The phone is about to start ringing.
Every year at about this time, my voicemail fills up with calls from angry business owners who are livid that they weren't selected for Top of the Town, our annual guide to the best people, places, and things in Denver. More often than not, their angry messages end with what they think is a trump card:
"Well, I know for a fact that Top of the Town awards only go to your advertisers."
The fact that 160 of this issue's 284 winners don't advertise in 5280 rarely sways these outraged callers, so I used to respond with a standard J-school speech about the separation of advertising and editorial being as important as the government's separation between church and state. Of course, these days there's a lot less separation between church and state than there used to be, so that argument doesn't get me very far either.
In its place, I've adopted a far less lofty response. Simply put, Top of the Town awards are a lousy way to sell advertising.
Don't believe me? Consider that eight local jewelers regularly advertise in 5280. But our Top Jeweler category only has two winners, one chosen by readers, the other by our editors. Which means that in the next few days I can expect calls from at least six angry clients (and their wives and their friends and their loyal customers). Multiply that by more than 140 categories and you'll start to see why our sales reps dread answering the phones in the days after Top of the Town hits the streets.
Of course, smart advertisers understand that Top of the Town is the best place for their message, as this issue of 5280 will sell nearly 30,000 copies on the newsstand alone, which means in Denver it will outsell InStyle, Oprah, and US Weekly combined. They understand that Top of the Town is firmly entrenched as the premier "Best Of" guide in Denver, meaning that readers will refer back to it again and again throughout the year ahead.
Thanks to a record number of those smart advertisers, we're able to bring you our biggest issue ever, complete with 48 pages of Top of the Town, as chosen both by our editors and from more than 21,000 nominations submitted by our readers. The issue also includes all of our regular departments, Lindsey Koehler's roundup of summer road trips, and a look at "Colorado's Most Amazing Race," by National Magazine Award finalist Christopher McDougall.