Why we're the BEST


BEST winners for 2019 were invited to tell us why they think they won their award. 

Eric Goldstein of G5 Insurance says they’re the BEST Insurance Agency because, “At G5 Insurance we listen to our customers and their insurance needs are always our first priority!”

Gladys Jamieson says Jamieson Greenhouse is the BEST greenhouse because, “We only plant varieties that respond well in this area are grown in our greenhouses. Customers are our number one concern with attention to help with any of their problems in gardening.

Gina Zacarri says it’s, “Best food, best service, best atmosphere, best hospitality in the Catskills,” that makes Catskill Mountains Resort the BEST Resort.

Travis Rivera says Black & Brass has the BEST coffee because of, “Our mission: cultivate joy and create value for our communities.”

The Honesdale Area Jaycees “love sponsoring the BEST annual Halloween Parade and look forward to many parades to come!  We thank the community for their continued support.”

Catskill Dermatology provides the very BEST of care for Dermatology, Dermatologic Surgery and Dermatologic Cosmetic Surgery.

Catskill Dermatology Laser & Aesthetics have the BEST state of the art Medical & Cosmetic Dermatology including Mohs Surgery, Fillers Botox and lasers.  “We can treat any of your skin hair and nail needs.”

Camp Umpys Bagels & Stuff have more than just BEST bagels. “We have always tried our BEST to offer consistently delicious food and a little bit of fun! Thank you for being Happy Campers.”

Jill Barnes of Cabins & Canoes, the BEST Real Estate agent, says, “Attention to detail, going the extra mile and I enjoying working with and meeting people and pairing them with the perfect people. I love turning clients into friends.”

St. Paul's Lutheran Church’s BEST clergy, Pastor Phyllis Haynes says, “Thanks to the people of St. Paul's and Narrowsburg.”

2 Queens, the BEST New Business of the Year, says, “Thanks to our customers! We live sharing our passion for coffee, tea and bees with them.”

The Honesdale Loft is the BEST hotel “because we offer a clean and welcoming, home away from home for guests who are visiting the area.”

Brian Woods of Beach Lake Bakery is the BEST baker due to his attention to detail.

Gravity Indoor Market Place is the BEST Flea Market. “Since 2002, we have provided quality product, friendly service, cleanliness, and exceptional value to our community.”

CD Trips, BEST day trip winner, says, “Our mission is to be your common denominator for organized, hassle free and fun trips that give back to the community. In that spirit, we have been in business for over six years. During that time we have done over 250 trips, helping to raise over $130,000 for over 100 local organizations. Simply the BEST.”

The Antique Emporium Plus, BEST Specialty Store, thinks “our customers” are the BEST.

North Branch Self Storage, the BEST Storage Center says, “Brand new immaculate units, grounds kept neat and clean, reasonable prices. We are conveniently located in Sullivan County. All roads lead to us!”

The Ruff Cut says, “We are known for our Roast beef sandwiches. And we won the vote for The BEST Friendliest Servers. Thank you very much for all who voted. We appreciate it very much.”

The Law Offices of Peter H. Jagel, P.C. won BEST law firm and BEST lawyer. This is due to “over thirty years of experience and attentiveness for the needs of my clients.”

BEST home cooking at Tre Amici Ristorante. “What sets Tre Amici apart is we only use the freshest and finest ingredients. All our dishes are cooked fresh to order with extra love, as they say in Italy.”

Eyes on Main St. Optometry is the BEST Eye Care Center. “A hometown eye doctor with a personal touch, advanced ocular technology, friendly staff and the latest in fashion eye wear for all our patients.”

BEST Bed and Breakfast winner Jeanne Tulp of Lazy Pond Bed and Breakfast, says,” I am so honored to be noticed, when doing my normal daily routine of an innkeeper. What makes Lazy Pond, BEST, is definitely our wonderful guests and our staff, together no detail left unattended. We are hospitality first.”

Susan Bodenstein, owner of The Secret Garden, Best Gift Shop, says, “Our customers make us the BEST. They shop local, patronizing our shop, helping us to stay here! We try to offer a variety of items at affordable prices. Hopefully this helps them to be able to enjoy a great, relaxing shopping experience!”

