Hair Dressing, Not Hair Guessing

Hair Dressing, Not Hair Guessing

As much as they loved him, when their own son asked to join the teaching staff at COLLECTIV Hair Dressing Academy upon finishing his hairdresser training, Kenny and Lenore Gibson turned him down!

They insisted he obtain plenty of experience as an elite hairdresser before he could have the opportunity to teach at the school the husband-and-wife team founded.

This is one of the reasons you’ll feel an air of legitimacy when you step inside COLLECTIVE Hairdressing Academy. They are the real deal. The students are eager and driven; the instructors are confident and experienced. No nepotism here!

The TONI&GUY Years

When the world-famous salon TONI&GUY (headquartered in London) was opening their first location outside of Europe in Dallas, Kenny and Lenore joined the team that led the way.

During their years with TONI&GUY, the Gibsons helped them grow from a couple of salons to 80 in North America. They also became partners and started the company’s first franchise hairdressing academy.

All the while, they trained and retrained expert hairdressers around the globe.

Calling Salt Lake City Home

After their initial success, the Gibsons ventured out on their own to create another opportunity. They founded COLLECTIV Hairdressing Academy, Salt Lake’s premier cosmetology and barbering school.

While they are the new kids on the block, the Gibsons are as expert and experienced as they come. The academy itself is very modern, with custom-made equipment and workstations. They understand that hairdressing and teaching hairdressing are two different skills, and their instructors must be masters of both — no exceptions.

I have never spoken to business owners as passionate about their work as they are. Even after doing it all, they are still excited about doing it all again with COLLECTIV Hairdressing Academy.

How to Truly Attend Your Own Event

It’s ironic that one of the happiest days in a person’s life can also be the most stressful. For weddings (and other big events), the people with the greatest cause for celebration are often so busy that they are unable to truly celebrate!

“When we started catering, weddings were especially a challenge. We’d talk to the families afterward and they often didn’t enjoy the experience, even if the food was exquisite,” said Kelly Christensen of Caley’s Catering & Events. “They’d be up all night preparing or breaking down, too tired to go to the reception, and just too busy to enjoy the wedding.”

The Turning Point

In an attempt to lighten the load for one bride’s parents, Kelly picked up the mic to handle announcements and keep things organized. Their response? “Oh, I feel so relieved!”

At that moment, Kelly and his cofounder, Caley, realized the direction in which they needed to shift their business. They were to expand beyond just providing delicious food by becoming the one-stop shop for life’s special occasions.

In the Same Boat as You!

Since their first events 24 years ago, Caley’s Catering has had many opportunities to sample their own wares, including Kelly and Caley’s oldest daughter getting married. Kelly approached their team and had them use the same process for his family as they would a regular customer.

He said, “As parents, we didn’t have to do anything!” They were able to take a hands-off approach to planning, while the rest of the team orchestrated a wedding fit for a Disney princess.

Attend Your Own Event

However, Caley’s is so much more than catering. Even “full service” fails to describe them adequately.

No detail is too small; you might even say they specialize in the little things. There are a thousand details that need to be seen to during a wedding, and Caley’s Catering & Events doesn’t want those details to distract you from the big day. Let them see to the little stuff so that you can attend your own event.

What Makes the Best of SLC the Best?

No other “best of” contest cares about getting it right as much as Best of SLC does, period. What sets Best of SLC apart is our relentless aim to find and recognize the very best companies and places that SLC has to offer.
We’re able to find the best because we do it differently:
» No pay to play — participation is free.
» You choose the nominees; we don’t.
» Online reviews help determine the winners.

Gone are the days of the glorified popularity contest that allows companies to win with an endless supply of duplicate votes provided by employees. With Best of SLC, tricksters are unable to manipulate the results!


