“It’s one thing to win an industry award,” says Linda Champion whose salon Golden Shears Hair, Nails & More was NAILS’ Salon of the Year last year, “but winning a local business honor really brings in the customers.” The Runnemede, N.J., salon was recently dubbed “the best place for a manicure and ladies haircut” by the local Courier-Post for the second year in a row. Winning has meant a crop of new clients visiting the salon. In addition, the newspaper held a huge party to introduce the winning businesses to the community. “Over 1,500 people showed up. What exposure!” says Champion. At the event, Golden Shears gave each passer-by a packet that included a salon menu, a guide to a successful set of nails, a handout on MMA, a flier for its March of Dimes “Salon-a-thon,” and a custom-printed nail file.

Michael Orlando’s Nailtique Day Spa experienced a similar boost to his business when it was selected “Best in Martin County” by a regional Florida paper. “We quickly took out ads in the newspaper and passed around fliers touting our achievement,” says Orlando. “Lots of people stopped for a quick look, and if they liked what they saw, they came back.” Neither Orlando nor Champion was shy about enlisting their clients’ support to win the local popularity contests — both reminded clients to fill out their ballots. “I even gave them a pen,” says Orlando.

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