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State Bank voted Best Bank and Best Place to Work

State Bank and Trust Company, located at 110 East Hill Street, received top honors for Best Bank as well as Best Place to Work for 2015. For 28 years, State Bank has provided McDuffie County with banking services. Key people at the bank include Skip Griffin, business banker, Hope Hodge, branch manager, and Nichole Stevenson, assistant branch manager. Other key staff include tellers Lisa Banister, Betty Burnett, Anna Dunaway, Charlene Huff and Head Teller Penny Matthews; Nathan Strickland and Stephanie Brown, CRRs; Brenda Moore, deposit operations; Jerry Dunn, Doug Smith; and Mike Love, facilities manager. The bank credits its success


THURSDAY • February 25, 2016


Best Furniture Store is Farmers

The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs

Farmer’s Furniture first opened in 1949.

The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs

The State Bank staff is shown inside the bank lobby. to its loyal customers and a team that values them. “We appreciate the vote of confidence from our community,” the staff said. The bank’s lobby is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and

Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The bank’s drive-thru is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Farmers Home Furniture has been voted as the best furniture store in the Best of McDuffie for 2015. The furniture store opened in 1949 and has been at its current location at 672 Washington Road since November 1986.

According to Annette Davis, the store manager, the key to the business’ success is good employees with great customer service. Farmers Furniture is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Reese is Best Nurse


Morgan Reese tied with another in votes, but still earns the title of Best Nurse. She graduated from Georgia College & State University School of Nursing with a Bachelors of Science in nursing in May 2015. She has been a nurse at University Hospital McDuffie Emergency Department since July 2015. As an emergency nurse, she provides emergency patient care and treatment to those arriving at the Emergency Department. She does this six nights in a row for 12.5 hours a night, but could extend if the department is busy or has critical patients. Reese attributes her success in nursing to her family, who supported her throughout nursing school, her fiance, who helped her stay focused on her career and her co-workers, who have taught her so much. "I feel so honored to be chosen as one of the best nurses,” Reese said. “Thank you to all who voted for me. Being a nurse has been a life-long dream of mine and taking care of the patients in our community is what I love to do!"

THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

The McDuffie Progress/Wayne Parham

Morgan Reese tied in votes for Best Nurse.

Hampton Inn is voted Best Hotel


The Hampton Inn has been open in Thomson for three years. The hotel located at 1702 Wa s h i n g t o n Road, has been named best hotel/motel by the people of M c D u f f i e County. Owned by Harenderjit Singh, the hotel provides lodging The Hampton Inn opened in Thomson 24 hours a day, three years ago. seven days a week. The owner says that the key to Hampton Inn's success is its newness, its community support and the excellent customer service from the staff, which equals an increase in business.

Fernanda’s is Best Pizza PAGE 4


THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

Fernanda's has once again been voted as the Best Pizza. The business, which has been open for five years at 127 Main Street, attributes its success to the local customers and the home-style recipes "just like mom and pop used to make.” The restaurant, which is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 9 p.m., serves all sorts of pastas, subs and New York style pizza. Manager Kevin Reyes says that the key people who help sustain success goes from the owners to the dishwashers. "Thank you City of Thomson for selecting The McDuffie Progress/Betty Davis us again as Best Pizza!" Fernanda’s, at 127 Main St., serves best pizza. Reyes said.

Buffington Best Electrician

The McDuffie Progress/Wayne Parham

James Buffington was voted Best Electrician.

James Buffington has been named Best Electrician. Voters selected him in the Best of McDuffie 2015 contest. Buffington has provided residential and commercial electrical service for 39 years. He operates from an electrical contracting office at 150 Harrison Road and provides 24-hour service. Being on time for callers, having

satisfied customers and handling customers’ needs are the keys to his success. “I want to thank the citizens of McDuffie County for their participation in voting me ‘Best of McDuffie’s’ electrician,” Buffington said. Buffington may be reached by calling (706) 466-3732.

Stitcher is Best teacher


Melanie Stitcher, a first grade instructor at J.A. Maxwell Elementary School, has been voted Best Teacher in the Best of McDuffie for 2015. Stitcher has been a faculty member at the elementary school for 10 years and works under the direction of Principal Donna Bennett and Assistant Principal Kim Tam. Stitcher believes her primary responsibility is teaching and loving all of her students from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday and beyond. “The key to my success as an educator is to embrace each moment as a learning opportunity by including the heart, mind and body of each child in my classroom,” Stitcher said. “Relationships with my students’ parents are just as important as my relationships with the children themselves.” Stitcher also attributes her success to “working with an amazing group of people who keep me on my toes each day. As Max the Lion would say, J.A. Maxwell is GREAT!” After learning about being selected as best teacher, Stitcher said she was humbled. “I am overwhelmed and humbled by this honor and respectfully thank those who voted for me.”

