Thursday, 25 July 2019 15:54

Best of the West: Services & People Winners

Written by  Josh Veal
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Where would any of our Best of the West winners be without people? Nowhere! Businesses don’t build themselves. 

The service industry is especially people-centric. You may never see your waiter again, but many of us return to the same hair stylist every single time. Personally, for instance, I visit Emily Hauschild for all my cuts, and this year she rocketed into first place as best Hair Stylist. Close behind her are two of her peers, Hailey Ullrey and Morgan Carlson, at Meraki Salon, which also won best Salon. Clearly, that place is doing something — or maybe everything — right.

This year, we added a couple categories, including Barber, which we always should’ve had, and Makeup Artist, a popular category we didn’t fully appreciate. People care about how they look and stylists, barbers and makeup artists all play a big part in that.

So do photographers, whether they’re taking headshots, engagement photos or capturing your wedding. Back in the lead for best Photographer is Katy Batdorff, who sometimes shoots for this very magazine, followed by Devin Hendrick, who I went to high school with, and Leigh Ann Cobb, who I went to college with. Small world! Now that I say it out loud, this might seem suspicious, but I’m a man of honor and anyone who lives in West Michigan knows the incredible web of connections you make just by being here for a few years.

Speaking of which, Tyler Devereaux Interior Designs (third place for Interior Designer) has had a hand in multiple other Best of the West winners, such as Buffalo Traders Lounge and The Commons, which won first place for Ambience. Meanwhile, the first place designer, Kaci Brander of Refined Design, has crafted the space for multiple homes and offices across the state.

Another interesting category is always Advocate/Activist. Practically everyone knows Tami VandenBerg and Tommy Allen, so we’re not too surprised to see them in the top three, but Graci Harkema is a newcomer to BOTW. Earlier this year, Harkema joined on as the diversity and inclusion director at Founders Brewing Co., which was dealing with some major issues in that arena. She’s since led the charge on making sure the company is completely inclusive and supporting the rights of all people outside of its walls as well. Cheers!

We could go on and on, but instead, here are a few other points of interest:

  • The Credit Union/Bank winners are all credit unions! That might be just because credit unions are so good, or it might be because most banks are disqualified on account of not being “local.”
  • Some bartenders just stick with you. Brian Denboer and Dan Dixon are back again in the top three! This time, Rob Hanks of Reserve joins as well.
  • Trimell Hawkins of Forty Acres Soul Kitchen jumped into second place for best Chef. He was on our cover, so it must be thanks to that Revue bump. (Just kidding, it’s because the food is great and he’s cool.)


1. Tami VandenBerg

2. Graci Harkema
3. Tommy Allen


1. Raquel Salas Guzman
Avanti Law Group PLLC.

2. James Scozzari - Tanis Schultz Attorneys and Counselors
3. Robert Buchanan - Buchanan and Buchanan Litigation Counsel

Auto Repair

1. Westside Garage
856 7th St. NW, Grand Rapids

2. Community Automotive Repair
3. Veenstra’s Auto Repair

Bank/Credit Union

1. Lake Michigan Credit Union
Multiple Locations -

2. Consumers Credit Union
3. Adventure Credit Union

Barber Shop

1. Henchmen House
1503 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

2. Kings Room Barbershop
3. Rogue Haircut & Shave Parlour

Henchmen House.


1. Tommy Rodriguez
Henchmen House
1503 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

2. Jazz Johnson - Rogue Haircut & Shave Parlour
3. Rob Smith - Forest Hills Barber Shop


1. Lydia Lewis
570 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids

2. Mallory Root - Roots Brew Shop
3. (Tie) Taylor Hutchinson - The Sparrows Coffee & Tea & Newsstand
3. (Tie) Yoshi Saka - Field & Fire Cafe


