SO WE come once again to that time of year, when our Best of Savannah special issue hits the streets, and the internet.
This ginormous issue — well over twice the size of our usual print edition, with a digital footprint to match — represents the culmination of months of your votes being counted, winners identified, profile subjects interviewed, photos taken, coffee drunk, hair torn out, all for the glory of presenting you with a finished product not replicated anywhere else in a market now rife with copycat efforts.
This massive annual project remains the best single state-of-the-art snapshot of a local market in a continuing upsurge, with new and different offerings each year.
One of the most heartening trends through the years has been the identifiable increase in depth of local cultural and business options
In the 15 years plus that I’ve been doing Best of Savannah issues, the very clear trend is that Savannah is no longer the one-horse town it once was.
As the global brand that is Savannah continues to gain in prestige and cachet, so do the number of people not only visiting here from all over the world, but the number of people drawn to start up businesses, open nonprofits, form bands and performing arts groups.
While in many ways Savannah is still — charmingly? frustratingly? both? — not quite a 21st century market, there’s no doubt that the economy is robust, with a quality of life that still obviously draws tourists, residents, entrepreneurs and investors.
Most of you know the drill by now. But for those who don’t — who are newbies to the outsized pleasure that is the Connect Savannah Best of Savannah special issue — here’s the deal:
• The winners are the ones who get the most votes from our readers, period. We dearly love our advertisers, but nobody has an inside angle on winning. It is strictly up to the readers. This is democracy in action — for better or worse!
• New and/or otherwise noteworthy winners receive an extended profile, with photo. This is something we do at our editorial discretion, to highlight new winners, new categories, or some otherwise remarkable winner.
• All other winners receive a short descriptive blurb, again at editorial discretion, i.e. we write all this stuff, the winners themselves do not.
• Keep an eye on runners-up, as they often portend new and developing local trends and can give some insight as to what future winners’ lists might look like.
The authors of the extended profiles are identified in italics after each profile. Contributing this year are Anna Chandler, Rachael Flora, Jessica Leigh Lebos, Sophia Morekis, Maria Whiteway, and yours truly.
The shorter blurbs are a community effort by myself, Anna, Rachael, and Jessica.
All that luscious content is funneled for cutting-edge design and layout to our outstanding Art/Production Department led by Art Director/Production Manager Brandon Blatcher, along with Graphic Designer Loretta Calhoun, who is experiencing the hectic hustle-bustle of her very first Best of Savannah issue with us. Loretta, trust me, they start to blur a little bit after the first seven or eight!
Our fearless leader, General Manager Chris Griffin and legendary sales representative Jay Lane are of course indispensable parts of the Connect team.
Indefatigable contributing photographer Jon Waits contributed many excellent photos throughout the run of the paper this year, and he is an irreplaceable and vital part of our crew here. Peterson Worrell also contributed some commissioned shots this issue.
The honor of our cover shoot this year goes again to the man voted by our readers as Best Local Photographer, the especially great Geoff L. Johnson.