New for the 2020 Best of SLC are two major improvements to last year’s awards:
#1: Text Message Registration
To reduce duplicates, our voting software now utilizes text message verification. This security feature is a great boon to maintaining the integrity of your vote.
#2: BBB Partnership
Could a company truly be named the “best” if they’ve lost their accreditation with the Better Business Bureau? No, and neither should companies with negative BBB ratings.
Thanks to our local BBB office, which provided access to its expansive company data, we were able to filter out those that came up short.


There are three stages to Best of SLC, all of which may increase a contestant’s chances of winning:

January 20–31, 2020 — We launched by opening up the nominations to anyone living in the Salt Lake Valley. Word spread quickly and in just 11 days we saw many more nominations than last year pour in from all over SLC.
March 16–April 24, 2020 — After determining the top nominees in each category, we opened up the voting round with our new software. We had a few initial bumps, but we soon settled in and received even more votes than last year’s contest.
Nominees didn’t mess around either. Many got the word out to their customers on social media. Some hung banners and window clings to attract the vote. In the end, we came away with the top three finalists in each category.
April 25, 2019 to April 24, 2020 — In reality, the contest started before it even started! We counted the reviews and ratings for each finalist from the previous twelve calendar months.
Announcing the Winners
June 4, 2020 — Once all the data was in, we added the vote total to the review score for each finalist. This final score determined the winners.
2020 has been challenging for businesses in SLC and around the globe. Many of you have made drastic changes and sacrifices in an effort to help our community make it through the COVID-19 epidemic.
Our team at the Best of SLC was very excited to honor this year’s winners at our banquet, which was postponed (twice) and finally cancelled when it was clear that health restrictions would make it impossible to do. Rest assured, we intend to make it up to you next time by throwing the Best Banquet in SLC ever!


2020 Best of SLC Results

You did it, Salt Lake residents! It may have taken a little longer than expected, and we may have had to cancel the banquet (twice) — but the long-awaited results for the 2020 Best of SLC are here!

We received tens of thousands of votes to find the best businesses and attractions in Salt Lake County. The Better Business Bureau vetted the finalists while our team counted hundreds of thousands of reviews to calculate the winners.

The Best of SLC finalists received 176,241 5-star Reviews in the last year.

Now the plan was to announce the results at our fancy and fun Best of SLC Awards Banquet the first week of May; you might be aware that something happened that made that impossible. Plan B was to hold the banquet on June 4th, but that didn’t work either.

While we had to forego the ceremony this year, we can all still celebrate our community and the incredible businesses that are part of it.

[maxbutton id=”3″ window=”new” ]

Tip Your Hat to these Best of SLC All-Stars

SLC most reviews

Amber Rene Salon

Usana amphitheatre

Freshies Lobsterdouble winnersWhat Do We Do Now?

Share that victory with your customers with a shiny new plaque…

Once again, this year’s award plaques are available for sale to ALL FINALISTS. The deadline to order is June 26th, so be sure you don’t miss out!

2020 Best of SLC Plaque[maxbutton id=”4″ window=”new” ]

…and share it with new customers in the Best of SLC Magazine!

You’ll get exposure to 10,000 affluent households and local businesses PLUS boost your association with the Best of SLC. The magazine is sure to give you and your company positive exposure throughout 2020!

2020 Best of SLC Magazine[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”” text=”View Magazine” window=”new” ]


Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s awards!

Best of SLC Presents Your 2020 Finalists!

After reviewing approximately a gazillion (give or take a little) votes cast for the 2020 Best of SLC nominees, we’re happy to announce the finalists for each category. Since voting ended on April 24th, we’ve been hard at work confirming the results.

This year, votes were cast with ballots secured through text message verification, and the finalists were vetted by the Better Business Bureau. We’re confident that these rock-solid results represent the Best of SLC.

When Will the Winners be Announced?

We’re almost there! While the top vote-getters move on as finalists, votes alone aren’t enough to take home the gold. We’re tabulating the number of 5-star reviews from the last year and the ratings for each finalist. We expect to be able to announce the 2020 Best of SLC winners the first week of June.

