Best of Athens 2017

Here are the 2017 Best of Athens winners in the commerce category.

Best Place to Donate Used Items


Here in Athens County, the people are might generous, and when they seek out places for donating usable and valuable used items, they most often think of Goodwill. At least that’s according to voters in the 2017 Best of Athens “Best Place to Donate Used Items” category. The Goodwill store is still located in the old Athens Mall on East State Street.

Second place repeater from last year is New-to-You Shoppe with close behind, the ReUse Industries store repeating in third place. Both shops are located on Columbus Road in Athens.

Fourth and fifth place, respectively, go to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Athens and the Salvation Army.

Best Place to Buy a Car

Out of Town 

We agree, the Best Place to Buy a Car is Out of Town – meaning out of any town that’s not in Athens County. So don’t buy a car in Columbus; don’t buy a car in Canal Winchester; don’t buy a car in Lancaster; and don’t buy a car in Parkersburg. Buy your car outside of those towns – in other words, inside our town.

We’re sure that’s what most of our readers meant, since they surely wouldn’t suggest making such a large investment in some other community.

Second place in this category is Don Wood Dealerships, with Taylor Motors not far behind in third place. Both are longtime Athens dealerships.

Fourth and fifth go to Mark Porter Autoplex and someplace called “online.”

We are grateful that our readers didn’t choose “off the street.”

Best New Business

Ohio Valley Running Co.

We will forego any of the predictable puns connected to the word and concept of “running” in announcing winner of this year’s Best of Athens Best New Business category. We will run as fast as we can from dumb humor like that; after all we’re not in the running for Best Comedian, and we’ll run out of readers if we take the easy out when it comes to stupid jokes. Oh, crap, we’re running out of space…

Winner of Best New Business is the Ohio Valley Running Company in the Station Plaza off of West Union Street in Athens. The business is billed as “Athens, Ohio’s first and only specialty running store.”

Second place goes to El Camino Mexican Restaurant way out on East State Street, in the building that once held Casa Lopez restaurant.

Third place gets snagged by Franco’s Pizza on South Court Street in Athens, with fourth and fifth going, respectively, to Opa! (a Greek restaurant on South Court) and Silver Serpent Exotic Gifts (on North Court Street where the Dugout bar and Brown’s Restaurant used to operate – we’re going way, way, way back to make those references).

Best Place for Unique Gift Items 

White’s Mill

Creativity in gift-giving is in danger of becoming a lost art. What would Uncle Conrad think if on his birthday this year you gave him some generic gift card instead of that gasoline-powered turtleneck sweater he’s been eye-balling? Or Aunt Jenny? What would she do with a box of chocolates instead of a brand new, fur-lined sink?

While as far as we know White’s Mill doesn’t offer gifts quite as unique as demanded by the tastes of Uncle Conrad and Aunt Jenny, it does come in first place this year for Best Place for Unique Gift Items.

White’s Mill carries local art, Native American jewelry, gardening supplies, animal care products and feed, and so much more. It’s a great place to grab something local and unique to show the people in your life you care.

Coming in second place this year is Import House on Court Street, where gifts can range from an ornamental laughing Buddha, to a nice piece of new glassware, to a fresh set of Converse kicks.

In third place is Mountain Laurel Gifts, offering creations from local artisans, home décor, soaps, lotions, housewares, toys, jewelry, leather, accessories. It has it all.

Honorable mentions go to Artifacts in fourth place and Athens Underground in fifth.

Best Beer and Wine Carryout


No doubt about it, Kroger has a vast selection of beer and wine, so many selections, in fact, that a fellow strolling in to pick up a six-pack might be inclined to just grab a mass-produced standby rather than spend an hour or so contemplating all those great choices in imports and craft brews.

But if you subscribe to the theory that more is always better than less, Kroger is the place to go for your beer and wine (and booze), and is a well-deserved winner in the 2017 Best of Athens’ Best Beer and Wine Carryout category.

Second place goes to Bella Vino on Stimson Avenue, occupying the hallowed spot where the venerable Sutton’s One-Stop (and then just One-Stop) operated for so many years.

Stop-N-Cop on Richland Avenue – an old-school drive-thru across from the OU Inn – takes third place.

Fourth and fifth place, respectively, go to Busy Day Market on Stimson and And Beer on South Court Street.

Best Customer Service Retailer


If you want decent customer service while shopping for groceries, the Athens Kroger store is the place, according to a plurality of our Best of Athens voters. (Though now that we mention it, the voters didn’t say which Kroger, so they might also be referring to Kroger stores in Nelsonville and Trimble.)

Anyway, we can vouch for Kroger. They’re darned friendly, especially in those produce aisles, and the guys behind the fish counter do their best to stock the best white fish in the world, haddock, whenever possible (even though the higher-ups at corporate don’t want them to).

Second place for customer service goes to Friendly Paws Pet Supply and Grooming on East State Street in Athens, with Ohio Valley Running Company taking third place.

Blackburn Home Furnishings and Walmart win fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Best Window Display

Passion Works Studio

In our 2017 Best of Athens Readers’ Choice Award for Best Window Display, Passion Works Studio swoops in from out of nowhere to grab first place. PWS didn’t even place in the top three last year, so they must have upped their game over the past year. Whatever the case, take a walk in that first block of East State Street and check out the Passion Works window.

Second place goes to Blue Eagle Music on North Court Street, one of the longest-standing businesses in the uptown area. Congrats, Frank!

