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Winners: Best of Howard County 2016

Best of Howard 2016
(Graphic by Mike Myers)

The Howard County community is nothing if not engaged. When it came time to cast their ballots in the 2016 Best of Howard readers' poll, more than 15,000 voters chimed in.

Voting opened just days after a historic flood wiped out many of the businesses on Ellicott City’s Main Street, but that didn’t stop voters from supporting them. Several grace this list of winners and honorable mentions.
They’re in good company. Spanning 74 categories, the Best of Howard represent readers’ go-to resources for everything from haircuts to home decorating. And it’s one popular popularity contest.

Editor's note: Winners and honorable mentions were determined by popular vote. Readers were invited to vote online in August. Find the official rules here.

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Out & About

Best Annual Festival/Event
Howard County Fair

Honorable mentions:
Wine in the Woods
Columbia Festival of the Arts
Turf Valley Hot Air Balloons Festival

Best Art Gallery
HorseSpirit Arts Gallery

Honorable mentions:
Pistachio Gallery
Still Life Gallery
Howard County Center for the Arts

Best Kids’ Activity
Clark’s Elioak Farm

Honorable mentions:
Sky Zone Columbia
SplashDown
Columbia SportsPark

Best Park
Centennial Park

Honorable mentions:
Rockburn Branch Park
Savage Park
Cedar Lane Park

Best Performing Arts Group
Columbia Orchestra

Twenty years ago, the Columbia Orchestra used to hope for a couple hundred people at its concerts with 40 strings performing. These days, it has 40 violinists alone and often sells out the 747-seat Rouse Theatre. “It’s quite amazing how it’s evolved for a community orchestra,” says Jason Love, the orchestra’s music director for the past 18 years. “I think there are a lot of people in our audiences who don’t realize this is not a professional orchestra. The orchestra’s ability to combine attributes of a community group and a big-city, professional orchestra is “not exactly unique, but it’s close,” he says. The Columbia Orchestra was formed in 1977 when a handful of local string players began playing classical music as the Columbia Chamber Orchestra. Over the years, wind instruments and percussion were added, and a regular season of concerts was scheduled as conductors came and went. But the orchestra remained an all-volunteer group, attracting mostly Howard County residents with a lifelong love of — and talent for — music. “Most have been playing since they were kids,” Love says. “Some could’ve been professional musicians.” Today, the orchestra performs about 10 programs a year, with performances ranging from classical to pop to shows for children. “We have such a fantastic energy,” he says. “Our musicians are very talented, but a lot are playing this music [in public] for the first time, and the enthusiasm they bring is infectious — it creates a nice climate for the audience.” Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City410-465-8777<a href="http://columbiaorchestra.org/" target="_blank">columbiaorchestra.org</a>
Twenty years ago, the Columbia Orchestra used to hope for a couple hundred people at its concerts with 40 strings performing. These days, it has 40 violinists alone and often sells out the 747-seat Rouse Theatre. “It’s quite amazing how it’s evolved for a community orchestra,” says Jason Love, the orchestra’s music director for the past 18 years. “I think there are a lot of people in our audiences who don’t realize this is not a professional orchestra. The orchestra’s ability to combine attributes of a community group and a big-city, professional orchestra is “not exactly unique, but it’s close,” he says. The Columbia Orchestra was formed in 1977 when a handful of local string players began playing classical music as the Columbia Chamber Orchestra. Over the years, wind instruments and percussion were added, and a regular season of concerts was scheduled as conductors came and went. But the orchestra remained an all-volunteer group, attracting mostly Howard County residents with a lifelong love of — and talent for — music. “Most have been playing since they were kids,” Love says. “Some could’ve been professional musicians.” Today, the orchestra performs about 10 programs a year, with performances ranging from classical to pop to shows for children. “We have such a fantastic energy,” he says. “Our musicians are very talented, but a lot are playing this music [in public] for the first time, and the enthusiasm they bring is infectious — it creates a nice climate for the audience.” Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City410-465-8777columbiaorchestra.org (James Ferry 2015 /)

Honorable mentions:
Toby’s Dinner Theatre
Columbia Pro Cantare
Rep Stage

Best Special Event Venue
Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center

Honorable mentions:
The Great Room at Savage Mill
Howard County Conservancy
Waverly Mansion

Best Volunteer Organization
Howard County Fire and Rescue

Honorable mentions:
Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center
The Arc of Howard County
Neighbor Ride