D & R Auto Repair’s BEST Auto Mechanics Don Worzel & Ron Lauer, have a combined 90+ years of mechanical experience. They stand behind & take pride in their work and are devoted to their customers.

BEST Canoe Livery winner, Reber River Trips, has a knowledgable, friendly staff and well maintained equipment. Safety first.

Fun With No Sun won BEST Spa/Personal Pampering. Fun With No Sun offers high quality spray tans at an affordable rate which allows everyone to pamper themselves and get that "just stepped off the beach" in one session without UV rays.

BEST Book Store’s Aaron Hicklin says, “At One Grand Books we focus on creating a space for discovery with our unique curation of "desert island books," each recommended by notable cultural figures.”

Greg Lofaro, of Catskill Brewery, voted BEST Locally Produced Beer/Spirits, says, “We make award winning ales and lagers in a Gold LEED certified building powered by energy from the sun and earth. We recycle, reuse and repurpose anything we can. It is our mission to make great beer while protecting our home in the Catskill Mountains.”

BEST Wedding Cake winner, Lynne Mazzga , says Sweet Sensation Cakes is BEST because it is her “desire to understand the clients vision by listening to them and then creating that vision by using high quality ingredients, award winning recipes and techniques.”

BEST Mortgage Company, Jeff Bank, “takes pride in not only making mortgage decisions locally, but also servicing our mortgages in-house so that our customers can contact us directly for assistance.”

Jeff Bank was also voted BEST Friendly Staff. Jaclene Poley says Jeff Bank “takes pride in providing the BEST customer service possible to all of its customers by going above and beyond to help with our customers with all their banking needs.”

Casey at Delaware Valley Oil, BEST Heating Fuel Company winner, says, “We have the BEST customer service you could ask for. We are as fair as they come from price to taking care of our customers!”

Kirstin of Esselman Sewer & Drain Service says, “Thank you to everyone that voted us BEST Septic Company of 2019!”

Cover Your World Flooring Inc.’s Jessica Patten on winning BEST Flooring/Carpet Store, “What makes us the BEST is our service, quality of product and employees!!!”

BEST Outdoor Recreational Vehicles winner, Klinger Power Sports’ Kathy Shelton tells why they are the BEST. “We are a family owned business.  We've been around since 1989.  We carry Kawasaki Bikes, ATV's, Mule Utility Vehicles & Teryx side-by-sides;  Can Am Spyder & Ryker; ATVs & Defender, Commander & Maverick side-by-sides; Ski Doo Snowmobiles;  Kymco ATVs & Utility vehicles; CF Moto ATV's & Utility Vehicles.  Also a wide range of used vehicles.  We service & inspect all makes and models.”

BEST Amusement/Fun Park’s Talya Regan says, “The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark is like nothing New York’s Catskills has ever seen before. With the USA’s most modern, state of the art, indoor waterpark, 324 exquisitely designed suites and a fantastic brand-new luxury lodge experience set right in the mountains, the Kartrite Resort delivers an unbelievable family adventure for all ages.”

BEST Bank and BEST Bank Teller, Samantha Locklin of Wayne Bank “has been helping the community grow since 1871 and has 27 Community Offices serving Wayne, Pike, Monroe, Lackawanna, and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania, along with Delaware and Sullivan Counties in New York State.  Employing more than 200 local people, Wayne Bank offers a full line of products and services to meet the financial needs of consumers and businesses.  As a community bank, Wayne Bank is an integral part of both the local community and economy.  Each year, the Bank contributes to hundreds of organizations throughout Pennsylvania and New York and Bank employees are passionate about helping their communities through event participation and service to local charities.  By supporting residents, businesses, schools, and charitable organizations, Wayne Bank is dedicated to reinvesting in the community and encouraging economic growth.”

Sylvia Berger of BEST Pool Builder/Contractor winner, Clear-Rite Pools & Spas, Inc.,  touts the “over 30 years of commitment to servicing Sullivan and surrounding counties for all its swimming pool and spa needs.”

BEST Place to Bring Out-of-Towners is the Bang Bang Bar at Stickett Inn. Johnny Pizzolato, explains, “We welcome any and all guests to our inn and bar for a genuine experience with all the comforts of an urban enclave in the woods. Enjoy our signature Stickett Inn Cider and other NY State libations.”

