We all like to be the best. Occasionally – or sometimes frequently – we like to think that we’re the best. That thought is sometimes rooted in reality and at other times falls closer to the “wishful thinking” category.

For those of us who run a business it is an encouraging and all-too-infrequent day when we get a call or receive a compliment from a customer telling us that we – or one of our employees – is “the best”. When hundreds of our neighbors across Southern Illinois take the time to nominate and vote local businesses as “The Best” in a particular category it should provide a sense of immense pride for the business and each of their employees.

My personal inclination is to rush out and patronize every business that was a winner; starting of course with winners in the coffee and dessert categories and quickly graduating to every other food and drink related winner. It’s a selfless job to be sure, but I know I’m up to the task.

Although being a resident of the area for slightly less than a year, it’s heartening for me to realize how many of the “best” winners my wife and I already have enjoyed doing business with. Our goal for 2015 is to continue to seek out the best and be exemplary consumers of all the products and services that they offer.

www.thesouthern.com was again voted Best Local Website so I understand the pride that accompanies being the best in a category. I’m thankful to everyone in our newsroom who updates our desktop and mobile sites regularly throughout the day as well as everyone else at The Southern who has a hand in making our website #1.

So Congratulations to all of our winners and to the thousands of Southern readers who voted this year.

John Pfeifer, The Publisher