You voted, and here they are. Your choices are the best of the best in the Minnesota meetings and events industry in 2010!
THE WINNER IS: Mall of America
Countless stores and restaurants, a theme park and more make Mall of America the winner three years running. Even 19 years after opening, the MOA continues to draw tons of visitors (40 million annually), undergo constant upgrades and house any activity or amenity imagined.
RUNNERS UP: Lake Minnetonka, Target Field
THE WINNER IS: Synergy
An energetic team of singers and dancers from Synergy infuse life into any event. A Minnesota-based group led by experienced music producer Dick Whitbeck, Synergy performs across the States and internationally, creating custom designed shows of pop, disco, classic rock, Motown and Latin hits that make a party move.
RUNNERS UP: Instant Request, The R Factor
>>Hotel (less than 300 rooms)
THE WINNER IS: The Saint Paul Hotel
The Saint Paul Hotel is an iconic Twin Cities landmark of style and elegance. Here, 254 rooms and 31 suites exude classic beauty with a modernized touch. Swank meeting rooms and event space total 13,000 square feet, and The St. Paul Grill within is renowned for top-notch fare.
RUNNERS UP: Graves 601 Hotel, W Minneapolis-The Foshay
THE WINNER IS: G.L. Berg Entertainment Performing Artists & Speakers
A variety of acts, dedication to providing quality entertainment, and your votes have named G.L. Berg Entertainment winner for the fourth time. This company believes in creating positive experiences, using entertainment to build relationships and in taking fun seriously.
RUNNERS UP: Marsh Productions Entertainment Agency Inc., Macken Music and Entertainment Agency
THE WINNER IS: Violet’s Flowers
Violet’s Flowers has its hand on the pulse of floral trends, and the eye and ability to make any setting blossom. Owner Jean Cowles’ flowers are a staple on the metro scene, with many happy customers. “Most of our business is repeat,” says Cowles. “I have established relationships with clients where it’s very one-on-one.” Cowles heads a staff of three, and believes in being hands-on. “It’s one day, one event, and you have one shot,” she says. “I see through the whole process. From consulting and arranging, to the day of, you get me.”
RUNNERS UP: Richfield Flowers & Events, Festivities Inc.
THE WINNER IS: A Catered Event
In its fifth year, A Catered Event wins for the second time. Old-school charm, innovative fare and being the exclusive caterer of historic event center Carousel Works make this company a triple threat. Offerings include classic dishes with a twist and fun themed menus such as State Fair Fare, with everything on a stick.
RUNNERS UP: Common Roots Cafe, Cocoa & Fig
THE WINNER IS: Burl Oaks Golf Club
With the tag line, “if you think golf club sounds better than country club, you belong here,” Burl Oaks is all about the golf. Memberships, dining and a banquet room are offered, but the championship golf course is the star. The 18-hole course has 6,700 yards of green winding through woods and can accommodate 144 players.
RUNNERS UP: Hazeltine National Golf Club, The Minikahda Club
THE WINNER IS: AV for You
AV for You takes pride in providing every service possible in-house and free delivery. “Free delivery is pretty unique,” says longtime client Joe Palmitessa, principal of Our Creative Group, providing corporate promotions, staging and audio-visual. Palmitessa says AV for You Owner Josh Reitan “takes care of my clients as though they were his own. He is second to none in terms of service and reliability.”
RUNNERS UP: AVEX, metroConnections
THE WINNER IS: Madden’s on Gull Lake
For more than 80 years, Madden’s has offered the quintessential Minnesota experience. On the shores of Gull Lake are 1,000 acres of picturesque golfing, cozy accommodations and endless outdoor activities to satiate any guest, in any season. Conference facilities, restaurants, and a spa are some of the modern amenities found at this classic resort “up north.”
RUNNERS UP: Grand View Lodge, Chase on the Lake
THE WINNER IS: DCharles Photography
Lensman Don Pitlik is behind Twin Cities-based DCharles Photography, producing photos with personalized flair. The energy, vibe and nuances of people and events are captured and relayed in DCharles’ creative shots. The company blog is chock-full of images, cheerful and gives a fun glimpse behind the scenes.
RUNNERS UP: Austin Images Photography, Noah Wolf Photography
>>Hotel (more than 300 rooms)
THE WINNER IS: Hilton Minneapolis
Steady winner Hilton Minneapolis has 821 rooms and 77,000 square feet of sleek function space, and is a client go-to for guaranteed satisfaction. The Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) has held its annual convention here for five years. “They’re a great fit, and really the only hotel that can accommodate a group as large as ours,” says MVMA Executive Director Dan Tjornehoj. “Minneapolis Hilton meets all standards,” says Tjornehoj.