Shopping

Best Antique Shop
The Antique Center at Historic Savage Mill

Honorable mentions:
The Pink Cabbage
A Journey from Junk
Antique Depot

Best Bookstore
Barnes & Nobles

Honorable mentions:
Daedalus Books
Second Edition
Books-a-Million

Best Bike Shop
Race Pace Bicycles

Honorable mentions:
Princeton Sports
Performance Bicycle
The Cycle Mill

Best Bridal Shop
The Bridal Boutique/Columbia Bridal

Honorable mentions:
Curvaceous Couture
Venus Bridal
Cherie Amour

Best Car Dealership
O’Donnell Honda

Honorable mentions:
Apple Ford Lincoln
Antwerpen Scion, Toyota and Nissan
Jim Coleman Honda

Best Consignment/Resale Shop
2nd Avenue

Honorable mentions:
Charity’s Closet
Greenberries
McAdoodle

Best Clothing Boutique
Sweet Elizabeth Jane

Honorable mentions:
Serendipity
Kokopelli
Kelsey’s Kloset

Best Furniture Store
Oak Tree Furniture

Honorable mentions:
Su Casa
Havertys
Indoor Furniture

Best Jeweler
Smyth

Honorable mentions:
Sergio’s Jewelers
Edward Arthur Jewelers
Fulton Station Jewelers

Best Pet Supplies Store
PetSmart

Honorable mentions:
Bark!
My Pet Store and More
Dogs & Co

Food & Drink

Best Beer, Wine and/or Liquor Store
The Perfect Pour

Honorable mentions:
Pine Orchard Liquor
The Wine Bin
Jason’s Wine & Spirits

Best Caterer
Putting on the Ritz

Honorable mentions:
Kloby’s Smokehouse
Smokin’ Hot Bar & Grille
Absolutely Perfect Catering

Best Farmers’ Market
Howard County Farmers’ Market (Ellicott City)

Honorable mentions:
Frank’s Produce and Greenhouse
Ellicott City Old Town Market
Gorman Farm

Best Health Food/Supplement Store
Trader Joe’s

Honorable mentions:
David’s Natural Market
Wegmans
Roots Market

Best Place to Buy Seafood
Wegmans

Honorable mentions:
Today’s Catch
Sea King
Whole Foods

Health & Wellness

Best Alternative Wellness Services
The Still Point

Honorable mentions:
Maryland University of Integrative Health
Awaken Wellness
Quiet Time Hypnosis

Best Audiologist/Hearing Repair
Kaplan Hearing Center

Honorable mentions:
ENTAA Care
Costco Hearing Aid Center
Alicia Spoor Designer Audiology

Best Chiropractor
Howard County Chiropractic Spine & Sports Rehabilitation

Honorable mentions:
Morrison Chiropractic
Dabbs Rehab Center of Maryland
Chesapeake Family Wellness Center

Best Day Spa
The Pearl Modern Spa & Boutique

Honorable mentions:
Lynn’s Day Spa
The Spa at Turf Valley
Skin Therapy Center

Best Dental Practice
Columbia Smiles Family Dentistry

Honorable mentions:
Roschella & Zinger Dental Group
Dobbin Dental
Menton Family Dental Care

Best Eye Care
Wilmer Eye Institute at Columbia

Honorable mentions:
Physician’s Eye Care and Laser Center
Columbia Eye Associates
Columbia Family Eye Care

Best Medi-spa
All Care

Honorable mentions:
Oasis Day Spa
Pura Vida Medical Spa
Between the Lines Medispa

Best OB/GYN
Capital Women’s Care

Honorable mentions:
Signature OB-GYN
The Women’s Group
Johns Hopkins Community Physicians