Dozier Heating & Air is Best HVAC Company

THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

Melanie Stitcher

Dozier Heating and Air Inc. has been named the top HVAC business in McDuffie County. Voters selected the company as Best Heating and Air Company in the Best of McDuffie for 2015. The business, owned by Bill and Jordan Dozier, opened 68 years ago, with 66 of those years at 301 West Hill Street. They attribute their success to all of their employees and by being honest and treating people the way they want to be treated. Dozier Heating and Air Inc. is open 24 hours a day, seven days a


week. “We would like to thank the people of Thomson-McDuffie County for once again selecting us best HVAC Company. We are truly blessed to have the continued support of the community through all these years,” said Connie Dozier, the office manager.

Leon Newsome Jr. is Best Insurance Agent


Leon Newsome Jr., manager of Georgia Farm Bureau in McDuffie and Warren counties, has been chosen as the best insurance agent for Best of McDuffie 2015. Key people who work with Newsome include Shannon Lyons, office manager for McDuffie, Sue Thompson, office manager for Warren, Gale Robertson, secretary for McDuffie, Mike Newsome, another agent, and customer service representatives Lisa James, Becky Jenkins and April Mateer. Georgia Farm Bureau is in the business of insurance as well as Farm Bureau Bank, and it has been in business at the Thomson location for 28 years. “My customers and my staff are my keys to success,” Newsome said. “I would like to give my thanks for being selected as Best Insurance Agent to all of my customers and my staff. I will continue to strive to service all your

THURSDAY • February 25, 2016


Sunset Auction House is Best Night Spot

The McDuffie Progress/Wayne Parham

Sunset Auction House and Bar provides a night spot in Thomson.

Leon Newsome Jr. insurance needs.” The Thomson location, located at 619 Augusta Road, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Warrenton location, located at 197 McCoy Drive, is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunset Auction House and Bar has been named the Best Night Spot in McDuffie County. The auction house and bar, at 1449 Washington Road, has been in business since 1986, with four years at its current location. The company provides a bar and entertainment every Friday and Saturday from 8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and conducts auctions of various

items on the first Saturday of every month. The key people in the business are owner Wayne Williford and managers Daniel and Leigh Williford. The owner attributes the business' success to hard work and dedication. "Thanks to all of our customers. Without your support, Sunset Auction House and Bar would not be possible."

Tammy Brown ties for Best Nurse PAGE 6

David Parker Exterminating is Best Pest Control

THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

Tammy Brown has tied for the title of Best Nurse. She has been working for Family Care Group of Thomson, which is located at 315 Fluker Street and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., for 12 years as The McDuffie Progress/Betty Davis a medical assistant. Tammy Brown was voted best nurse. The key people that have helped her are MDs Daryl Wiley, Chris Sheppard and Roger Nelson, NPs Scott Stamper and Megan Wiley and PA Michael McDaniel. She credits her success to being familiar with all of the patients, along with the joy of working with the group at Family Care and serving the citizens of the area. "Thank you for your vote of confidence in me. It makes me feel proud to serve."

David M. Parker Exterminating has been chosen as the Best Control provider for Best of McDuffie 2015. The business, owned by David Parker, is located off Mesena Road in McDuffie County. The key people at the business include Caleb Parker, urban pest specialist, as well as three secretaries, Michelle Edwards, Lisa Buckner and Beverly Parker. Other key employees include Matthew Caldwell, Trevor Fulbright, Alan Toole, Eric House, Justin Bowen, Cecil Brown, John Crawford, Stephen Ivey, Richard Blalock, John Blalock and Hank Vaughn. Parker Exterminating has been in business for 40 years, 30 of which have been at its current location. The business offers termite and pest control services, fire ant control and a mosquito reduction program. Parker credits the business’ success to the loyal customers and dedicated employees.


The McDuffie Progress/File Photo

David M. Parker “We are honored and very grateful for all of the citizens of McDuffie County for this honor,” Parker said. Parker Exterminating is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Burnett is Best Teller


THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

Luckey Charm voted Best Gift Shop

The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs

The Luckey Charm is located at 454 East Hill Street.

The Luckey Charm, located at 454 East Hill Street, opened its doors in November 2013 and has been selected as the Best Gift Shop for two years in a row. The Luckey Charm is owned by the Sammy Luckey family and operated by his granddaughter, Tabatha Raburn. As one of Thomson’s best gift shops, it offers a wide variety of gift items, jewelry, and apparel for women, men and children. Some of the lines represented in The Luckey Charm are Southern Marsh, Peach State Pride,

Jadelynn Brooke, Simply Southern, Mudpie, Spartina, Woodwick Candles, Lauren James, Lilly Pulitzer and Betsy Pittard Designs. The Luckey Charm specializes in helping customers find the perfect gift for someone special or as a personal treat. “The Luckey family is appreciative of the support shown by the wonderful people of this community. Our customers are the most important part of our business and we look forward to continuing to serve you for many years to come."

