Everyone has favorite companies to do business with, whether it’s an employee benefit firm that goes the extra mile for its customers or the conference facility that makes you look like a star, even when your budget is less than stellar.
For the third year, Columbus C.E.O. asked our readers about the things that make Central Ohio’s business scene great. We want to know where the best business services and products are located. Where are the best continuing education offerings? What are the best local law firms? Who gives the best financial advice? And where’s the best place to buy insurance?
There are fun questions, too, including a search for the best networking organization. What’s the best bar for an after-work drink? And where are the best places to schedule a power lunch or impress a prospective client?
This year, we ditched paper ballots and took the poll online-only. Starting with the May issue, we sent readers to our website, asking for opinions in 70 business categories. We tallied the results and are bringing them to you here.
Best Accounting Firm ?(more than 20 CPAs)
GBQ Partners bested two-time champ KPMG.
Best Accounting Firm ?(less than 20 CPAs)
Hilliard-based Susan E. Thomas CPA, Ltd., which serves both individual and business clients, came out on top.
Best Ad Agency
SBC Advertising, whose clients range from AAA to Worthington Industries, claimed its second consecutive victory.
For the third year, Southwest Airlines flew high above the competition. Maybe it’s those free checked bags.
Best Architectural Firm
Miller/Watson Architects, whose portfolio includes educational, commercial, health-care and retail projects, drew the most votes.
Best Audiovisual Production Company
Mills James Productions sounded best to our readers for the third year. Bartha Audio Visual placed second.
Homegrown Huntington National Bank reclaimed its 2008 title.
Angela Stoll Petro’s Two Caterers takes the cake for its dinner party, wedding and corporate catering services.
Best Chamber of Commerce
The Columbus Chamber earned twice the votes of the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce, which finished second.
Best Charitable Organization
Mid-Ohio Foodbank knocked off United Way of Central Ohio.
Cue “Across the Field”: Ohio State University wins again.
Best Commercial Real Estate Developer
The Pizzuti Companies edged out Continental Real Estate Companies.
Best Computer Training
The local office of New Horizons Computer Learning Centers was a repeat winner.
Best Conference Center/Meeting Facility (Hotel)
It’s a three-peat for the Hilton Columbus at Easton Hotel, whose nearest contender was The Blackwell Inn.
Best Conference Center/Meeting Facility (Non-hotel)
Winner sparkspace offers five funky meeting rooms at its Arena District digs.
Best Continuing Education Offerings
Columbus State Community College was again the top choice, followed by Franklin University.
Best Credit Union
BMI Federal Credit Union nabbed its second win.
Best Employee Benefit Firm
Willis wins again, with CCI Benefit Solutions and Neace Lukens in a second-place tie.
Schottenstein Zox & Dunn Company edged out SBC Advertising.
Best Engineering Firm
The winner: Burgess & Niple Inc. Tied for second were EMH&T Inc. and Metro CD Engineering.
Best Financial Advisory Firm
Independent advisory firm Koos Wealth Management Inc. of Dublin topped global giant Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
Best General Contractor
Corna Kokosing Construction Company won for the second year.
Best Home Builder
M/I Homes hammered out its third win, followed by Romanelli & Hughes Building Company.
Best Hospital/Medical Center
Three-time victor Riverside Methodist Hospital again wins by a landslide.
Our readers had no reservations about three-time champ the Hilton Columbus at Easton Hotel, which has a AAA 4-Diamond rating.
Best HVAC Company
Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling, which won in 2008, is back on top.
Best Information Technology Consultants
Quick Solutions Inc., in business since 1991, triumphed again this year.
Best Insurance Brokerage
Willis scores its second survey win.
Best Insurance Company
Nationwide, which had more than 16 million policies in force in 2009, nabs its third category win.
Best Interior Design Firm
Manifesto Inc., which offers both residential and commercial design services, drew the nod.
Best Internet Service Provider ?for Business
Time Warner Cable Business Class logged another win this year.
Brickman, which provides design and maintenance services from more than 160 offices in 29 states, outpaced the competition.
Best Law Firm ?(more than 50 attorneys)
Schottenstein Zox & Dunn Company gets its third honor, this year by almost a 4-to-1 margin.
Best Law Firm (less than 50 attorneys)
The Law Office of Thomas Taneff, a solo practitioner who focuses on practice areas including probate, estate planning and adoption, prevailed.