Best Orthodontist
OX Orthodontix

At OX Orthodontix, they believe in being “high tech and high touch,” as owner Dr. Sandra Selnick puts it. “We embrace technology and we embrace our patients,” says Selnick, one of the practice’s orthodontists. “Whether patients choose braces or Invisalign, we hear you and want to meet your needs. “ Invisalign is a relatively new treatment that has helped fuel OX’s success. Rather than braces, patients are fitted with clear, removable trays (or aligners) to straighten their teeth. OX Orthodontix was one of the original providers when the technique was first developed in the 1990s, and while it is fairly common now, the business had to educate people on its use, according to OX’s marketing director, and Dr. Selnick’s sister-in-law, Susan Selnick. The practice remains a leader in the field, she said, and OX’s founder, Dr. Wayne Hickory, still lectures internationally on the subject. Hickory started the practice in his Ellicott City home in 1987. It now includes three offices, in Clarksville, Ellicott City and Sparks. As for the “high touch” component of OX Orthodontix’s secret of success (the “OX” in the name signifies a hug and a kiss), that’s a heavy emphasis on community involvement. In the past year, for example, representatives from OX have participated in events for the Atholton High Boosters, Howard County Food Bank, Ulman Cancer Fund and many more. “Every patient’s request, every school request, we try to accommodate everybody,” Susan Selnick says. “We’re out there in every way we can. … We strive to make a difference in our community.” 5082 Dorsey Hall Drive, Suite 202, Ellicott City 410-740-0002 5820 Clarksville Square Drive, Suite 2014, Clarksville 410-531-1310<a href="http://www.oxorthodontix.com/" target="_blank">oxorthodontix.com</a> (By Pete Pichaske | For Howard Magazine) (Pictured: Dr. Sandra Selnick)
At OX Orthodontix, they believe in being “high tech and high touch,” as owner Dr. Sandra Selnick puts it. “We embrace technology and we embrace our patients,” says Selnick, one of the practice’s orthodontists. “Whether patients choose braces or Invisalign, we hear you and want to meet your needs. “ Invisalign is a relatively new treatment that has helped fuel OX’s success. Rather than braces, patients are fitted with clear, removable trays (or aligners) to straighten their teeth. OX Orthodontix was one of the original providers when the technique was first developed in the 1990s, and while it is fairly common now, the business had to educate people on its use, according to OX’s marketing director, and Dr. Selnick’s sister-in-law, Susan Selnick. The practice remains a leader in the field, she said, and OX’s founder, Dr. Wayne Hickory, still lectures internationally on the subject. Hickory started the practice in his Ellicott City home in 1987. It now includes three offices, in Clarksville, Ellicott City and Sparks. As for the “high touch” component of OX Orthodontix’s secret of success (the “OX” in the name signifies a hug and a kiss), that’s a heavy emphasis on community involvement. In the past year, for example, representatives from OX have participated in events for the Atholton High Boosters, Howard County Food Bank, Ulman Cancer Fund and many more. “Every patient’s request, every school request, we try to accommodate everybody,” Susan Selnick says. “We’re out there in every way we can. … We strive to make a difference in our community.” 5082 Dorsey Hall Drive, Suite 202, Ellicott City 410-740-0002 5820 Clarksville Square Drive, Suite 2014, Clarksville 410-531-1310oxorthodontix.com (By Pete Pichaske | For Howard Magazine) (Pictured: Dr. Sandra Selnick) (Jen Rynda / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Honorable mentions:
Baltimore Orthodontic Group
Vanguard Orthodontics
Rubler & Halpern Orthodontics

Best Pediatric Practice
Kenneth Klebanow & Associates

Honorable mentions:
Howard County Pediatrics
Ellicott City Pediatric Associates
The Pediatric Center

Best Physical Therapist
Howard County Physical Therapy

Honorable mentions:
Life Fitness Physical Therapy
Revive Physical Therapy
BodyWise Physical Therapy & Wellness

Best Plastic Surgeon
Dr. William Kanter and Dr. Mitchel Kanter, Plastic Surgery Professionals

Honorable mentions:
Dr. Sarah Mess
Dr. Eric Chang, Columbia Aesthetic Plastic Surgery LLC
Dr. Terri Hill

Best Therapist/Counselor
Andrew Stanton

Honorable mentions:
Together Couples Counseling
Congruent Counseling
Sheela Reddy

Best Urgent Care Center
AllCare

Honorable mentions:
Patient First
KinderMender Walk-In Pediatric Center
Righttime Medical Care

Best Veterinary Practice
Countryside Veterinary Clinic

Honorable mentions:
Triadelphia Veterinary Clinic
Cat and Dog Hospital of Columbia
Dunloggin Veterinary Hospital

Home

Best Flooring and Carpeting
Bode Floors

Honorable mentions:
The Vertical Connection Carpet One
A Plus Carpet & Flooring
Main Street Oriental Rugs

Best Garden Center/Nursery
River Hill Garden Center

Honorable mentions:
Frank’s Produce and Greenhouse
Sun Nurseries
Grandfather’s Garden Center

Best Heating Air Conditioning Repair
Environmental Systems Associates

Honorable mentions:
B&B Air Conditioning and Heating Service Company
Ron Air
No-Frost

