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Vermont can be a challenging place to run a business — especially if it's one that requires steady foot traffic to make ends meet. Even before the pandemic, the state's tiny population, rugged geography, unpredictable weather, and housing and labor shortages presented obstacles for local shops of all sizes.
On the flip side, Vermont customers are loyal. Appreciative. Many are willing to spend more money or travel farther — or both — to support a local business they have come to rely upon. Their love and support helped ease the economic devastation of the last two years on Vermont's restaurants, cultural organizations and retail stores.
While the pandemic revealed many things here to be more fragile than we imagined, it also confirmed that Vermonters are resilient, creative and caring.
In recognition of that enduring, entrepreneurial spirit, Seven Days is bringing back our beloved "best-of" competition, the Daysies, to celebrate the state's superlatives. After a two-year hiatus, it feels like the right time to revive the annual tradition, which kicked off on Monday with the first of two rounds of public voting. The nomination round ends on May 29; voting for finalists runs from June 20 to July 3.
Historically, nearly 25,000 readers have been part of selecting the best of everything in Vermont, from murals to mountaintops, barbershops to beer. You can weigh in, too, at sevendaysvt.com/daysies-vote.
After careful tallying and deciphering, our reporters write up the results in a publication, All the Best, that gets inserted in Seven Days on August 3. Two days later, we host a rocking appreciation party at the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain on Burlington's waterfront. For small business owners, artists and journalists, the sunset shindig is a highlight of the year.
I look forward to seeing Vermont's pandemic-proven titans of local culture and enterprise gathered together in real life. I'll be keeping an eye out, too, for the 2022 winner plaques, soon to be hanging in businesses around Vermont. They'll be a different color this year, but the featured flower remains.
The Daysies are a play on our company name, of course, but the horticultural reference is also apt. Our kind of daisy is a humble delight, an oft-overlooked perennial whose yearly return is a sign of summer, new life and survival.