Ga Nails is Best Nail Salon

Ga Nails has been selected as this year’s Best Nail Salon. The business, located at 1427 Washington Road, has served the community for 15 years and has been at its current location for the last 10 years. They are open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The salon provides manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyelash extensions, Solar Nails and gel polish and manicures. They now have a new spa, deluxe pedicures and mood The McDuffie Progress/Betty Davis effecting powder. Ga Nail is located at 1427 Washington The business says that its Road. success is due to hard work, quality and great service to the customers. Along with key people like the seven technicians that have seven to ten years of experience with the job. "We appreciate all the people who voted us the best."


Betty Burnett has been named Best Teller by voters selecting the best in the Best of McDuffie for 2015. A teller for the last 31 years, she has been at State Bank & Trust in Thomson for 26 years. She is responsible for providing quality service to the bank’s customers and to the community. Burnett said the key to her success is treating others the way she likes to be treated, being willing to listen to the needs of her customers and making sure their banking needs are met. She said she was honored to be selected as The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs best teller. Betty Burnett “It’s a very special feeling to know that you have given the highest and best services a person could receive and your customers appreciate you and feel like you are worthy of the honor,” Burnett said. “Thanks to all my customers.”

Goody’s is Best Clothing Store

Goody’s Department Store, owned and operated by Stage Stores, Inc., has been elected as the best clothing store in McDuffie County by the voters. Managed by Philp Pirkle, the store has been in its West Hill Street location for 30 years. However, the business is continuing the legacy of its predecessors, Peeble’s and Moore’s, that started over 100 years ago. The business sells retail clothing, shoes, cosmetics, fragrances and gifts. The staff, including Assistant Managers, Jennifer Hebbard, June Cooper and Kathy Jones, as well as Alice Bailey, the Estee Lauder manager, credits their success to offering name brand merchandise at prices as good or better than the competitors in a comfortable, friendly shopping environment. “We are thankful for the opportunity to serve our cus-


THURSDAY • February 25, 2016


Bi-Lo Best Grocery

The McDuffie Progress/Stephen Boland

Bi-Lo is located at 687 Main Street.

McDuffie Progress/Wayne Parham

Goody’s Manager Philip Pirkle is shown with staff. tomers whom we think of as family,” the staff said. “We are glad that our efforts are appre-

ciated and look forward to serving our community in 2016.”

Bi-Lo has received the honor of Best Grocery Store for Best of McDuffie 2015. The business, located at 687 Main Street in Thomson, has been in the business of selling groceries for at least 50 years, about half of that in the current location. The key people at the business include Susie Crutchfield, general manager, Johnny Brantley, assistant manager, Julie Hobbs, cus-

tomer service manager, Tina Young, deli/bakery manager, Wanda Richardson, produce manager, and Larry Young, market manager. The staff credits its success to customer service. “We are very pleased and happy,” Hobbs said. “We’d like to thank everyone for voting us Best in McDuffie.” Bi-Lo is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Clark is Best Real Estate Agent



THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

McDonald’s wins Best Coffee

The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs

Ms. Vicky is shown pouring coffee at McDonald’s in Thomson.

McDonald’s once again has been chosen as having the best coffee in McDuffie County. McDonald’s, owned by David and Janie Cravens and managed by David Hitt Jr., has been in business for 48 years. Cravens said the key people for the business are the customers, and she credits the restaurant’s success to serving high quality ingredients, all 110 employees and wanting to be an important part of the McDuffie County community. “We’ve been receiving Best Coffee for several years,” Cravens said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to win this award from our customers.”

Voters have elected Tina Clark as the Best Real Estate Agent. Clark has been an associate with Coldwell Banker Watson & Knox Real Estate since 1996. She and Bill Hopkins, along with their licensed assistant, Lisa Land, make up the ClarkHopkins Realty Partners under Coldwell Banker Watson & Knox Real Estate. She says a realtor’s hours of operation are 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a realtor, she helps clients with their real estate needs, which include listing, purchasing, assisting buyers with lending options and relocation referrals. “I’m very honored to be chosen as Best Real Estate Agent for the second year in a row,” Clark said. “It means a lot to be recognized in the community.” Clark credits her success to providing great customer

Tina Clark service, listening to her clients and being honest and available to her customers/clients. She also attributes her success to her training. “I was trained by the best in the business, Dot Knox,” Clark said. “I was her licensed assis-

tant for 17 years.” Clark said having a great team to work with on a daily basis with team partner, Bill Hopkins, and their licensed assistant, Lisa Land helps with her success as well.