Best Home Builder
Ryan Homes

Honorable mentions:
Columbia Builders
Williamsburg Homes
Trinity Homes

Best Housecleaners
The Cleaning Authority

Honorable mentions:
Merry Maids
Home Sweet Home Cleaning Services
Pioneer Custom Cleaning

Best Landscaper
River Hill Landscape and Design

Honorable mentions:
Rhine Landscaping
Mike’s Landscaping Supplies
Oaklawn Landscaping

Best Plumber
Ken Griffin Plumbing and Heating

Honorable mentions:
Zepp Plumbing and Heating
Joseph Heil Company
Mark Brew Plumbing

Best Real Estate Agent
Bob Lucido, Keller Williams Integrity

Honorable mentions:
Creig Northrop, Long & Foster Real Estate
Jesse Hoffman, The Jesse Hoffman Real Estate Team
David Yungmann, Keller Williams Integrity

Best Remodeler
Cossentino & Sons

Honorable mentions:
Ken Griffin Plumbing and Heating
Cornerstone Remodeling
Allan Homes Unlimited

Personal Services

Best Accountant
Keith Dorsey, CPA, Dorsey Accounting & Tax Services Inc.

Honorable mentions:
Jeffrey D. Ring, CPA, MBA, Fisher Ring LLC
Dembo Jones
Daniel Mules, Geier Asset Management

Best Auto Repair
Hillmuth Certified Automotive

Honorable mentions:
British American Auto Care
Ken’s Service Center
Neubauer’s Auto Repair

Best Bank/Credit Union
M&T Bank

Honorable mentions:
Tower Federal Credit Union
PNC
The Columbia Bank

Best Barbershop
Sal’s Barber Shop

When it opened on Route 40 in Ellicott City in 1970, Sal’s Barber Shop was the only barber shop around. “It was the first business in the Village Green Shopping Center,” says current owner Tony Aquila, who took over the business from his uncle, Sal Brocato. “It was all cornfields here.” The cornfields are now few and far between, and area residents have plenty of options for haircuts. But Sal’s remains a popular shop — and not just among readers of Howard Magazine. “We’re more than holding our own,” says Aquila, whose shop has seven barbers, including himself, and one stylist. “We have people who’ve been coming here since the ’70s — they just keep coming back. “We have one guy, he comes from Salisbury once a month to get a haircut here.” His recipe for success, Aquila says, is operating a family-run business that treats customers and barbers well, charges competitive rates, and, most of all, gives consistently fine haircuts. “A lot of these shops, they hire people right out of the paper, and they don’t last long,” Aquila says. “We hire good barbers, top of the line. That’s the name of the game, good people, a place where you get a good haircut in every chair.” Once you’ve gotten a haircut at Sal’s, Aquila says, you won’t want to go anywhere else. “People who stray from us, maybe go someplace cheaper,” he says. “They always come back.” -- Pete Pichaske | For Howard Magazine 9338 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City410-461-9887<a href="http://salsbarber.weebly.com/" target="_blank">salsbarber.weebly.com</a> (Pictured: Sal’s Barber Shop owner Tony Aquila gives a haircut to Ellicott City resident Luis Torroella.)
When it opened on Route 40 in Ellicott City in 1970, Sal’s Barber Shop was the only barber shop around. “It was the first business in the Village Green Shopping Center,” says current owner Tony Aquila, who took over the business from his uncle, Sal Brocato. “It was all cornfields here.” The cornfields are now few and far between, and area residents have plenty of options for haircuts. But Sal’s remains a popular shop — and not just among readers of Howard Magazine. “We’re more than holding our own,” says Aquila, whose shop has seven barbers, including himself, and one stylist. “We have people who’ve been coming here since the ’70s — they just keep coming back. “We have one guy, he comes from Salisbury once a month to get a haircut here.” His recipe for success, Aquila says, is operating a family-run business that treats customers and barbers well, charges competitive rates, and, most of all, gives consistently fine haircuts. “A lot of these shops, they hire people right out of the paper, and they don’t last long,” Aquila says. “We hire good barbers, top of the line. That’s the name of the game, good people, a place where you get a good haircut in every chair.” Once you’ve gotten a haircut at Sal’s, Aquila says, you won’t want to go anywhere else. “People who stray from us, maybe go someplace cheaper,” he says. “They always come back.” -- Pete Pichaske | For Howard Magazine 9338 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City410-461-9887salsbarber.weebly.com (Pictured: Sal’s Barber Shop owner Tony Aquila gives a haircut to Ellicott City resident Luis Torroella.) (Doug Kapustin / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Honorable mentions:
Rob’s Barber Shop
Floyd’s 99 Barbershop
Master Barber

