Blown away, that was the reaction from Langley Advance Times publisher Lisa Farquharson when she learned a record number – in excess of 37,500 – votes were cast by in the 2021 Reader’s Choice Awards.
“The response was the highest it’s ever been,” said Farquharson, who referred to them as “crazy numbers” of people voting for favourite businesses.
“This year, like every year, our readers are extremely engaged with the Readers’ Choice contest. But, we feel this year, even more so, given what the businesses have gone through,” she suggested.
“This enabled readers to really show their support for the businesses that they love, in hopes that those businesses will continue on past COVID,” Farquharson added.
Among those who voted for her favourite local businesses was Belinda Jaster.
She doesn’t win contests.
“Never,” she insisted.
“A free win on 6/49 maybe, if I buy a ticket,” is how the Langley City resident summed it up on Wednesday, Aug. 11, when she dropped by the Advance Times to collect her prize. In a random draw, she won a $250 Save-On-Foods gift card for submitting her selections in the Readers’ Choice Awards.
Her list of favourites included Venetis Restaurant, Milica Salon, NoFrills, HomeSense and the Chipotle Mexican Grill.
“I didn’t even realize there was a prize attached to it,” Jaster laughed.
She just wanted to show her support for the local shops and eateries. So, she laughed, when she got the call that she had won the draw, “I asked if it was for real.”
Jaster wasn’t sure what she will do with her windfall, but with a son about to enter his last year in high school, and a daughter about to start, she suspected some of it will go for school supplies.
She had submitted nominations to Readers’ Choice “several years ago” without winning.
Now that Jaster has won, she’s going to try her luck again.
“And, I’m going to buy a lottery ticket.”
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