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April 19. 2014 7:57PM

Nominate favorite businesses for 2014 Readers' Choice Awards

Got a favorite fitness studio, shooting range or hospital? How about that auto repair shop you recommend to all your friends, or that place that cooks up chicken tenders just the way you like them? If so, here's your chance to let them - and the rest of New Hampshire - know how special they are.

Today marks the start of the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News' 2014 Readers' Choice Awards. A ballot featuring dozens of categories of New Hampshire businesses and service providers can be found at www.unionleader.com/choice.

Voting opens today and runs through midnight on Sunday, May 18. The results are expected to be announced June 29.

"This is a chance for our readers to let businesses know how special they are to them," said Nick Bolitho, chief revenue officer for New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. "If you always go to this one place because they make your favorite meal just right, nominate them."

This is the second year the state's largest newspaper has run a Readers' Choice Awards contest.

"Last year was such a success," said Bolitho. "We received over 1,700 ballots from readers, and the winners really appreciated the recognition. There's a Subway restaurant I go to, and there's a picture of me presenting them with an honorable mention award from last year hanging on the wall. It means a lot to them when customers are saying how well they do their job by voting for them."

On this year's ballot, also available online at www.unionleader.com/choice, voters will find 18 main categories and 180 subcategories of businesses. Categories cover a wide range of services, from quick-serve restaurants to specialty foods, shopping to sports and recreation, beauty and weddings to hot spots for nightlife.

Readers may vote for any business in New Hampshire in as many categories as they wish, but are asked to vote in at least 12 categories per ballot. Only businesses located in New Hampshire are eligible, and participants must include their name and email address or phone number for their votes to count.

Once a ballot is filled out, drop off or mail the original entry form (no photocopies please) to: New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News, 100 William Loeb Drive, Manchester 03109, Attn: Readers' Choice.

"Once the results are announced, I hope people hold on to them as a sort of reference guide," said Bolitho. "These are chosen by consumers telling us who they like, not us telling you who you should like. That's what makes this contest different."



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