Votes + 5-star Reviews + Review Rating = Final Score

2020 finalists

Congratulations to all of our finalists for the 2020 Best of SLC Awards!


2020 Best of SLC Ballots Are In!

Ballots for the 2020 Best of SLCTM are in, and it looks to be a phenomenal success. The businesses and attractions that were up for voting in their respective categories were nominated by Salt Lake residents in March and April. Those that received enough nominations earned their spots on the ballot.

Tens of thousands of votes were cast to show support for businesses and attractions in our community. We were overwhelmed with the enthusiastic response and can’t wait to share the finalists of each category.

What Happens Now

We want the Best of SLCTM Awards to be as fair as possible, so our team is working hard to calculate the results and verify the findings. We use a scoring system that relies on a combination of votes and reviews from Google and Yelp.

Count Ballots

Who had the most votes? Other contests are prone to spamming, duplicate votes, or cheating. Best of SLCTM only counts unique votes for each category. This year we stepped up our game by using text message verification for each ballot. While technology makes counting easy, we still need to verify the results.

Check with the BBB

The Best of SLCTM has partnered with the Better Business Bureau to certify our finalists. The top vote-getters must also not have a negative grade with the BBB in order to become a finalist (no rating is still okay). Their rating system utilizes a grading scale just like you used in school, going from an A+ down to an F, graded on 17 different factors. This rating represents a business’s overall trustworthiness and their good-faith efforts to address customer concerns.

Count Reviews

The Best of SLCTM isn’t like most “Best of” contests, which simply count votes. We realize that the community has already been showing their support for the “best” by leaving reviews all year long, so we’re going to count every 5-star review published on Google and Yelp within the last 12 months.

*Events of the last 2 months have meant that many reviews left haven’t yet been posted to Google. We won’t lock in the results until we’re sure that every review has been counted.

Calculate Score

While votes and reviews signify great work in the last year, overall ratings on Google and Yelp tell us how nominees have done long term. The mean rating from these platforms will be used in conjunction with 5-star reviews and votes to determine the winners.

Number of Votes + Number of 5-star Reviews + Average Rating = Score

Announce Finalists

The top nominees of each category will be publicly announced next week once we’ve verified our results. Finalists will also be notified by letter and email as soon as possible.

Announce Winners

Winners will be announced at the Best of SLCTM Awards Banquet on June 4th, 2020*. Finalists will be invited to purchase tickets for the celebration. The banquet includes a red carpet entrance, a fancy dinner, photos, and other special prizes and opportunities.

*Banquet date is subject to change due to recent events

Thank You

We’re grateful to everyone for the support and participation in this year’s Best of SLCTM awards. It’s been a lot of fun, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s contest!

2020 Best of SLC Keeps on Rollin’


Voting for the 2020 Best of SLCTM opened on March 16th, and the results have been fantastic. Tens of thousands of votes have poured in, confirming the Best of SLCTM as the most popular business awards in the state.

But you ain’t seen nothin’, yet.

It seems no amount of votes can satiate our contest overlord (pictured above), so for this and other reasons we are extending the voting period through April 24th, 2020.

Voting Ends April 24th, 2020

It’s been a tough few weeks for just about everyone. Social distancing has obviously resulted in some sudden changes to the state of business in Salt Lake, as everyone takes measures to limit the spread of It Which Must Not Be Named.

But nothing is stopping community residents from voicing their opinions, something that can easily be done from the comfort of home. We’ve already got a ton of momentum, so please keep the votes and reviews coming. Our local businesses need your support now more than ever!

Mark Your Calendars for June 4th, 2020

You know what sounds great after a month or two of sheltering in place? Getting out of the house for a fun night of gourmet food, entertainment, and awards. The Best of SLCTM Awards Banquet is THE event where we’ll announce the winners of this year’s competition.

The banquet is to be held June 4th, 2020, so get the mothballs out of those penguin suits and pull those glittery dresses out of the closet.

