If you live in Sandpoint, it’s hard to pick just one thing you love about it. Is it the scenery? The friendliness of the people? The abundance of year-round outdoor activities? If you are like most, the reasons are plenty. And one thing I am certain we can all agree upon is that our hardworking friends and neighbors who have chosen to call this place home have given their hearts and souls into making sure that Sandpoint has the “finest” of all that life has to offer; that is definitely something to be celebrated!
At Sandpoint Living Local, each month we love to share the stories of our friends and neighbors who are making a difference in the lives around them. We are also humbled by the support the community provides us through reading our stories and choosing our publication and online platforms to market and brand their businesses. It was out of this love of community and desire to celebrate it that Sandpoint Living Local began the Sandpoint’s Finest event last year. We have a passion when it comes to connecting our community and want to acknowledge those who help to make this a wonderful place to live and visit. And what a better place to do it than at a social gathering that brings us all together!
This year, the Second Annual Sandpoint’s Finest event will take place on Friday, March 29 at The Hive in Downtown Sandpoint. With food, drinks, music, dancing, fun and laughter, we will recognize those people, businesses and organizations that the community has voted as Sandpoint’s Finest for this past year.
For the past few weeks, people have been voting online for whom they believe to be “Sandpoint’s Finest” in a multitude of categories including Sandpoint’s finest burger, cup of coffee, family owned business, creative business, person of the year, finest organization with a cause and much, much more. The voting was recently narrowed down to those who have received the top three votes in each category. The winners of each of the 30 categories will be announced at the March 29 event.
We are honored to have the following sponsors supporting our event: Platinum Sponsor - Gateway Financial Partners, Ron Denova and Trudy Leen,; our gold sponsors The 219 Lounge and NextHome Living the Northwest - Lisa Davies, Realtor; our Silver Sponsors StyleBar Beauty Bar and Kevin Hatcher Excavation and Trucking and Bronze Sponsors James Hutchens - CPA, Bonner General Heath and Tom Davies Family Dentistry.
This red-carpet event will begin at 6pm with a cocktail hour complete with appetizers, followed by the awards and then entertainment from The Miah Kohal Band, known and loved by many! And it doesn’t stop there. The festivities will continue with an after party at The 219 Lounge.
The inaugural event last year saw many in our community come together. One of those in attendance was Scott Porter, owner of Sandpoint Super Drug, who won the Finest for Customer Service in our community.
“The greatest compliment I could ever receive in the retail setting is best customer service because without customer service we are nothing. Both myself and my staff pride ourselves on great customer service,” said Porter. “It was a great honor receiving this award, and [Sandpoint Living Local] put together a first-class event showcasing all the winners of Sandpoint's Finest. Job well done!”
While we set aside this time each year to recognize Sandpoint’s Finest, these past several weeks have revealed to many just how important each and every person and business is to the success of our town.
It was with heartbreak that we watched the buildings at First Avenue and Bridge Street burn during the early hours of February 11. Business owners who have given their hearts and souls to growing incredible businesses for our community to enjoy were left helpless as the force of nature took over.
As first responders worked tirelessly in the snow and frigid temperatures, other businesses, including Starbucks and City Beach Organics, stepped in to offer food and warm beverages at no charge. And it was not long after that when a fundraiser was planned to benefit those who suddenly found themselves without work. Other businesses opened space to those who lost theirs in the fire so they can hopefully get back to work sooner than later.
Eichardt's Pub and Grill started a GoFundMe for the downtown businesses that were affected by the fires and stated on the website its desire to reach out and support fellow business owners.
“Downtown small businesses are a vital part of preserving our community. We welcome anyone to join us, and we challenge everyone to do something to help,” wrote Jeff Nizzoli, owner of Eichardt’s Pub and Grill.
It is acts of kindness such as these that make Sandpoint so unique and gives true meaning to the word community.
So as we go forth and celebrate all that is the “finest” in Sandpoint, let’s remember all our local businesses and support them in any way we can year round. After all, they are what make Sandpoint the finest community around!