RUNNERS UP: Minneapolis Marriott City Center, Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront Hotel
>>Boats, Cruises or Charters
THE WINNER IS: Al and Alma’s
Six sleek yachts, a supper club, a lofted conference room and a rich history on Lake Minnetonka make up three-time winner Al and Alma’s. Social events, corporate meetings and cruises both public and private are offered aboard the luxury vessels, as are event décor and gourmet catering for up to 149 passengers.
RUNNERS UP: Padelford Riverboats, Paradise Charter Cruises
>>Meeting Space (no hotel rooms)
THE WINNER IS: McNamara Alumni Center
The bold, geometric exterior of four-time winner McNamara Alumni Center is an architectural wonder, and the modern designs within are equally stunning. Ten unique University of MN-centric names (i.e.: rooms Ski-U-Mah and Maroon & Gold) accommodate anywhere from 10 to 800 people, and the fare is handled by fellow winner D’Amico Catering.
RUNNERS UP: Burl Oaks Golf Club, Nicollet Island Pavilion
THE WINNER IS: metroConnections
An array of teambuilding activities are expertly finetuned and executed at metroConnections. From groups large or small, diverse or tight-knit, this jack-of-all-trades event production company creates experiences and surroundings that are a perfected fit for your group, including interactive and engaging teambuilding such as Garage Wars Bike Build-Offs and Give Back events, or fun, lighthearted team bonding activities such as Wii Bowling Tournaments and Game Shows.
RUNNERS UP: Burl Oaks Golf Club, Liddle Marketing Company
THE WINNER IS: D’Amico Catering
Created by Minnesota standard-bearer D’Amico and Partners family of restaurants, D’Amico Catering offers the gourmet fare and polished service its dining establishments are renowned for. Catering to a list of top Twin Cities venues, D’Amico tops this category for the fourth year in a row.
RUNNERS UP: Chowgirls Killer Catering, Mintáhoe Catering & Events
THE WINNER IS: Meet Minneapolis
Perpetual winner in this category, Meet Minneapolis has the 411 on the 612, from events, dining hot spots, deals and city news. Keeping the metro informed isn’t the only thing they do well—this CVB also lets the rest of the world in on just how sweet the Mini-Apple is.
RUNNERS UP: Visit Saint Paul, Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau
THE WINNER IS: metroConnections
Multiyear winner metroConnections has events down to a science. A design team breaks down the objectives and goals of your gathering, and proceeds to create comprehensive, stunning décor visions that impress down to the finest detail. Exceptional stage sets, props, linens and lighting round out the décor offerings, and a 40,000-square-foot production facility provides ample space to bring visions to life.
RUNNERS UP: Event Lab, Festivities Inc.
>>Social Media Marketing Effort
THE WINNER IS: Muddy Paws Cheesecake
Muddy Paws Cheesecake’s website is brimming with drool-inducing photos of cheesecake and company information. An active Twitter account (over 1,000 followers, and a great repertoire), and events such as their annual Cheesecake Sampling, Toy Drive and Holiday Bazaar create positive buzz for the company and 222 flavors of to-die-for cheesecake are ever-expanding from customer suggestions.
RUNNERS UP: Parasole Restaurant Holdings, Matt Blum Photography
>>Special Event Venue
THE WINNER IS: Lafayette Club
The elegance and grandeur of Lafayette Club reflects its original 1925 beauty, with modern updates. “The uniqueness of our facility sets us apart,” says Catering Director Brenda Rogers. “We have fireplaces in meeting rooms, fantastic food and a historic ballroom.” The Crystal Ballroom seats 350 and features original chandeliers, hardwood floors and a view of Lake Minnetonka. Impeccable service comes from longtime, loyal venue staff. As Rogers says, “Many of the staff have been here for years and years and are experts in their fields.”
RUNNERS UP: The Depot Minneapolis, Nicollet Island Pavilion
THE WINNER IS: Eclipse Transportation
Three-time winner Eclipse Transportation has a handle on all travel needs: concierge services, flight tracker software and a wide-ranging fleet of luxurious cars and limos. Eclipse is dedicated to being a full-service company where staff is polite, knowledgeable and accessible 24 hours a day.
RUNNERS UP: Boss Limousine, metroConnections
>>Rental Service Provider
THE WINNER IS: Linen Effects Inc.
A massive collection of tabletop décor, chair covers and linens are kept with care at Linen Effects. Along with a second win in this category, Linen Effects boasts in-house laundry and pressing, a showroom for mock set-ups, quality service and an endless quantity of décor options.
RUNNERS UP: Festivities Inc., Midway Party Rental
THE WINNER IS: Oak Ridge Hotel & Conference Center
Oak Ridge Hotel boasts guestrooms, dining and views of 130 acres of woodlands, but its top accolade is the swank Conference Center. Some 22,000 square feet of flexible space, 35 meeting rooms and two ballrooms create the IACC-approved, multi-year winning convention center stocked with top of the line technology.
RUNNERS UP: St. Paul RiverCentre, Minneapolis Convention Center
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