Palmer & Johnson Family Dental the big winners at this year’s Best of Safford Awards

David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central. Safford Mayor Jason Kouts, left, and Safford Downtown Association President Danny Smith go online to present the 2019 Best of Safford Awards Wednesday at the Safford Theater.

SAFFORD — With the governor’s stay-at-home executive order still in effect, and social distancing being practiced by local leaders, the Safford Downtown Association went online to present the 2019 Best of Safford Awards.

The awards were streamed live on Facebook Wednesday from the Safford Theater on Main Street, which is currently under renovation.

Safford Downtown Association President Danny Smith hosted the show and was joined by fellow Downtown Association board members John Howard and Jacque Attaway, as well as Safford Mayor Jason Kouts and Graham County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vance Bryce, in presenting this year’s winners.

“Obviously, I had some help from Weston Wiltbank, of WBNK Media, he was our camera man and our promoter for the event and we appreciate him. And Vance Bryce, with the Chamber of Commerce; he helped set up. (The chamber) always helps us; we’ve partnered with them to give these awards away for the last 10 years,” Smith said.

Palmer & Johnson Family Dental won two awards — the Business Excellence Award and Best Customer Service.

Casa Manana won the Best Dining Experience award, while the Best Business Newcomer Award went to the Rustic Barn Bakery and the Best Business Remodel Award was presented to Safford Builders Supply/Ace Hardware.

Smith said he’s looking forward to next year’s awards, to conduct the ceremony in the “traditional manner. Maybe we can do a blend, that would be fun. Maybe we could combine (live and online) somehow together, and have a live crowd rather than phony applause.”

Editor’s note: David Bell is a member of the Safford Downtown Association Board.