Local businesses shine at Best of the Best

By Louis Bettcher | Nov 02, 2017
Photo by: Louis Bettcher From left, Steve and Luanne Stinson, owners of Claws restaurant, are presented with the 2017 Business of the Year Award by Courier Publications' Bill Ernst Nov. 1.

Rockport — The Courier-Gazette and The Camden Herald presented the 14th annual Best of the Best Gala to benefit Make-a-Wish at The Samoset Resort Nov. 1.

The event showcased the winners of the 2017 Best of the Best of Knox County. As part of the event, a silent auction was held, with all proceeds donated to Make-A-Wish Maine to grant a wish to a child.

A wide variety of local businesses and organizations had tables at the event, which attracted hundreds of visitors. Winners in first, second and third place were determined by members of the public who voted via a ballot distributed in August in copies of Courier Publications' newspapers.

Participants offered coupons, prizes, goody bags and free samples. Visitors enjoyed a variety of food and drinks throughout the evening, and live music was provided by the band The Right Track.

This year's Business of the Year was the Rockland seafood restaurant Claws, which opened in 2014 and is owned by Luanne and Steve Stinson.

"We are thrilled beyond words that we were selected, and are so grateful to have the best customers in our own backyard," said Luanne, who, with the Claws team, served samples of their award-winning lobster mac and cheese and lobster bisque to event attendees. Claws also took the first-place award for best lobster roll.

Dan and Ruthie Beck of Moody's Diner in Waldoboro were on hand handing out samples of their famous pie, which has earned Moody's the first-place honor in that category for the past 14 years. And another repeat winner, Kristen Wallace, who was named best bartender for the second year in a row, said that she was "humbled by all of the love" she felt at the event.

Pam Gushee of Remaxx earned a second-place honor in the Realtor category. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Stacy Stevenson, left, and Elizabeth Valente Senders of Camden's Small Wonder Gallery received first place in the Art Gallery category at the Best of the Best gala Nov. 1. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
The band The Right Track performs a lively song at the evening at the Best of the Best gala Nov. 1. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Yankee Clipper owner Liz Czak, left, and her staff of pet groomers attend the Best of the Best Gala Nov. 1. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Employees of RHEAL Day Spa offer therapeutic massages at the Best of the Best gala Nov. 1. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Crowds fill the event rooms at the Samoset Resort during the Best of the Best gala. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
From left: Hannaford's Lisa Darling, Kathryn Anderson, Ron Douglas and Ben Convery hand out snacks at the Best of the Best gala Nov. 1. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Courier Publications' Samantha McPadden, left, and Heidi Brown pose for a photo at the Best of the Best gala Nov. 1. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Shepard Auto Group was awarded first place in the Automobile category at the 2017 Best of the Best Gala. From left: John Carter, Susan Shepard and Steven Powell. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Dan and Ruthie Beck of Moody's Diner at the Best of the Best gala Nov. 1. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Linda Lewis, left, and Kristin Saunders-Falla of Maine Coast Weddings and Special Events. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Hillary Thibodeau of OrganiClean stands before her display of natural cleaning products Nov. 1. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Renee Heal of University College at Rockland attends the Best of the Best gala Nov. 1. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Garden Island Laundromat's Kevin and Kathleen LaBree took first place in the Laundry category at the Best of the Best gala Nov. 1. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Peggy Yingst, right, of the Republican Journal, tends the Courier-Gazette table at the Best of the Best gala and helps visitors select newspapers from Courier Publications. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Kristen Wallace took the gold for best bartender at the Best of the Best gala Nov. 1. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
(Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
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