This is the last week the ballots for the Best of Pine Island will appear in the Eagle to provide residents the opportunity to vote for their favorite business.
Only one ballot per person can be submitted and an individual must fill out at least 25 selections. No photo copies or online voting will be accepted.
The ballot deadline is Monday, March 19, and the winners will be announced in the April 4 issue.
The remaining six of the 12 businesses that have won in at least one category for the Best of Pine Island since its inception six years ago explained what the recognition means to them and their business.
Baker's Heating & Air Conditioning Co-Owner Melanie Gardner said it means a lot to them to be voted Best of Pine Island for the past six years.
"Being voted the best of Pine Island shows us and our customers what we here at Baker's try to do the best we can and it shows by the vote of confidence," she said.
Gardner said they have been in business for 30 years serving Pine Island and surrounding areas. She said they are a full A/C company from service to changing out of any old equipment to a new home.
Another winner every year is True Blue Pools.
"We have been humbled and honored to be voted the Best of Pine Island the past six years, however we know that we must continue to work hard to earn our reputation every day," True Blue Pools President Gregory Lambrecht said. "We make it an effort to attend continuing education classes and seminars to continue to upgrade our pool knowledge."
True Blue Pools, which is a full-service pool maintenance and repair company, started providing services 25 years ago. Lambrecht, who moved to the island in 1981, said he is a hands-on owner who is completely accessible to his customer base.
The business is privately owned and is fully insured with the highest licensing the state of Florida has to offer.
A restaurant on Pine Island received the Best of Pine Island award a few months after they opened.
Craig Lewis, manager Of Red's Fresh Seafood House & Tavern, said Buddy and Mary Locicero opened the restaurant six years ago.
"When I asked Buddy how long he had been open, he remembers the first time he won the 'Best of' he had only been open a few months and it caught him by surprise," Lewis said. "Since then we realize the importance from the recognition as 'Best Of.'"
He said it is humbling when people take the time out of their day to appreciate and nominate Red's for the "Best Of."
"We are very grateful and it shows that each and every person who works at Red's can be proud since their hard work is recognized," Lewis said. "Red's would like to thank our loyal customers and invite new people to experience what those that voted Red's as 'Best of Pine Island' already know."
Red's serves only fresh seafood from local suppliers, along with produce, which ensures the freshest ingredients when preparing the dishes.
"We cannot stress enough how important fresh seafood is to our business and to our customers," Lewis said.
The restaurant also serves prime rib, chicken, filet and ribs, along with chef specials with entre and appetizers that are in addition to the menu.
The tavern carries full beer, wine and alcohol as well.
Gardner said Waggoner & Bruehl P.A. is another Pine Island business that has been voted as the "Best Of Pine Island" since its inception.
"It makes you feel good knowing that the services we try so hard to render are recognized by the local people," Tim Bruehl said. "As insignificant as it may seem to some, it is nice to be recognized each year as the best at what you do. Plus, it means another great meal at the Sandy Hook."
He said he would like to thank everyone who voted for his law firm.
"Thanks to all who have voted for Waggoner & Bruehl P.A. as the best attorneys on Pine Island, we will try not to let you down.
The general practice law firm, which is located at the heart of Pine Island, focuses on real estate, estate planning, probate and other transactional work. Although the firm has operated as Waggoner & Bruehl, P.A. for the past 12 years, Paul Waggoner has been practicing on the island for nearly as long as Bruehl has been alive.
Andy's Island Seafood and WildChild Art Gallery are also among the 12 island businesses that have been voted the "Best Of" since the contest's inception.