Stadler is Best Pharmacist


Angie Stadler, of Moye Pharmacy, has been voted as the best pharmacist for Best of McDuffie 2015. The key people who work with Stadler at Moye include pharmacy technicians Ashlee Akers, Farrah Reese, Patiencce Evans, Terry Hagan and Laura Brewer. The drivers who work at Moye’s are Judy Garrison, Bob Corbitt, Jimmy Waller and Phil Corbitt. Other key people at the business include customer service reps Cynthia Taylor, Amanda Smallwood, Hannah Burnley and Breanna Hawkins as well as pharmacists Laverne McCollough and Ed Rogers. “One person does not make a pharmacy successful,” Stadler said. “It takes a team of dedicated individuals which I have been lucky enough to be a part of. Together we have made Moye Pharmacy a great pharmacy. My family has also played a big part in what I have accomplished. Without their understanding of the long hours and weekends, I would not be successful.”

THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs

Angie Stadler Moye Pharmacy is owned by Long’s Drug of South Carolina, which acquired Moye in 2001. The business is located at 433 West Hill Street and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. “We have some great pharmacists here in this community and any one of them is deserving of this honor,” Stadler said. “I want to thank my loyal customers for taking the time to select me in the Best of McDuffie voting.”

Plunkett is Best Attorney


Jimmy D. Plunkett, P.C. has been selected as the best attorney in McDuffie County by the voters. Plunkett has been in the business of general law for 32 years, 20 years of which have been at the current location at 234 Main Street in Thomson. Key people at the business include Mary Ann Hall, real estate secretary, and Jenna Nicholson, civil and criminal law secretary. Plunkett said he credits his success to providing competent and confidential legal services in a caring way. “I am truly appreciative of the opportunity to serve the people of Thomson and surrounding areas and humbled by their recognition of this

Jimmy Plunkett office,” Plunkett said. The business is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Strickland is Best Customer Service


THURSDAY • February 25, 2016


Nathan Strickland of State Bank & Trust, who tied with another person in votes, has been elected by voters as providing the best customer service. As a CRR, he has provided excellent banking skills that allow him to give great customer service that leads to making the customer happy in his one year of service. "It's a great honor to be selected by the people of McDuffie County,” Strickland said. Strickland says that the key to success has been treating others as you wish to be treated and rapport establishment by listening and caring. State Bank & Trust has been in business for 28 years and is located at 110 East Hill Stret. It is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 9 a.m. 6 p.m. on Friday. The drive-thru is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday 9 a.m. to The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs noon.

Nathan Strickland

The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs

Sweet T’s wins Best Country Cooking, Dessert and Sweet Tea

Shown from left are Wanda Hyman, Traci Arrington, Emily Hobbs, Miranda Amerson, Hope Troy, Nicole Carey, Jessica Norris and Megan Amerson

For the fourth year, Sweet T’s Restaurant has captured “Best Country Cooking” and now they get to add “Best Dessert” and “Best Sweet Tea” to their awards. “This is an honor that just gets sweeter each year,” said mother-daughter owners, Wanda Hyman and Traci Arrington. “There are no words that can truly express our gratitude to our customers. We are blessed beyond measure.” Sweet T’s, located at 352 Gordon Street, is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Every person who walks through

our door is so much more than a customer; they are all important to us,” Arrington said. “Customers have a choice as to where they will eat. If they choose Sweet T’s, we want to make sure they are happy they did. Not only do we strive to give our customers a great Southern meal served by friendly faces, but we also work extra hard to make sure our restaurant is super clean. Our customers are a blessing and so is our staff. We couldn’t ask for a better group of girls. We’re like a big, happy family serving our friends. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Lucky is voted Best Chinese

Lucky Chinese Restaurant has won the Chinese Food category in the Best of McDuffie 2015. The family and staff at Lucky has worked hard since 1997 to produce the finest, fresh Chinese food for McDuffie County and surrounding areas. "We feel great that over the years we have had so many customers who come to us, and come back. It is thrilling to me that they would choose to vote us the Best of McDuffie again! Thanks!" said a restaurant spokesman.

Richards’ Best Florist


THURSDAY • February 25, 2016


Bojangles is Best Biscuit

The McDuffie Progress/Wayne Parham

Leslie Hampton and Brian Parks are a part of the team that earned honors for Best Biscuit. The McDuffie Progress/Betty Davis

The staff of Richards’ Flowers & Gift Shop includes (from left) Russell Richards, Elizabeth Richards, Joyce Hinton, Tammy Reese and Bonny Widener. Not pictured is Roslyn Johnson. Richards’ Flowers and Gift Shop has been selected by voters as the Best Florist in the Best of McDuffie 2015 contest. In April 2015, the floral design and gift shop moved from its Jackson Street location to 314 Main Street. Richards’ operated for approximately 35 years at its previous location. Owned by Elizabeth Richards, the flower and gift shop provides for weddings, funerals, birthdays, hospital stays, get well wishes and special occasions. “This has been a wonderful time and honor for us, our family and our business. We thank the Lord for providing for us on all occasions. We are grateful for so many kind and loving people to us,” Richards said. Richards, Bonnie Widener, Tammy Reese, Joyce Hinton and Roslyn