1. Brian Denboer
Harmony Brewing Company
1551 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids

2. Dan Dixon - Founders Brewing Co.
3. Rob Hanks - Reserve Wine & Food

Bed & Breakfast

1. The Lafayette House Bed & Breakfast
135 Lafayette Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

2. Peaches Bed & Breakfast
3. Harbor House Inn

Bicycle Shop

1. Freewheeler Bike Shop
915 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids 

2. Grand Rapids Bicycle Co.
3. Village Bike & Fitness

Car Wash/Detailing

1. Breton Auto Wash
1970 Breton Rd. SE, Grand Rapids

2. Crystal Clean Auto Detailing
3. Walker Car Wash


1. Jenna Arcidiacono
Amore Trattoria Italiana
5080 Alpine Ave. NW, Comstock Park

2. Trimell Hawkins - Forty Acres Soul Kitchen 
3. Ryan Martin - Zoko 822

Dog Groomer

1. Leah Bell
Eastown Veterinary Clinic
1350 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids

2. Mallory Knight - Fido & Stitch
3. Molly Boast - PetCo

Fitness Club/Gym

1. GRIT Life
1730 Olson St. NE Suite C, Grand Rapids

2. MVP Athletic Clubs
3. Allegro Coaching

Hair Stylist

1. Emily Hauschild
Meraki Salon
6743 Courtland Dr. NE Suite #100, Rockford

2. Hailey Ullrey - Meraki Salon
3. Morgan Carlson - Meraki Salon

Interior Designer

1. Kaci Brander
Refined Design
4628 Hidden Canyon Ct. NE, Ada

2. Jessica Crosby - Delight In Designs
3. Tylor Devereaux - Tylor Devereaux Interior Design

Makeup Artist

1. Jess Carae
940 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids

2. Josh Thiel
3. Erick Gerson


1. Abby Comtois
Chasing Vanity Salon & Spa
150 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

2. Urban Massage
3. Simply Massage - Rockford

Moving Company

1. Two Men and a Truck
Multiple Locations -

2. The Trusted Movers, LLC
3. Big Lake Movers

Nail Salon

1. Chasing Vanity Salon & Spa
150 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

2. Posh Nails & Spa
3. Sara’s Nails


1. Grand Rapids Ophthalmology
Multiple Locations -

2. (Tie) Honest Eyes Optical, Rx Optical
3. West Michigan Eyecare Associates

Personal Trainer

1. Christian Roberts
Streetfit Coaching

2. Sondra Vogel - Fight 2 Get Fit
3. Craig Duncan - Grit Life


1. Katy Batdorff

2. Devin Hendrick
3. Leigh Ann Cobb

Piercing Artist

1. George Egy
Honest to Goodness Tattoo
333 Grandville Ave. SW #300, Grand Rapids

2. Nicole Ashley - Honest to Goodness Tattoo
3. Andrew Stevenson - Screaming Needle


1. Santiago Gomez
Santiago Properties
4301 Canal Ave. SW, Grandville

2. Pete Bruinsma - Grand River Realty
3. Alison Glowinski - Mitten Real Estate


1. Meraki Salon
6743 Courtland Dr. NE Suite #100, Rockford

2. Chasing Vanity Salon & Spa
3. Cheeky Strut


1. Design 1 Salon Spa
Multiple locations -

2. Wanderlux Beauty & Wellness Spa
3. Chasing Vanity Medi Spa

Stand-Up Comedian

1. Dave Dyer

2. (Tie) Kaira Williams, Stu McCallister
3. Matt Lauria

Tattoo Artist

1. Tony Putt
Love Tattoo
127 Old M-21, Jenison

2. Gareth Hawkins - Sovereign Arms Tattoo Co.
3. Tiffany Elmergreen - Honest to Goodness Tattoo

Tattoo/Piercing Shop

1. Honest to Goodness Tattoo & Piercing
333 Grandville Ave. SW #300, Grand Rapids

2. Sovereign Arms Tattoo
3. Love Tattoo

Vet/Animal Clinic

1. Eastown Veterinary Clinic
1350 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids

2. Family Friends Veterinary Hospital
3. Cascade Hospital for Animals

Lindsey Rae Duchon. Photo by tiffany ann photography

Wedding Planner

1. Lindsey Rae Duchon
Cheeky Strut and Siren & Proper
216 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

2. Alyssa Ferguson - Fleurology Designs
3. Adrien Harding - RSVP Events

Yoga Studio

1. Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse
Multiple locations -

2. AM Yoga
3. Twisted Hot Yoga

Staff Picks

Best Bartender
Jamie Beyer, Butch’s Dry Dock
44 E. 8th St., Holland

Attention to detail, passion and craft characterize Jamie Beyer’s work as a bartender at Butch’s Dry Dock, a high-end bar and restaurant downtown Holland. Each one of her drinks is like a painting in the Louvre, garnished to perfection and layered with complex bursts of flavor. Beyer celebrates every customer’s taste for adventure, patiently describing drinks on the menu and providing personal recommendations that are sure to hit the spot. — Michaela Stock

Best Chef
Scott Petersen, SpeakEZ Lounge
600 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

I don’t know Scott Petersen personally, but I do know that he’s been with SpeakEZ since the beginning and has made it one of the best restaurants in town since 2012. He conceptualized and executed a menu unlike anything else in town. The Mister Florentine, with mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, spinach and roasted garlic aioli on sourdough bread, herb-grilled and topped with an absolutely amazing, creamy bechamel sauce and egg? I think about it daily. In fact, when I think about getting some great brunch, I think about SpeakEZ, but I’ve always been delighted by dinner as well, especially in recent years. That’s all (I assume) thanks to Petersen.— Josh Veal

Makeup Artist
Makeup By Jamie

If you’re looking for the perfect smokey eye, stunning lashes or the loveliest blending you’ve seen, Jamie is the person for you. The richest reds in lipsticks, the calmest neutral tones, and the best eyeliner I’ve seen in a long time are all just little works of magic from the hands of this artist who works in Grand Rapids and Grandville. Knowing her and seeing her do this all in person, she’s fun, energetic and patient, which all reflects in her work. If you want to look special for your special day, head to her. — Abi Safago

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