Best Childcare
Bet Yeladim

Honorable mentions:
The Goddard School
Columbia Academy
The Young School

Best Computer Repair
Best Buy Geek Squad

Honorable mentions:
Percworks
ScottE Software
IT by Lee

Best Doggie Day Care
Camp Bow Wow

Honorable mentions:
Dogtopia
The Coventry School Inc. for Dogs and Their People
Club Pooche

Best Family Lawyer
Weinberg & Schwartz, LLC

Honorable mentions:
Mulinazzi Law Office
Law Offices of Alisa G. Cummins, PC
Law Office of Robert L. Flanagan

Best Financial Adviser
Gary Williams, Williams Asset Management

Honorable mentions:
Baltimore Washington Financial Advisors
Geier Asset Management
Brian Avrunin, Ameriprise

Best Florist
Wilhide’s Unique Flowers and Gifts

Honorable mentions:
Raimondi’s Florist
Clarksville Flower Station
The Flower Basket

Best Interior Designer/Decorator
Classic Interiors

Honorable mentions:
Terra Maria Home Interiors
The Decorating Therapist
Drury Lanes Interiors

Best Pet Groomer
Petsmart

Honorable mentions:
The Dog Wash
Highland Groomery
The Coventry School Inc. for Dogs and Their People

Best Salon
Mason & Friends Hair, Skin & Nail Salon

Honorable mentions:
Looks Salon & Spa
Victoria & Albert Hair Studio
Cloud 9 Salon

Best Travel Agent
AAA Columbia Car Care Insurance and Travel Center

Honorable mentions:
Destinations Inc.
Monica Baker Travel
The Travel Boutique

Personalities

Best Blog
HoCo Rising

Honorable mentions:
The Unmanly Chef
Pilates, Pearls, and Peanut Butter
Village Green/Town Squared

Best Clergyperson
Monsignor Joseph L. Luca, St. Louis Catholic Church

Honorable mentions:
The Rev. Paige Getty, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia
The Rev. Matthew Buening, St. Paul Catholic Church
Rabbi Craig Axler, Temple Isaiah

Best Elected Official (2016)
County Executive Allan Kittleman

Honorable mentions:
County Council Chairman Calvin Ball
State Sen. Guy Guzzone
County Councilwoman Jen Terrasa

Best Personal Trainer
Bonnie Pace, Columbia Gym

Honorable mentions:
Stephanie Dignan, The Bootcamp Girl
Mac Cassity, Extreme Fun & Fit Bootcamp
Vic Selvaggi, Colosseum Gym

Best Police Officer
Vic Broccolino Jr.

Honorable mentions:
Mary Levy
Steve Willingham
Mike Johnson

Best Principal
Marcia Leonard, Hammond High School

Honorable mentions:
Nick Novak, Howard High School
Pat Saunderson, Reservoir High School
James LeMon, Wilde Lake High School

Recreation

Best Crossfit Box
CrossFit Cove

Honorable mentions:
Top Tier CrossFit Columbia
12 Labours CrossFit
CrossFit PCR

Best Dance Lessons
b.Funk Dance Company

Honorable mentions:
Arabesque Dance Studio
Backstage Dance Studio
Studio Dans

Best Golf Course
Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club

Honorable mentions:
Turf Valley
Waverly Woods Golf Club
The Timbers at Troy

Best Gym
Supreme Sports Club

Honorable mentions:
Life Time Athletic Columbia
Columbia Gym
Dancel Family Center Y

Best Martial Arts Classes
American Academy of Martial Arts

Honorable mentions:
Klotz Institute of Karate
WKD Karate for Girls
Hwarang Martial Arts

Best Music Lessons
Mike's Music

Honorable mentions:
Damon Foreman Music Academy
Music & Arts
Olenka School of Music

Best Pool for Kids
Swansfield Pool and Mini Water Park

Honorable mentions:
North Saint John’s Swim & Tennis Club
LifeTime Athletic (tie)
River Hill Pool (tie)

Best Yoga Studio
The Yoga Center of Columbia

Honorable mentions:
Bikram Yoga Columbia
Gogo Guru Yoga
Yoga Love 

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