Johnson are on hand to design floral arrangement for customers and help customers in the gift shop. Russell Richards delivers the flowers to customers. According to staff, the key to their success has been service with a personal touch and being a service to all. “It is a pleasure to know and provide for our customers. We enjoy our new location in downtown Thomson. We are so thankful for the location and building. If you haven’t been in to see us at our new location, stop and visit with us anytime.” Richards’ Flower and Gift Shop is open at 314 Main St., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; on Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to noon; and on Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Waffle House, managed by Blake Usry, has been selected as having the best breakfast in McDuffie County for 2015. The business is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The key people for Waffle House are Unit Manager Blake Usry, District Manager Karen Bennett and Division Manager

Nirraya McClure. Waffle House is in the business of 24hour food service, and good, fast, friendly service is a key to its success. “We always make sure that the customer comes first,” Usry said. “It is truly an honor to be selected for this honor, and I hope everyone comes out to see us.”

Waffle House is Best Breakfast

Bojangles has been voted Best Biscuit for 2014. The restaurant is part of Bojland Restaurant Group, LLC, owned by Pat and Sandy Landon, and has been open in Thomson for three years. Pat Landon attributes the restaurant’s success to “good people.”

“It’s great to be recognized for hard work and great products,” he said. Bojangles in Thomson is located at 1826 Washington Rd. and is open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. The location is managed by Ellon Nixon and Daniel Landon is director of operations.


Hogie Joe’s Sports Grill, owned and operated by Joey and Amy Kiel, was selected for six bests for 2015, including best hamburger, meal under $10, meal under $10, steak and

Hogie Joe’s wins six bests THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

two servers tied for best waitress. Hogie Joe’s has been in business for six years, and it is located at 128 Railroad Street in Thomson. The Kiels said all of our

their staff is key, working as a team to show that every single member plays a crucial role. “Thanks so much for this honor,” the Kiels said. “We are so grateful for being

selected again.” The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Two waitresses, Mandy McGahee and Courtney Stewart, tied for best waitress in McDuffie County. “I put full effort into everything I do,” Stewart


said. “And it's not that hard when I have great customers.” McGahee, the other best waitress winner, said it makes her heart happy to know that her customers enjoy seeing her as much as she enjoys seeing them.

Photo courtesy of Hogie Joe’s

Mandy McGahee, left, and Courtney Stewart, both of whom work at Hogie Joe’s, tied for best waitress for The Hogie Joe’s staff is shown above. The business won six awards for Best of Best of McDuffie 2015. McDuffie 2015. Photo courtesy of Hogie Joe’s

Taylor Gay is Best Customer Service


THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

Taylor Gay, the manager of Ray of Light Tanning Studio, has tied Best Cashier/Best Customer Service provider in McDuffie County for 2015. “I was beyond excited to share this honor with an amazing company for one year, last year, and to win it for a second year is beyond exciting for me to represent myself and my work family once again,” said Gay, The McDuffie Progress/Taylor Gay the manager for the last three and Taylor Gay one-half years. The Ray of Light Tanning Studio has operated at 1421 Washington Road for eight years. The business offers tanning beds, sunless tanning, teeth whitening and sales. In addition to Gay, other key people are Taylor Williams and Elena Bohler, who provide sunless tanning, and Abbie Bohler, the bed cleaner. “The key to our success is client safety as well as making him or her feel like the best version of ‘them’ as well as never stopping the learning process and continuing to share knowledge to our clients,” Gay said. Owned by Tammy Crawford, the studio is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, from 8 a.m. to 7 .m. and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tim’s Tire is Best Tire

Tim's Tire and Automotive, owned by Tim Powell, has been voted as the best tire place in McDuffie County. Tim's Tire has been in business for 10 years, doing tires and automotive repair at the business located at 1213 Washington Road in Thomson. The key people at Tim's Tire include The McDuffie Progress/Wayne Parham Bryan Randall, managRandall, manager, and April er, April Newsome, Bryan sales manager, Bobby Newsome, sales manager, are shown at the Hobbs, shop foreman, front counter. William Shelton, David Vasquez, Brian Hathaway, Thomas Glabes, Zach Simpson and Rich Miles. The staff credits their success to quality repairs, pricing and on-time repairs and wants to thank all of their great customers.


Jimmy and Dena’s wins Best Auto Body Shop, Auto Service Repair and Mechanic

The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs

Jimmy and Dena’s Body Shop is located at 146 East Hill Street.

Jimmy & Dena’s has been named the top body shop, top auto service and top mechanic in McDuffie County. Voters selected the automotive and collision repair business as Best Auto Body Shop, Best Auto Service Repair and Best Mechanic in Best of McDuffie 2015. Jimmy and Dena Williams opened the business in 2003 and have operated at 146 East Hill Street for 13 years.

