Best of Business 2012

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Everyone has at least a few companies they enjoy doing business with, whether it's an accounting firm that makes tax time less taxing or the sign company that makes your new logo shine.

For the fifth 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. Which are the best law firms? What are the best options in higher education? Who's the best employer?

There are fun questions, too, including a search for the best course for a round of golf and the best places to schedule a power lunch or impress a prospective client.

The online poll asked for opinions in 75 business categories. We tallied the results and are bringing them to you here.


Best Accounting Firm (more than 20 CPAs)

For the third year in a row, GBQ Partners added up enough votes for a victory. Deloitte came in second.

Best Accounting Firm (less than 20 CPAs)

Warner & Harper CPAs came in first, followed by Clarus Partners, formerly Yankovich Adelman Johnson Stevenson.

Best Ad Agency

SBC Advertising triumphed for the fourth year. In second place was GSW Worldwide.

Best Airline

Southwest Airlines claimed its fifth category win.

Best Architectural Firm

Moody•Nolan, recipient of the Gold Medal Firm of the Year Award from the American Institute of Architects Ohio Chapter, drew the most votes. M-A Architects finished second.

Best Audiovisual Production Company

Mills James Productions dominates for the fifth year, with Live Technologies the runner-up.

Best Bank

Central Ohio's Huntington National Bank was the readers' choice for the third straight year. Chase wasn't far behind.

Best Caterer

For the second year, Two Caterers earned more than twice the votes of Cameron Mitchell Catering.

Best Chamber of Commerce

The Columbus Chamber claimed its fourth straight title in this four-year-old category. The Dublin Chamber of Commerce was the second-place finisher.

Best Charitable Organization

A first-time winner: Pelotonia, organizer of the bicycle ride to support cancer research at Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. United Way of Central Ohio was next across the finish line.

Best Charter Airline

Executive Jet Management, a NetJets company, won for the second year. Lane Aviation landed in second place.

Best College/University

Ohio State University remained readers' favorite for the fifth time. Next up was Franklin University.

Best Commercial Real Estate Developer

Continental Real Estate Companies repeated its 2011 win, with Daimler Group finishing a distant second.

Best Computer Training

New Horizons Computer Learning Centers fought its way back to the top this year, bumping DeVry University into second place.

Best Conference Center/Meeting Facility (Hotel)

The Hilton Columbus at Easton continued its category dominance, earning triple the votes of the Hilton Columbus/Polaris.

Best Conference Center/Meeting Facility (Non-hotel)

It's a three-peat for sparkspace, located in the Arena District.

Best Continuing Education Offerings

Franklin University, which finished second in 2010, claimed the top spot. Columbus State Community College was next in line.

Best Credit Union

BMI Federal Credit Union nabbed a fourth win in this category.

Best Employee Benefit Firm

Willis of Ohio reclaimed the title from Accelerated Benefits, which finished second.

Best Employer (more than 500 employees)

Nationwide repeated its 2011 win, but OhioHealth was close behind.

Best Employer (less than 500 employees)

SBC Advertising claimed its second straight victory.

Best Energy Company

American Electric Power got readers' juices flowing. IGS Energy got the next-highest number of votes.

Best Engineering Firm

EMH&T Inc., which tied for second place the last two years, finished on top, followed by Burgess & Niple.

Best Family-Owned Business

The Grote family's Donatos, which has been serving up pizza since 1963, was this year's pick.

Best Financial Advisory Firm

Libertas Wealth Management Group Inc. claimed its third straight title.

Best General Contractor

Messer Construction Company repeats last year's win. Turner Construction Company was the second choice.

Best Home Builder

M/I Homes took the top spot for the fifth time, with Dominion Homes in second place.

Best Home Builder (Custom)

Romanelli & Hughes Building Company scored its first solo win.

Best Hospital/Medical Center

It was a five-peat for OhioHealth's Riverside Methodist Hospital.Hospital

Best Hotel

The Hilton Columbus at Easton got its second survey win, again besting the Hilton Columbus/Polaris.

Best HVAC Company

Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling worked up a fourth category win.

Best Information Technology Consultants

New winners Computer Site Columbus and NMP Technology Services tied for first place.

Best Insurance Brokerage

Willis of Ohio racked up a second survey win. Huntington Insurance was the runner-up.

Best Insurance Company

Nationwide made a clean five-year sweep of this category, though State Farm was close on its heels.

Best Interior Design Firm

Manifesto Inc. edged out Darrons Contemporary Furniture.

Best Internet Service Provider for Business

Time Warner Cable Business Class connected with readers for the fourth year.