Samara Ferris of Bashakill Vineyards on their BEST Winery/Vineyard win. “As Sullivan County's FIRST farm winery, we make ALL of our wines by hand. We focus on growing organically and sustainability, protecting the Bashakill Wetlands, which offers our grapes a unique microclimate in the foothills of the Catskills. We have live music, craft-made food, cocktails, our wines, and local beers! Come on by weekends 12-6, April-December!”

Senator Jen Metzger, BEST Politician, says, “I am so grateful for this award. I think it's because I love meeting people, and I genuinely want to make everyone's lives a little better.”

Ski Big Bear is the BEST Ski Lodge winner. Lori Phillips explains why, “Ski Big Bear is proud to be honored as the BEST ski lodge.  We will continue to make sure all of our guests receive personalized attention at a ski area that focuses on providing fun winter memories for guests of all ages.”

Jenna Motichka from A Picker's Find tells why it won the BEST Antique Store. “It's like a museum where you can actually buy the unique pieces on display. Come for the inspiration, leave with something useful.”

BEST Clothing Boutique winner, Funky Hippy Chic Boutique’s Patti Greco Sunshine says, “I have always believed we were the most unique and grooviest boutique in the area, but now the people voted! Wow! We tried to create a boutique that catered to the person who enjoys being unique, colorful and comfortable, all with an ethnic worldly flair. We have something for your home, your body, and your spirit with the boutique set on our beautiful tranquil country property.”

BEST Atmosphere at the Callicoon Brewing Company at the Olympia Hotel. Patti Moorhead tells it is because it has “comfortable seating, nice lighting and friendly staff.”

Rich Watt of Barrio Kitchen explains they have the BEST Burrito because “all of our food and drinks are made fresh with quality ingredients.”

Hilly Acres Farm is the BEST Farm. Andy and Tanya Hahn say, “As a small family farm, farming on property that has been in our family for many generations, we take pride in preserving and caring for land that takes care of us.  The livestock that we raise are cared for with equal compassion.  Keeping them healthy and comfortable is paramount.  Ultimately, what we bring to our customers is wholesome and delicious.”

Back To Bakers won BEST Place to Have Cocktail and BEST Bartender, Kimberly Fay. According to Kerri Mellon, it is because “we keep freshness, quality, and customer service our main focus.”

Dave Lounsbury of EnergyStarDave LLC, BEST HVAC winner, credits “energy-saving technology and great customer service” as the reasons for this award.

BEST Real Estate Office is Cabins & Canoes Real Estate. Debbie Jagel states, “We are an energized, smiling team ready to help you find your perfect home in the Catskills. We listen to make your dreams reality. We advise, guide and help you through each step of the process. Whether you want to build, buy, or renovate, we are here for you!”

Forestburgh General Store is the BEST General Store! Tyler Jagel tells, “We love serving cookies, coffees, and sandwiches to our fellow Forestburghers!”

Beat the Devil voted BEST Musician/Band. Doug Rogers says “We're the BEST because of our fans who gave us this honor.”

Wynsum Equestrian Center has the BEST Horseback Riding. Elizabeth explains, “Our passion for horses and people. We love what we do and this area. We are so thankful for everyone that voted for us!”

BEST Law Enforcement Officer, Troy Parucki, is a 24 year veteran protecting Sullivan County residents.

Garrett Craven of Pocono Tattoo Studio North won BEST Artist and BEST Tattoo Parlor. “We're the BEST because of our customer service and commitment to excellence.”

Tavern on Main is a dual winner for BEST Family Restaurant and BEST Happy Hour. Lauren Seikaly says, ”Our customers describe us BEST: Charming, fun place! Ambiance is eclectic, the place is surprisingly large yet inviting & comfy. Service was friendly & attentive, & the menu is scrumptious. Lovely outdoor seating area in good weather. Great spot to bring the family, catch up with friends, or linger with that special someone.”

BEST Knit Shop goes to Wool Worth. Leila McCullough says that they are the BEST because of, “Great selection of yarns, both local and from abroad, classes for every skill level, and knowledgeable staff.”