They attribute their success to customer service, customer satisfaction and employees with experience and expertise. “Thank you to all our dedicated employees for all your hardwork and commitment,” the owners said. Jimmy & Dena’s is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment on Saturday. The body shop also offers 24-hour towing.


Jason Allen Smith, CPA, has been named the Best Accountant Voters selected him in the Best of McDuffie for 2015. Smith, who has lived in Thomson since 1981, earned his Bachelor’s of accounting from the College of Charleston and his Masters from the University of Georgia. In April of 2002, Smith was certified as CPA No. 22629 in the state of Georgia. After college, Smith moved to Atlanta and commenced his professional career employed by Ernst & Young, one of the "big five" accounting firms. Smith was not a fan of being caught up in the corporate structure and

Jason Smith is Best Accountant THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

eventually moved back to Thomson. He returned and began to take over his father’s accounting business. Smith helped his father, Lewis Smith, for a year, and then his dad helped him for two years after he assumed the leadership of the firm. "Part of what people are buying is the fact that they can come sit down here," Smith said. "Most people don't always have an appointment. I think that's what people like. So if you build it bigger, then I think you run the risk of either having to get a different kind of clientele or running off the people you had." Currently, the firm has


about 60 core clients and does around 500 tax returns each year. During tax season, there are three employees, Smith himself, K i m Holsenback and JoAnn Smith. Smith was honored to be recognized by his peers. "There is a good spirit to Thomson," he said.

The McDuffie Progress/Wayne Parham

Jason Smith, CPA, has been a CPA since April 2002.

We would also like to honor: Dr. Susan Land for Best Physician & Dr. Tommy Neal for Best Dentist

Poppa’s Finest Best Barbecue BEST OF MCDUFFIE

Usry Best Elected Official


THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

Voters have named Poppa’s Finest BBQ as the Best Barbecue in McDuffie County. Poppa’s Finest opened nine years ago and has been at its 1073 Washington Road location for seven years. The restaurant serves traditional barbecue, chicken and ribs using recipes that have been passed down through four generations. The restaurant also provides catering. Owned by Jarvis McNair and Alphonza McNair, other key people in the business are Porche Wilson, Dave Jackson, Harvey McNair, Donnie McNair and Brian McNair. The owners attribute their business’ success to providing tradition and service to customers. “I appreciate your votes,” The McDuffie Progress/Wayne Parham Alphonza McNair said. Poppa’s is open from 10 a.m. Porche Wilson displays a to-go plate. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday; from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday; from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, and from 10 a.m. until the food sells out on Saturday.

Best Local Elected Official for 2015 was bestowed upon Mayor Kenneth L. Usry of Thomson, by the McDuffie County community. Usry has been mayor of Thomson for eight years but has been an elected official for 37 total. His primary business is serving the citizens of Thomson while improving the quality of life and improving services at the lowest possible cost. His keys to success include keeping an open mind, being easily accessible, listening to citizen’s needs and concerns, being out in the community, being aware of what is going on, making progress with Downtown Thomson over the past several years and having a spirit of cooperation with the county government. The key people who help Usry are his 103 employees who work for the citizens of Thomson every day. They provide services

Kenneth Usry such as collecting yard waste and trash, providing clean water, police and fire protection and multiple services the citizens don’t have to worry about. “I enjoy serving the citizens of Thomson,” Usry said. “I am looking forward to positive change in the years to come.”

Holley Jewelers named Best Jewelry Store


THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

McDuffie voters have selected Holley Jewelers as the Best Jewelry Store in the 2015 Best of McDuffie contest. Terry Holley has operated the store at 1261 Washington Road for 27 years and he has been in the jewelry business for 29 years. The primary service the jeweler provides is selling and repairing jewelry. The store in the Camilia Plaza is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours are The McDuffie Progress/Wayne Parham extended for holidays. Customer service is the Terry Holley, owner, is shown with Ashtyn key to Holley Jewelers Simons, assistant manager. success. The key people are Ashtyn Simons, the assistant manager; Shelby Patterson, sales associate; Bryanna Neal, sales associate, and Cassidy Rabun, sales associate.


Habaneros wins Best Mexican Restaurant

The McDuffie Progress/Betty Davis

The staff of Habaneros includes (from left) Jana Cruz, Oswaldo Marquez and Billy Hixenbaugh.