Hump Day Giveaway

New for 2020, we have been doing a weekly contest we’re calling the Hump Day Giveaway. For every new voter you refer after registering your own ballot (through the on-page link), you’ll be entered into a drawing for a great prize!

Already voted? That’s fine — while your vote only counts once for each category, you’re welcome to come back and vote for any of the dozens of other categories.

Our Hump Day Giveaway Winners Thus Far…

Snider Bros. Meats


Best of SLC prize

Snider Bros. Meats generously donated a tasty meat bundle worth $218.85! The prize includes their Four of a Kind Package (6 lbs each of top sirloin steak, pork chops, boneless chicken breast, and lean ground beef), aprons, and a full selection of sauces and rubs. This incredible package was won by Natalie N.




Robyn C.
Robyn C. of West Valley City was the lucky winner of a Premier Couples Massage Package (valued at $218), compliments of Spavia.




Stern team
Casey E.

The Stern Team provided a $250 gift card to Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which was won by Casey E. This is the same restaurant that won both Best Fine Dining and Best Steak in last year’s Best of SLCTM Awards.



Utah Facial Plastics

Stephanie D.


Stephanie D. was the big winner of a HydraFacial + Botox package from Utah Facial Plastics, last year’s Best of SLC in Plastic Surgery.



We have a fantastic prize coming every week until voting ends. So, let’s continue the momentum and recognize the best companies and places that SLC has to offer!

The BBB Supports SLC

We’re very pleased to announce our new partnership with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Who better to partner with than the non-profit organization that’s been looking out for consumers since 1912?

Behind the scenes, our team at Inbound Systems is constantly working to find the best ways to identify and recognize the top businesses and organizations in Utah. This often involves long hours, heated debates, and the occasional Greco-Roman wrestling match to settle an argument. 😉

Two Peas in a Pod

We want to ensure the best possible outcome for the Best of SLC, which is why an exclusive partnership with the BBB made sense. The Better Business Bureau’s mission to improve marketplace trust makes them a perfect partner for us. 

After all, the Better Business Bureau is one of America’s most enduring customer protection organizations. For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. BBB sets standards for ethical business behavior and monitors compliance. That’s why in the past year alone, people have turned to them more than 173 million times!

The BBB Rating System

The modern rating system utilizes a grading scale just like you used in school, going from an A+ down to an F, graded on 17 different factors. This rating represents a business’s overall trustworthiness and their good-faith efforts to address customer concerns.

If you’d like to see how your business stacks up, you can check your rating on your BBB page.

Formula for Winning

New for our 2020 contest, we will be incorporating BBB ratings into scoring. Winners are still determined mathematically by a combination of votes, reviews, and ratings, but standing within the BBB is now an important factor in online ratings. We believe that this will help ensure that only the best businesses can win Best of SLC

For example, those businesses that have very low BBB ratings, government actions or penalties, and a historical pattern of unresolved disputes will have a tough time proving they’re the best in Salt Lake County.

Still Free

The Best of SLC is not a pay-to-play contest. While the BBB offers accreditation and operates through the funding of dues-paying members, accreditation will not be a factor in or influence the results of scoring. To learn more about what’s needed to win, visit our 2020 Contest page

For more information about the Better Business Bureau serving our area, visit their website or call (801) 336-1526. Our team is very excited about this new partnership and what it means for making the most popular “Best of” contest in Utah even best-ier!


Make Your Nominations for the 2020 Best of SLC

And we’re back! The Best of SLC solidified its position as the best “Best of” contest in Utah last year — in its very first year! Great job, everyone! We’re back to set the pace for the next decade, and we expect it to be even bestier this time.

Get your mouse-clicking digits warmed up because nominations for the 2020 Best of SLC begin January 20 and are open through January 31, 2020. Participants who nominate 10 or more businesses will be entered in a drawing to win a $100 gift card from Amazon (multiple prizes awarded).

2020 nominations

“I live under a literal rock. What’s the Best of SLC?”