Nonneta and Friends Creative wins BEST Pottery Studio. According to Nonna Hall, “I care about the creative part of our community and welcome everybody, who appreciate art of ceramics and art in general. And those who just want to explore and play with clay are also welcomed.”

BEST Photographer Charlie Hoffman, of Charlie Hoffman Photography, states, “I take pictures from above & beyond. As an international award winning photographer, a certified FAA pilot and contributor to CBS News in NYC; our mission focuses on image excellence and incredible customer service. We go above and beyond for our clients to make sure their time is valued, deadlines are met and the highest quality product is delivered. We offer a variety of commercial photography services: Real Estate, Drone, Portrait, Adventure Vacation and more. In today’s commercial markets, photos are key to making that initial impact with potential buyers. Additionally, our catalog of images are available for purchase by media publishers, advertisers and individuals. We serve clients in the greater New York Area and beyond.”

BEST Kitchen & Bath Store goes to Designer Kitchens. Ilene, John & Regina say, “We are the premier kitchen and bath showroom in the area. With over 40 Years combined experience our designers are here to guide you thru the journey to the completion of your project. Stop by the showroom and see all of our displays and samples.”

BEST Yoga Teacher, Shain Fishman, and BEST Dance Studio, Highland Yoga & Dance express their “commitment to providing yoga class participants with a friendly and safe place in which we can practice together with focus and a bit of humor.”

BEST Pet Boarding winner is Mary's Pet Shuttle & Services. Mary Stegmann explains, “We are a multi-service business and currently into our third year. Every pet, while in our care, are treated as if they are our own. We offer pet sitting for cats and dogs & dog walking while our customers are away as well as a shuttle to the vet or groomer.  We incorporated cage-free family style boarding in December, 2018.   The feedback from that has been very positive! Our customer's dogs have free realm of our home, furniture, choice of floor beds/cushions/blankets or our bed if they so choose! We have a professionally fenced outdoor play area and walking trails. Our motto speaks for itself both literally and from the heart, "We'll be there when you can't be!"

BEST Hair Salon goes to Tresses Hair Salon. Laura Seidl says, “I absolutely love my job! I am able to share my love of what I do with so many people. My clients have afforded me the pleasure of a familial atmosphere that makes “work” enjoyable and fun!”

Jill McConnell, of BEST Consignment Shop winner, Finders Keepers Consignment Boutique, tells why they are the BEST! “We really pay attention to detail and hospitality - plus carry a wide selection of name brand women's apparel and new gift items.”

Peter’s Europa House is a dual winner for BEST Restaurant in Pike County and BEST Gourmet Restaurant, Peter Jajcay explains, “I take great pride in bringing together people far and wide and connecting through a wonderful dining experience accompanied by warm and attentive service. I genuinely love interacting with my guests and being an active member of the community.”

Melanie Jay tells why the Learning & Growing Child Care Center is the BEST Pre-School and BEST Day Care Center. “We have high quality education for all of our students from infants to school age!! Our preschool program gets the children ready for kindergarten.”

B & B Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram won for BEST Auto Dealer. Cory Hemkes says, “For 50 years B & B Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram has been serving the tri-state area with fair and honest pricing and one on one customer service.”

The BEST Custom Cabinetry winner is Lakeland Stair & Millwork. Harry DeVrieze tells us,“Serving the Delaware valley region, our reputation for craftsmanship and value have sustained us for ... now in our 37year!”

BEST Landscaper goes to Thiele Landscaping and Excavating. Ron Thiele explains, “We are a family owned business and several of our children are following in our footsteps. No matter the job you will have a member of our family on it making you feel like family. We always show up when we say we will and always do the job we told our customer that we would. Full time and fully insured. See how affordable a professional can be.”

The BEST Romantic Restaurant is The Settlers Inn. Sarah O'Fee describes, “Our historic arts and crafts inn lends itself to be the perfect backdrop for any romantic night whether dinner or a getaway.”

The BEST Craft Beer Selection winner is Here & Now Brewing Company. Allaina Propst points out, “Our farmers, producers, staff and customers” are what makes them the BEST.

BEST New Restaurant and BEST Ribs dual winner is Lorenzo’s Bistro. David Lorenzo says, “The love and quality of our food and customer appreciation” go into making them the BEST.