Habaneros Mexican Grill has been voted Best Mexican Restaurant in the Best of McDuffie 2015 contest. Miguel and Alfonso Chavez opened the business, at 1435 Washington Rd., seven years ago. It is managed by Oswaldo Marquez. “Providing good service and good

Jopling is Best Dentist

Bill Jopling, who tied with another in votes, has been chosen as the best dentists in McDuffie County by the voters. “This is a great honor to be selected as best dentist,” Jopling said. “This is only possible due to a wonderful staff and great patient base.” Jopling has been in business for 41 years, 36 of which have been at the current Gordon Street location. The dentist credits his success to great patients and staff. “He works with a great team of ladies,” the staff said. These ladies include Annette Toews, Kathi Logue, LeAnna Thrope, Olivia

Mexican food are the hallmarks of the restaurant’s success,” Miguel Chavez said. “Thanks to all of our customers who voted for us for seven straight years in a row,” he said. Habaneros Mexican Grill is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pittman, Laura Raley, Brandi Brown, Shawanda Robertson, Kathy Jopling and Shannon Shealy. Drs. Jopling and Brunson, located at 115 Gordon Street, is open Monday through Friday, but the hours vary.

The McDuffie Progress/Betty Davis

Bill Jopling

Sanderlin is voted Best Veterinarian BEST OF MCDUFFIE

Lauren Sanderlin, of McDuffie Animal Hospital, has been elected as the best veterinarian in McDuffie County by the voters. The business, located at 1011 Cobbham Road, is owned by David Reese and has been in business for approximately 40 years. The key people at McDuffie Animal Hospital include Sanderlin, Hannah Rodriguez, veterinary assistant, and David Reese, veterinary technician. “I am extremely grateful to be chosen,” Sanderlin said. “I have devoted my life to animals so that they may continue to bring joy to their owners. I deeply appreciate the recognition.” Sanderlin credits her success to her clients who love their pets like family and are willing to care for them like family. The business is open Monday

Hidden Treasures is Best Consignment Shop

THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

The McDuffie Progress/Betty Davis

Lauren Sanderlin is the veterinarian at McDuffie Animal Hospital. through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. McDuffie Animal Hospital is also open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Best Salesman is ‘Madd’ Missy

“Madd” Missy Conner, of Sunset Auto Sales, has been chosen as the best salesman in McDuffie County by the voters. “It is a great honor to be voted this especially since we put so much hard work into what we do and to draw business to our local economy from surrounding counties and from across the river,” Conner said. In addition to Conner, Sunset’s staff includes owners Chris Adams and Wayne Williford, Marsha Perry, office manager and titles, Leaping Larry and Sean Ison and Jordan Land as detailers. Sunset has been selling cars for 22 years, of which seven are from the current 1409 Washington Road location. “We are a family business and our continued support from the community and our repeat and new customers are our keys to success,” Conner said. “Also, a lot of hard work and long hours. We also stand behind our used vehicles. Come see ‘Madd’ Missy!” Sunset Auto Sales is open six days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The McDuffie Progress/Betty Davis

“Madd” Missy Conner works at Sunset Auto Sales.

Hidden Treasures, located at 1735 Washington Road, has been selected as the Best Consignment Shop in McDuffie County for 2015. The key people at the business are Liz Holden, owner, and Erika McTier, manager. The business, which specializes in consignment retail, has been open for nine years. Holden credits her success to hard work and great customers and consigners. “I would like to thank our community and surrounding areas,” Holden said.


Courtesy of Liz Holden

Shown from left are Liz Holden and Erika McTier.


Sunset is Best Dealer


THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

Sunset Auto Sales & Classics has been chosen by McDuffie voters as Best Auto Dealer in the 2015 Best of McDuffie contest. The dealership has sold cars and trucks from 1409 Washington Road for the last 11 years. Owned by Wayne Williford and Chris Adams, the business’

key to success is community support. “It is simply having strong community support from our local community and customers, and offering the best product we can find and standing behind it,” Adams said. “We are just thankful to be chosen.” The key people are Madd Missy and

Leaping Larry in sales, Marsha Perry, office manager, Sean Ison and Jordan land, detail and Shana Ewest, website. Sunset Auto Sales is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday. The web address is SunsetAutoSalesAnd

Watson & Knox Insurance is Best Insurance Company

The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs

Sunset Auto Sales is located at 1409 Washington Road.

Watson & Knox Insurance Company, located at 139 Main Street, has been selected as the Best Insurance Company for 2015. Since 1929, Watson & Knox has provided the people of McDuffie County with insurance services. Andy Knox, the president, and Andy Knox Jr., vice president, attribute their success to doing what is in the best interest of the client.

“If we always do what is in the best interest of our clients, everything else will take care of itself,” Knox said. “This is a tribute to our

dedicated and loyal employees.” The business is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Luckey is Best Printing Company


Luckey Printing, a familyowned and operated, full service commercial printing operation, has been selected as Best Printing Company for the Best of McDuffie 2015. Luckey Printing offers quality products at competitive prices while taking pride in providing superior customer service. The company also provides convenience to customers by offering a one-stop source for printing, promotional products, banners, signs, t-shirts and office supplies. Sammy Luckey established Luckey Printing in 1970, while already having over 20 years of experience in the printing industry. Over the years, his business has expanded to include the help of his dedicated family and employees. Luckey along with his wife, Iris, still work in the day-to-day operations of the business.

THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs

Luckey Printing is located at 440 East Hill Street. “The Luckey family and employees thank you, our customers and friends, for choosing Luckey Printing one of the Best of McDuffie. It is because of you that we have been a part of this community for over 45 years. “You, the customer, are our

number one priority. Our goal is to help you accomplish your goals in the most cost-effective manner. We invite you to stop by our office at 440 East Hill Street and let us show you all of the services we have to offer.”

Kent’s has Best Milkshake


Kent’s, owned by Khrista Kent Wells and Patricia Kent, has been selected by voters as having the best milkshake in McDuffie County. Kent’s has been in business for 53 years at its location on Augusta Highway in Thomson. The key people in the business are the two managers, Mary McNair and Beth Miller. “We try to take care of our customers and serve good food,” the staff said. “Thanks to all who voted for us.” Kent’s is open Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The McDuffie Progress/Betty Davis

Beth Miller is shown making a milkshake.

Zaxby’s voted Best fast food Restaurant PAGE 22

Tasha’s Styles is Best Beauty Salon


THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

McDuffie voters have selected Zaxby’s as the Best Fast Food Restaurant the 2015 Best of McDuffie contest. Zaxby’s is a chain of fast casual restaurants offering chicken wings, chicken fingers, sandwiches and salads. Located at 1929 Washington Road, the eatery is open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. The restaurant is led by General Manager Elizabeth Tice and Assistant Managers Ladonna McCann and Karolynn Czoka. “Our guests are the key to our success. We strive on a daily basis to enrich the lives of each and every guest we come in contact with,” Tice said.

The McDuffie Progress/Betty Davis

Shown from left is the General Manager Elizabeth Tice and Assistant Managers LaDonna McCann and Karolynn Czoka.

Tasha’s Styles Salon was selected by voters as Best Beauty Shop in the Best of McDuffie 2015 contest. Owned by Tasha Daniel, the business, at 442 East Hill Street is a full-service salon that offers haircuts for the entire family, while specializing in color services and updos for special events. It also offers manicures and pedicures. “Tasha’s Styles is what it is by the Grace of God. By keeping Him first in all that we do and treating our customers with the love and respect they deserve, we continue to be blessed.” The salon opened in 2008 and is open Monday through Saturday by appointment. In addition to Daniel, who is a master stylist, other key people

The McDuffie Progress/Wayne Parham

Shown are (from left) Kellie Kitchens, Tasha Daniel and Jennifer Cheely. include Jennifer Cheely, the nail tech, and Kellie Kitchens, master stylist. “Word of mouth and our customers are our best advertisement. Thank you to each and every one of our wonderful customers. What

a humbling honor it is that, out of all the other extremely talented salons in our area, you chose to bless us with your business. We do not consider ourselves the best, only to give our best,”Daniel said.

Best Lawn Care is Poss

Poss Lawn Care, in business for 15 years, has been selected as the best lawn care service in McDuffie County by the voters. The business, located at 1240 Old Salem Road in Thomson, is open seven days a week from daylight to dark, doing lawn care and sprinklers. The key people working for the business include David Umberger, foreman, and Roger Ruff and Dean Martin. Ty Poss, the owner, credits his success to his employThe McDuffie Progress/Wayne Parham ees and satisfied customers, Shown from left are David Umberger, Ty and he said he is proud and Poss, Roger Ruff and Dean Martin. honored to be selected.

Remnant & Rug Shop is Best Carpet Shop


THURSDAY • February 25, 2016

The Remnant & Rug Shop, located at 1280 Washington Road, was voted Best Carpet Shop for Best of McDuffie 2015. The business, owned by the Swann family, has been operating since 1973 and has been in its current location since 1985. The key people for the business The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs include Raymond Remnant & Rug Shop received Best Carpet Swann, president, Shop for Best of McDuffie 2015. Mark and Stephen Swann, managers, and Ronnie Bohler, administrative assistant. The Remnant & Rug Shop sells and installs all types of floor covering, both residential and commercial. “Our keys to success are customer service, buying at low prices and passing savings onto our customers,” Raymond Swann said. “I just want to thank our loyal customers that trust us and keep coming back.”


Coldwell Banker Watson & Knox is Best Real Estate Company

The McDuffie Progress/Brian Hobbs

Coldwell Banker Watson & Knox, a local real estate company, is located at 219 Main St. in Thomson.

Coldwell Banker Watson & Knox Real Estate was voted Best Real Estate Company for Best of McDuffie 2015. Andy Knox, president, and Tina Clark, agent/office manager, help run the company that has been around since 1929. “We distinguish ourselves by taking care of our clients and bringing value

to every transaction we are involved in,” Knox said. “This is a tribute to the real estate agents that are affiliated with our firm.” Coldwell Banker Watson & Knox is located at 219 Main Street and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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