Mountain Laurel Gifts, last year’s winner, grabs third place this year (they were second place two years ago, so they’ve hit for the cycle).

Fourth and fifth place, respectively, go to College Book Store and Artifacts, which has been in the winner’s circle in this category many times.

Best Type of Business Athens Needs


We’ve asked this question before, and usually have gotten the same answer. Our readers really would like to see a Target open someplace in Athens. We agree, what we really need in this town is a store that sells targets – all manner of targets, round ones, square ones, targets in the shape of deer and turkeys, attacking criminals, rogue politicians, clowns, election commentators… Yes, by all means, let’s get somebody to open a store that sells targets.

Ha, ha, we’re not that stupid. We know you all meant the chain of department stores. But after writing enough of these things, a person can get punch-drunk giddy.

Second places goes to Trader Joe’s. Do they still sell “two-buck chuck”?

Otherwise our readers would like to see (in third, fourth and fifth place respectively) an Italian restaurant, “clothing stores” and “department stores.”

Best Local Heating & Cooling Company

Dean Heating & Cooling

Our Manual J protocol software for sizing HVAC systems tells us that beyond a doubt, Dean Heating & Cooling garnered the most votes from Athens NEWS readers participating in the 2107 Best of Athens Readers’ Choice Awards.

Oh, wait a minute, Manual J is used to estimate heating and cooling loads, not winners of Best of Athens. So let’s start over: Congrats to Dean Heating & Cooling!

Second place goes to last year’s winner, Airclaws. This was a close race, with Airclaws only missing a return to first place by six votes.

Third-place winner is David White Services, who definitely have the coolest service trucks.

Fourth and fifth place go to Twin Oaks Refrigeration, Heating & Cooling (near Coolville) and Dowler Heating, Cooling and Refrigeration (near Athens), respectively.

Best Salon


If you want your hair all done up fancy, many of our readers (a plurality) say get your do down to Attractions Hair and Nail Salon in Athens. Our office is across the street in 14 N. Court, and we can attest to seeing some fine hair come out of the Attractions door. Bad hair goes in; great hair comes out.

Second and third place in this hirsute category go to The Infinity Salon (The Market on State) and Raphael’s Aveda Concept Salon (South Court Street, Athens).

Fourth and fifth place go to The Standard Salon on East State Street and Station Street Hair Designs in the Station Plaza, Athens.

Best Place to Find Hard-to-Find Items

Athens Underground

If you can’t find something, run on down to Athens Underground on North Court Street, and according to Best of Athens voters, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for. The vintage clothing and antique store carries a wide variety of merchandise that’s actually pretty easy to find once you’re in the store.

Second and third place in this category go to C&E True Value Hardware and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore on West Union Street.

Walmart and Random House, respectively, take fourth and fifth place.

Best Local Contractor

Mike Myers Construction

If you want your home or business remodeled, many of our readers say you should go straight to Mike Myers Construction in Athens. With more than 30 years of construction experience, MMC has an impressive reputation hereabouts.

This was a highly competitive category, with fewer than 50 votes separating first place from fourth place. Second-place honors go to Scott Brooks of Brooks Builders in Athens, with third place being taken by Ron White Builders of Albany.

Fourth and fifth place go to Johnson Builders and Stalwart Construction, both of Athens, respectively.

Best Local Auto Repair Shop

Alvis Auto Repair

A plurality of our readers once again chose Alvis Auto Repair as the Best Local Auto Repair Shop in this year’s Best of Athens. Alvis, located on Columbus Road, offers reliable and reasonably priced service. You evidently can trust them to do the necessary work, and point out any other work that might need to be done to keep your car or truck operating safely and efficiently.

Second place goes to Muffle Man also on Columbus Road, with third being grabbed by Huddle Tire on Richland Avenue.

Fourth and fifth place go to Curtis Towing & Auto Service and Sundown Garage, respectively.

Best Veterinary Clinic

The Plains Veterinary Clinic

In this ultra-competitive category this year, The Plains Veterinary Clinic, on 71 S. Plains Road, edges out other strong candidates to win Best Veterinary Clinic.

Coming in a close second is The Plains Veterinary Clinic’s sister outfit, Kroner Animal Care Center, on Ervin Road southwest of Athens. Dr. Rick Kroner owns both vet businesses.

Allen Pet Clinic, also located in The Plains, takes third place, only three votes behind Kroner Animal Care Center.

Fourth and fifth place, respectively, go to Ohio Valley Animal Clinic (with facilities in Athens, Pomeroy and Wellston) and Milliron Clinic, which for years operated out Ohio Rt. 550 but now operates on Pomeroy Road in Athens as the Athens Veterinary Clinic.

Best Professional Service Provider

Career Connections

Locally owned and operated businesses are integral to the long-term health of our community. That’s why our Best Professional Services Provider category is important.

This year, Career Connections at 280 E. State St. (Suite A) takes home top honors in this category. Career Connections has been connecting local employers with new employees, and helped local job seekers get employment, for over 25 years.

Second place this year goes to Dr. Jason Reed, D.O., an orthopedic surgeon with a practice located at 20 University Estates Boulevard in Athens. Third place goes to heating and cooling services company Airclaws, located at 24 State St. in Amesville. Fourth and fifth place go to local physicians Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Lionberger, D.O., of Holzer Athens, and Dr. Eduardo Robles, a family practice physician in The Plains.

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