Best Litigation Firm
Schottenstein Zox & Dunn Company proves to be a triple threat, scoring an unprecedented third survey win. Second place was a four-way tie between Chester Willcox & Saxbe; Cooper & Elliott; Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter; and Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease.
Best Manufacturing Company
Worthington Industries won for the third year. Honda of America Manufacturing finished second.
Best MBA Program
For the third year, Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business was at the top of the class. Franklin University again was the runner-up.
Best Medical Managed Care Plan
UnitedHealthcare of Ohio was the preferred choice again in 2010.
Best Property Management Company
Real Property Management Inc. won for its portfolio of community association and developer services.
Best Public Relations Firm
Fahlgren Mortine Public Relations scored its second solo win. SBC Public Relations (a division of SBC Advertising) finished second.
Best Real Estate Agency (Residential)
Readers again singled out Real Living HER.
Best Real Estate Brokerage (Commercial)
Prudential Commercial Real Estate is this year’s winner.
Best Recycling Firm
Grossman Environmental Recycling Inc. climbed to the top of the heap again this year, beating out Rumpke.
NARI award-winning J.S. Brown & Company, in business since 1978, won accolades for its work.
Best Retirement Community
Friendship Village of Columbus, which offers independent, assisted living and nursing choices, was the top vote-getter. Wesley Glen Retirement Community was close behind.
Best Temporary Employment Agency
If you need some extra hands, readers recommend Dawson Resources, which was founded in 1946 to help returning soldiers find jobs. Last year’s winner, Portfolio Creative, came in second.
Best Auto Dealer
Our 2008 winner, Roush Honda, rides to victory again.
Three-time honoree The Diamond Cellar won handily. Another family-owned company, Meyers Jewelers, placed a distant second.
Best Mobile Phone Service Provider
Verizon Wireless dialed up its third victory. Even the iPhone couldn’t help second-place finisher AT&T.
Best Office Equipment Dealer
Continental Office Environments and Staples tied for the title. OfficeMax was close behind.
Best Office Furniture
Continental Office Environments sits on top for the third time.
Best Office Supply Company
Staples secured twice the votes of OfficeMax.
Best Place to Buy a Suit
Three-time champ Men’s Wearhouse again sewed up this category.
Best Printing Company
West-Camp Press Inc. successfully defends its 2009 win.
Best Sign Company
Associated Graphics Inc., which tied for first last year, gets a solo win.
THE FUN STUFF
Best Bar for an After-work Drink
Is it Friday yet? Even if it’s not, head to Bar Louie in the Arena District or at Easton. Their libations were lauded for the second year.
Best Charity Event
A Date 2 Remember, sponsored by the Columbus Young Professionals Club, raised more than $25,000 this year for A Kid Again and the Capital Area Humane Society. It narrowly topped two-time honoree the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Seattle’s Starbucks brewed up a third win. Homegrown Stauf’s Coffee made a respectable second-place showing.
Best Community Leader
Derek Grosso, president and founder of the Columbus Young Professionals Club, ousted Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.
Best Cosmetic Surgeon
Columbus Aesthetic & Plastic Surgery co-founder Dr. Timothy Treece was again the top choice to help readers look their best.
Best Country Club
Newly remodeled Scioto Country Club takes the cake for the third year, with double the votes of New Albany Country Club.
Best Downtown Patio
Sip a signature sangria at German Village hotspot Barcelona, which knocked off two-time winner Park Street Patio.
Best Fitness Club
Urban Active, which has seven Central Ohio locations, muscled out the competition.
Best Networking Organization
Again this year, Columbus Young Professionals Club was the go-to group for fattening up your Rolodex.
Best Place to Take a Prospective Client
The sophisticated Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse eked out a win over Lindey’s.
Best Power Lunch
No surprise here: Sue Doody’s Lindey’s cooks up its third victory. Northstar Café fans vaulted that locally owned favorite into second place.
Lindey’s turned the tables, trumping Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse in this category.
Best Golf Course (Private)
Scioto Country Club, whose Donald Ross-designed course saw many rounds from a young Jack Nicklaus, teed up a win for the second year.
Best Golf Course (Public)
Champions Golf Course and Raymond Memorial Golf Course, both operated by Columbus Municipal Golf, tied for the top spot on the leaderboard. Longaberger Golf Club finished a few strokes back.
Best Green Business
Two Caterers, which emphasizes local products, recycling and biodegradable containers and flatware, scores a second survey win. They even compost their food waste on-site.