Good question. The Best of SLC™ is an awards contest that aims to recognize the best businesses in the community. The contest includes nine groups with around 170 total categories. We use a combination of 5-star reviews, online ratings, and community votes to determine the winners of each respective category. You can read more about how the contest works right here.

Nominations take place online from January 20, 2020 through January 31, 2020. Anyone with a mobile phone and a Salt Lake County zip code can vote. The top ten nominations in each category will progress to the voting round. The voting period is March 16 – April 3, 2020. The Best of SLC™ finalists for each category will be announced after the voting round. The winners will then be announced at the awards banquet in May.

We’ve made some great changes to the Best of SLC this year to make it even better. Take a look at what you need to know for 2020.


What You Need to Know for the 2020 Best of SLC

The 2020 Best of SLCTM nominations are just around the corner, and we’re looking forward to crowning the cream of the crop, as determined by you. Last year’s inaugural contest already established us as the best “best of” contest in Utah, but we’re not resting on our laurels. We’ve got a fresh decade to work with, so let’s make it the best one yet for Salt Lake City and our nearby communities.

Important Dates for the 2020 Best of SLC

January 20th: Nominations open to all SLC residents
January 31st: Nominations close.
March 3rd: Last day to order voting materials
March 16th: Voting begins
April 3rd: Voting ends
April 7th: Finalists announced
April 16th: Tickets for the 2020 Best of SLC Awards Banquet on sale
May 7th: 2020 Best of SLC Awards Banquet

Learn more about how the Best of SLCTM works.

What’s New This Year

We’ve developed a new system for voting that validates ballots via text message. This is a security feature designed to protect the integrity of the vote. It has been very successful in testing and prevents all that funny business that can occur with strictly online or email ballots. You can review our privacy policy here, but the short version is we will not share your information with anyone.

How do we decide on what categories to include?

The Best of SLC Awards tries to compare apples to apples, the same as any of your potential customers would. As of this writing, we have 175 various categories nested within nine different groups. Most categories are very specific to an industry, such as “Best Plumber”. Some categories are more broad, like “Best Contractor”.

There is no feedback we receive that causes more debate than determining which categories to include. So how do we make those decisions?

Step #1: Make a Suggestion

Many of our changes begin as suggestions from those within their industries. Perhaps a user wants to nominate their brother’s auto towing company, only to find out that there wasn’t a category that fits them. They might then contact us to make their suggestion to include towing as a new category.

Step #2: Evaluate the Category Suggestion

We don’t mean to exclude anyone, so our first step is to evaluate the suggested category and see if there is a reason why it didn’t already exist. Perhaps it’s a specialized niche that’s already covered by an existing category, such as an attorney that specializes in DUI defense. They fit right within the “Criminal Defense Law Firm” and “Best Law Firm” categories. Other reasons a category might not already exist for various specialties are a lack of competition, it might create confusion, or maybe we just overlooked it.

Yep, sometimes we make mistakes because we aren’t experts in every industry. We’re happy to fix them if we can, we just ask for your help and your patience to do so.

Step #3: Is the Category Competitive?

I’ve personally enjoyed throwing axes and knives for over 20 years, so I’d be thrilled to include a niche category specifically for such a thing. But while there are a few places of business in SLC that offer axe throwing activities and instruction, there are simply not enough to justify axe throwing as its own category (for now).

Our general rule of thumb is that there needs to be at least 10-20 quality competitors to be considered. When we say “quality”, each nominee should specialize in this area and would need to have their own Google My Business page, Facebook page, and website.

Step #4: Discussion and Vote

When we determine that a new category suggestion is 1) distinct from other categories and 2) has a sufficient number of qualified competitors, then the change is discussed and voted on by a panel of 3-5 judges. We try to be as fair as possible, and sometimes these debates have become heated because we want to offer the best experience possible.

If a majority of the panel approves the new category, it can then be added as its own entity under the appropriate group.

Do you know a category that would be great to include for Best of SLCTM? Let us know by using our contact form.