Best Landscaper

Brickman scored a three-peat in this category. Oakland Nursery was a close second.

Best Law Firm (more than 50 attorneys)

Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease scored a narrow victory over four-time champ Ice Miller (formerly Schottenstein Zox & Dunn Company).

Best Law Firm (less than 50 attorneys)

Carlile Patchen & Murphy, another first-time winner, landed in the top spot.

Best Litigation Firm

James E. Arnold & Associates debuted as a winner. Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease and Carlile Patchen & Murphy tied for second.

Best Manufacturing Company

Worthington Industries earned a fifth category win. Honda of America Manufacturing placed second once again.

Best MBA Program

Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business had double the votes of Franklin University.

Best Medical Managed Care Plan

UnitedHealthcare of Ohio reclaimed its 2010 and 2009 titles. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield took the No. 2 spot.

Best Online Degree Program

Franklin University was the hands-down winner for the second year.

Best Public Relations Firm

Fahlgren Mortine nabbed its third solo win. SBC Public Relations (a division of SBC Advertising) was the second-place finisher.

Best Real Estate Agency (Residential)

Homeowners trusted Real Living HER for the fourth straight year.

Best Real Estate Brokerage (Commercial)

Continental Realty, which landed in a four-way tie for first in 2008, earned its first solo win.

Best Recycling Firm

Rumpke Consolidated Companies Inc. repeated last year's win. Waste Management Inc. was next in line.

Best Remodeler

Dave Fox Design Build Remodelers customers were a loyal lot, giving the company its fourth category win.

Best Retirement Community

Readers liked Wesley Glen Retirement Community again this year. Friendship Village of Columbus followed.

Best Temporary Employment Agency

Portfolio Creative, which won in 2008 and 2009, reclaimed the top spot from second-place finisher Dawson Resources.


Best Auto Dealer

Roush Honda, which won in 2010 and 2008, rode to victory. Byers Auto Group placed second.

Best Jeweler

The Diamond Cellar shone brightest for readers, earning a fifth category win. Worthington Jewelers came in second.

Best Mobile Phone Service Provider

It was the fifth category victory for Verizon Wireless. Again, AT&T was the perennial bridesmaid.

Best Office Equipment Dealer

Continental Office Environments was the favorite this year. Staples made a second-place showing.

Best Office Furniture

Continental Office Environments took back the top spot from King Business Interiors.

Best Place to Buy a Custom Suit

Astor & Black, an Inc. 500 | 5000 company founded by David Schottenstein, was the choice of the fashion-conscious set. Tom James had a respectable second-place showing.

Best Printing Company

Hopkins Printing, in business since 1976, was the top finisher. West-Camp Press Inc. scored second place.

Best Promotional Products Company

Artina Promotional Products repeated last year's win. In second place was Leaderpromos.

Best Sign Company

Associated Graphics Inc., which tied for first last year, got the top spot all to itself.

Best Women's Clothier

In a reversal of last year's results, Talbots won over Nordstrom.


Best Bar for an After-work Drink

Cheers! Bar Louie was again lauded for its libations. Eleven posted a close second-place finish.

Best Charity Event

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure finished with its fourth category win, beating Pelotonia by a nose.

Best Coffee

Readers are hooked on five-time champ Starbucks, which garnered twice the votes of Stauf's Coffee Roasters.

Best Community Leader

Readers singled out Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, who's in his fourth term in office. Derek Grosso, president and founder of the Columbus Young Professionals Club, was the next in line.

Best Country Club

Scioto Country Club teed up a fifth category win.

Best Golf Course (Private)

Scioto Country Club regained its standing at the top of this category's leaderboard. Muirfield Village Golf Club was a few strokes behind.

Best Golf Course (Public)

Safari Golf Club, an 18-hole course owned and operated by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, made its survey debut. Longaberger Golf Club finished second.

Best Networking Organization

The Columbus Young Professionals Club resonated most with readers.

Best Orthopedic Practice

OrthoNeuro defended its 2011 title. The Ohio Orthopedic Center of Excellence was the second-most-popular choice.

Best Outdoor Dining

Barcelona in German Village had a slight edge over Lindey's.

Best Place to Take a Prospective Client

Lindey's came out on top, with Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse coming in second.

Best Power Lunch

Readers voted Lindey's tops in this category five years running.

Best Restaurant

Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse, which has four Central Ohio locations, was singled out for its savory fare. Lindey's followed.

Best Suburb to Do Business

In an echo of 2011, the city of Dublin received more than double the votes earned by Westerville.