however, let’s continue to support area business and best wishes as we all strive to stay safe and healthy.

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