Bethel Motor Speedway is the BEST Special Area Attraction. George Van Arsdall points to “Affordable entertainment in a family atmosphere. Thank you to all of our fans and supporters! We wouldn't be here without you!”

BEST Vintage Shop winner is Madame Fortuna. Allison Ward acknowledges “Your commitment to community!”

Stephens Pharmacy & Northeast Med-Equip wins BEST Medical Equipment. Heidi Blade tells us “The support and loyalty of our customers and our caring staff - all of whom live and work in the community we serve - selecting independent and local businesses like ours as their first choice!  We couldn't be the BEST without you!”

BEST Fried Chicken at The Raleigh. Tim Raleigh cites, “Flavor and preparation.”

Paul Martin of Starlight Painting is our BEST Painter. He says it was due to “Customer service.”

BEST Locally Made Products are at Jeff Junction. Sue Flynn credits, “Local artists, designers and locally sourced products and food.”

Rafter's Tavern wins BEST Live Music Venue and BEST Place to Have First Date. Molly Denver says, “The community makes us the BEST! We wanted to create a warm, welcoming and creative space for the community and they responded with overwhelming support. We are very grateful to everyone. Thank you for spending time with us! Here's to many more years and many more memories!”

The BEST Pet Trainer goes to Happy Paws School for Dogs. Nina Sorochynskyj tells us, “We tailor our services to the individual needs of every client.”

Ronda Ottino of S&R Accounting tells why they won BEST Tax Preparation. “Experienced, locally women owned and operated & service with a smile :)”

BEST Real Estate Website winner is Century 21 - Geba Realty. Donna Geba describes “Excellent service - quality assurance” as reasons for this choice.

Crystal Run Healthcare won two categories: BEST Place to Work and BEST Emergency Services/Urgent Care. Lynn Haskin says, “Crystal Run Healthcare is a progressive, multi specialty medical practice with over 2700 employees, including 400+ providers across Orange, Sullivan and Rockland counties. With more than 50 medical and surgical specialties, state-of-the-art facilities and advanced technology, we are the highest quality, excellence driven, patient-centered practice in the Hudson Valley and Lower Catskill region.”

BEST Locally Produced Cheese award goes to the Tonjes Dairy Farm. Mary Tonjes describes her “small family farm committed to providing fresh, clean, healthy food! We provide an opportunity for people to get fresh dairy products from one of the many farms you see, keeping the land open & unspoiled.”

BEST Sullivan Renaissance Project went to the Greater Barryville Chamber of Commerce. Dorene Warner explains, “Our project team was made up of a terrifically talented people: Sign designer Dorene Warner, W Design | Sign-maker: Nicole Camacho, Finehand Signs | Garden Design: Roswell Hamrick, Stickett Inn | Garden installation and maintenance: a wonderful group of volunteers.”

BEST Pediatrician, Stuart Tashman, MD, FAAP, describes “My mission is to deliver the BEST and most comprehensive medical care to your child.  From newborn to age 21, my staff and I strive to assist you in raising happy and healthy children.  I am most proud of our unwavering commitment to providing quality healthcare for our area's children, and being available to families at all times.  My staff and I like to keep an open communication line with parents.  Raising kids truly takes a village, and I am honored to be a part of that village with my patients and families!”

BEST Home Renovation belongs to DJ’s Wood Home Improvement. Joe Plocharczyk credits “Our customers.”

The Bodhi Tree Art School and Studio was voted the BEST Art Gallery. Heather Hogan-Spencer & James Spencer  believe “Our gallery is the BEST because of the local artists who dress our walls with their creativity, and the local volunteers at the Wayne County Arts Alliance who help these art shows happen for our community! (Thanks guys!) Because of them, we can build these works into the curriculum of our art classes, showing our students what living artists are creating in real time, right in our community.”

Sullivan County BOCES was both the BEST Career Training Facility and the BEST Vocational Technical School. Donna Hemmer say, “Sullivan BOCES provides students with the opportunity to learn job skills through instruction and hands-on experience. BOCES continually collaborates with industry partners to ensure our students learn the essentials for a specific career or trade while meeting industry and learning standards.”

BEST RV Sales/Service  winner is C. Neer RV Inc. Audrey Neer credits “award winning dealer and products.”


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment