Best of Northwest Indiana
Our readers pick their favorites in products, businesses, services and lifestyle.
When Northwest Indiana residents find a good thing, they let people know. And that’s what they’ve been doing since last October, logging into the Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly website and voting for the “Best Of Northwest Indiana Business.”
If it’s a product or service, Northwest Indiana customers and readers of NWIBQ want to let everyone know who has the best service, where to go to get a great meal or where the best place is to hold a meeting or even work.
In dozens of categories, readers have made their choices. For those who took the time to scroll through the categories and vote, we thank you. By voting, you have given deserved recognition to some special Northwest Indiana businesses, and you have helped to make Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly your own.
While the votes have been tallied for the “Best of Northwest Indiana Business,” we’re asking that you send us your comments about this year’s poll. Is there a category that should be added? Should there be more room for feedback? Was the questionnaire too long? Did it take too much time to complete?
Let us know. We’re already looking to the 2012 edition of “Best of Northwest Indiana.” We want to make it one of the best. We’re listening.
And finally, all are winners in our books, even if you were listed as a runner-up! Congratulations!
BEST COMPANY TO WORK FOR
Winners: Centier Bank, Merrillville; Horizon Bank, Michigan City; Northern Indiana Public Service Co., Merrillville; Peoples Bank, Munster; Porter Hospital, Valparaiso; Franciscan St. Anthony Medical Center-Crown Point.
BEST MEETING SITE FOR SMALL GROUPS (under 100)
Winner: Strongbow Inn, Valparaiso.
Runners-up: Briar Ridge Country Club, Schererville; Sand Creek Country Club, Chesterton; Gamba Ristorante, Merrillville; The Inn At Aberdeen, Valparaiso.
BEST MEETING SITE FOR LARGE GROUPS
Winner: The Avalon Manor, Hobart.
Runners-up: Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa, Michigan City; The Star Plaza, Merrillville; Horseshoe Casino, Hammond; Sand Creek Country Club, Chesterton; Harre Student Union, Valparaiso University.
BEST CONVENTION SITE
Winner: The Star Plaza, Merrillville.
Runners-up: Horseshoe Casino, Hammond; Porter County Expo Center, Valparaiso; Avalon Manor, Hobart; Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa, Michigan City.
BEST HOTEL FOR BUSINESS EVENTS
Winner: The Star Plaza, Merrillville.
Runners-up: Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa, Michigan City; Hilton Garden Inn, Chesterton; Hampton Inn, LaPorte, Merrillville, Munster, Portage, South Bend and Valparaiso.
BEST CASINO FOR BUSINESS MEETINGS AND EVENTS
Winner: Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa, Michigan City.
Runners-up: Ameristar, East Chicago; Four Winds, New Buffalo, Mich.; The Majestic Star, Gary; Horseshoe Casino, Hammond.
BEST RESTAURANT FOR BUSINESS ENTERTAINING
Winner: Gino’s Steakhouse, Merrillville and Dyer.
Runners-up: Gamba Ristorante, Merrillville; Ciao Bella, Schererville; The Lighthouse, Cedar Lake; Industrial Revolution, Valparaiso.
BEST CATERER FOR BUSINESS EVENTS
Winner: Comfort’s Catering, St. John.
Runners-up: Strongbow Inn, Valparaiso; Great Lakes Catering, Michigan City; Bistro 157, Valparaiso; Scarborough Faire Cafe & Bakery, Schererville.
BEST ACCOUNTING FIRM
Winners: McMahon & Associates P.C., Munster; Swartz Retson & Co., Merrillville.
Runners-up: Crowe Horwath, South Bend; Laciak Accountancy Group, P.C., Schererville; Prasco & Snearly, Crown Point; Rowley Bushue, Michigan City; Clifton Gunderson, Schererville.
BEST ADVERTISING AGENCY FOR A BUSINESS
Winner: AC Inc., Valparaiso.
Runners-up: Group 7even, Valparaiso; VIA Marketing, Merrillville; Marrs Media Group, Valparaiso; Morse & Co., Michigan City; Diversified Marketing Strategies, Crown Point; Moran Design, Hammond; Greenlight Creative, Hammond.
BEST AD AGENCY FOR DEVELOPING A CORPORATE IMAGE CAMPAIGN
Winner: AC Inc., Valparaiso.
Runners-up: Via Marketing, Merrillville; The Barbauld Agency, Valparaiso; Marrs Media Group, Valparaiso; Morse & Co., Michigan City.
BEST WEB DESIGN COMPANY
Winner: Atom Groom Design LLC, Crown Point.
Runners-up: Golden Technologies, Valparaiso; AC Inc., Valparaiso; Morse & Co., Michigan City; Group 7even, Valparaiso; V as in Victor, Hobart.
BEST ONLINE E-MARKETING COMPANY
Winner: AC Inc., Valparaiso.
Runners-up: Group 7even, Valparaiso; Ideas In Motion, Valparaiso; Marrs Media Group, Valparaiso.
BEST COMMERCIAL PRINTER
Winner: Home Mountain Printing, Valparaiso.
Runners-up: Largus Printing, Munster; Digital Printworks, Merrillville; Foster Printing, Michigan City; Lithographic Communications, Munster.
BEST BANK FOR BUSINESS
Winner: Centier, Merrillville.
Runners-up (all area locations): 1st Source; Citizens Financial Bank; Peoples Bank; Fifth Third; Horizon Bank; First Financial Bank; First Midwest Bank; Chase Bank; Harris Bank.
BEST BANK FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE
Winner: Horizon Bank, Michigan City.
Runners-up (all locations): Peoples Bank; Centier; Fifth Third; First Financial; Citizens Bank; Chase Bank; Harris Bank.
BEST BANKING INVESTMENT ADVISORS
Winners: Debbie Rollo, Horizon Bank, Munster; Kevin Babcock, Centier Bank, Merrillville; Lisa Marek, Centier Bank, Valparaiso; Terry Quinn, Peoples Bank, Munster; Sandy Kazmucha, Horizon Bank, Michigan City.
BEST COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
Winners: Tonn and Blank, Michigan City and Indianapolis; Larson Danielson, LaPorte; Berglund Construction, Chesterton and Chicago.
Runners-up: Hasse Construction, Calumet City, Ill., and Munster; Chester Inc., Valparaiso; Gough Inc., Merrillville; Powers & Sons, Gary and Indianapolis.
BEST COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPING COMPANY
Winner: Lakeshore Landscaping, Valparaiso.
Runners-up: Hubinger Landscaping Corp., Crown Point; RV Property Enhancement, Valparaiso; Small’s Landscaping Inc., Valparaiso; Allen’s Landscape Centre, Highland; Cummings Landscaping, Crown Point.
BEST COMMERCIAL ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN COMPANY
Winner: Design Organization Inc., Valparaiso.
Runners-up: InCambridge Architects, Crown Point and Griffith; Fanning Howey, South Bend; Carras-Szany-Kuhn & Associates, Schererville.
BEST COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE COMPANY
Winner: Keller Williams Realty Leaders Group, Schererville and Crown Point.
Runners-up: Commercial In-Sites, Merrillville; CB Richard Ellis/Bradley; South Bend, Mishawaka, LaPorte, Michigan City; ReMax Commercial Property Solutions, Valparaiso and Merrillville; McColly Realtors, Chesterton, Crown Point, Highland, Lowell, Portage, Schererville, Winfield and Valparaiso.
BEST CORPORATE LAW FIRM, BEST FOR BUSINESS ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS, BEST LAW FIRM FOR LITIGATION
Winner: Burke, Costanza & Carberry LLP, Merrillville and Valparaiso.
Runners-up: Kreig DeVault, Schererville; Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans, Merrillville and Valparaiso; Newby Lewis Kaminski & Jones, LaPorte; Hodges & Davis, Merrillville and Portage; Rubino, Ruman, Crosmer, Smith, Sersic & Polen, Dyer.
BEST ESTATE PLANNING PRACTICE
Winner: Burke, Costanza & Carberry, LLP.
Runners-up: Kreig DeVault, Schererville and South Bend; Horizon Trust & Investment Management, Michigan City; Centier Bank Wealth Management, Merrillville; Rice & Rice, Valparaiso.
Winner: Franciscan St. Anthony Medical Center-Crown Point.
Runners-up: Community Hospital, Munster; Indiana University Health LaPorte; Porter Hospital, Valparaiso; Franciscan St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare, Dyer and Hammond; Franciscan St. Anthony, Michigan City; St. Mary Medical Center, Hobart.
BEST OUTPATIENT HEALTH CLINIC
Winner: Franciscan Point, Crown Point.
Runners-up: Hammond Clinic, Hammond; NorthShore Health Centers, Portage; WorkingWell, Crown Point, Michigan City, Hammond, Munster and Valparaiso; Urgent Care and Immediate Care Centers, Schererville.
BEST INSURANCE AGENCY FOR A BUSINESS
Winner: General Insurance Services, Michigan City, LaPorte and Valparaiso.
Runners-up: Fleming, Bates & Barber, Crown Point; State Farm, Whiting, Hammond and Crown Point; Anderson Insurance, Valparaiso; Allstate Insurance, Crown Point, Valparaiso and Munster; Farm Bureau Insurance, Crown Point, Highland and Schererville.
BEST OFFICE INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM
Winners: HDW Commercial Interiors, Schererville; Design Organization Inc., Valparaiso.
Runners-up: Kramer & Leonard, Chesterton; McShane’s Business Products & Solutions, Munster.
BEST UNIVERSITY TO ATTAIN AN MBA
Winner: Valparaiso University School of Business, Valparaiso.
Runners-up: Indiana University Northwest, Gary; Notre Dame, South Bend; Purdue University Calumet, Hammond; Purdue North Central, Westville; Krannert School of Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette.
BEST UNIVERSITY FOR A TECHNOLOGY DEGREE
Winner: Purdue University Calumet, Hammond.
Runners-up: Indiana University Northwest, Gary; Ivy Tech Community College, East Chicago, Michigan City, South Bend, Gary and Valparaiso; Purdue North Central, Westville; Valparaiso University.
BEST UNIVERSITY BUSINESS DEGREE ONLINE PROGRAM
Winner: University of Phoenix, Merrillville and Indianapolis.
Runners-up: Indiana Wesleyan University, Merrillville; Ivy Tech Community College, East Chicago, Michigan City, South Bend, Gary and Valparaiso.
BEST PLACE TO PURCHASE OFFICE EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
Winners: McShane’s Business Products & Solutions, Munster; Kramer & Leonard, Chesterton.
Runners-up: Office Depot, Merrillville, Hobart and Michigan City; Office Max, Michigan City, Merrillville and Mishawaka; Staples, LaPorte, Valparaiso, Merrillville, Munster and South Bend.
BEST PLACE TO PURCHASE OFFICE FURNITURE
Winners: HDW Commercial Interiors, Schererville; Kramer & Leonard, Chesterton.
Runners-up: McShane’s, Munster; Office Depot, Merrillville, Hobart and Michigan City; Office Max, Michigan City, Merrillville and Mishawaka.
BEST LOCAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY
Winner: Midwest Telecom of America (MTA), Merrillville.
Runners-up: AT&T, Michigan City, LaPorte, Valparaiso, Portage, Merrillville, Crown Point, Highland and South Bend; Verizon, Chesterton, Crown Point, Gary, Hammond, LaPorte, Lake Station, Michigan City, Merrillville, Mishawaka, Munster, Portage, Porter, Rensselaer, St. John, Schererville, South Bend, Valparaiso and Winamac.
BEST LOCAL INTERNET SERVICES PROVIDER FOR BUSINESSES
Winner: Comcast, Valparaiso, Portage, Hammond and Merrillville.
Runners-up: Midwest Telecom of America, Merrillville; AT&T, Michigan City, LaPorte, Valparaiso, Portage, Merrillville, Crown Point, Highland and South Bend; Verizon, Chesterton, Crown Point, Gary, Hammond, LaPorte, Lake Station, Michigan City, Merrillville, Mishawaka, Munster, Portage, Porter, Rensselaer, St. John, Schererville, South Bend, Valparaiso and Winamac; NETNITCO, Hebron.
BEST AUTOMOBILE DEALER AND BEST FOR CORPORATE AUTO LEASES
Winner: Schepel Buick Pontiac GMC, Merrillville; Mike Anderson Chevrolet, Merrillville.
Runners-up: Art Hill Ford, Merrillville; Kennedy Mazda, Valparaiso; Lexus of Merrillville; Napleton Volvo, Schererville.
BEST GOLF COURSE
Winner: The Course at Aberdeen, Valparaiso.
Runners-up: Briar Ridge, Schererville; Lost Marsh, Hammond; White Hawk, Crown Point; Sand Creek Country Club, Chesterton; Sandy Pines, Demotte; Innsbrook Country Club, Merrillville; Youche Country Club, Crown Point.
BEST GOLF CLUB FOR CHARITABLE/BUSINESS OUTINGS
Winner: White Hawk, Crown Point.
Runners-up: Sand Creek Country Club, Chesterton; Briar Ridge, Schererville; The Course at Aberdeen, Valparaiso; Lost Marsh, Hammond; Pottawattomie Country Club, Michigan City.
BEST HEALTH AND FITNESS CLUB
Winners: Omni 41 Health & Fitness Connection, Schererville; Fitness Pointe, Munster.
Runners-up: Cardinal Fitness, Valparaiso, Schererville and Hobart; Duneland Health & Wellness, Chesterton; YMCA, Valparaiso; Inspiration Fitness, Valparaiso.
BEST COLLEGIATE SPORT IN THE REGION:
Winners: Valparaiso University basketball; University of Notre Dame football.
BEST PROFESSIONAL SPECTATOR SPORT IN THE REGION
Winner: Gary SouthShore RailCats
Runners-up: Chicago Bears football; Chicago White Sox; Chicago Cubs; Indianapolis Colts.
BEST RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT HOME BUILDER
Winner: Olthop Homes, St. John.
Runners-up: McFarland Builders, Highland; Pioneer Builders, Crown Point; Wagner Homes, Valparaiso; Steiner Builders, Valparaiso.
BEST COMMUNITY SUPPORTER
Northern Indiana Public Service Co. “Donated $5.2 million to more than 600 local organizations.” Also voted one of the “Best Companies to Work For.”
BEST COMPUTER REPAIR COMPANY
Three Dog Net. “Outstanding service.” “Customer centered,” and “Excellent repair work.”
BEST CREDIT UNION
Advanced Financial Federal Credit Union. “Outstanding customer and personal service.”
BEST TITLE COMPANY
Professional Title Services LLC. “Superior customer service.”
BEST RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE CO.
Keller Williams Realty Leaders. “For service and customer satisfaction.”
BEST SNOW REMOVAL COMPANY
RV Property Enhancement. “Great job in getting rid of all the snow this year.”
BEST INVESTMENT FIRM
Horizon Trust and Investment Management. “Experienced and simply the best advisers.”
Michael Schrage, Centier Bank: “He is good to his employees and a great leader.”
BEST CHAMBER IN THE REGION
Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. “Staff knows how to bring the business community together.”
BEST NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana. “For their collaborative nature and global thinking.”
Starbucks. “Great coffee and desserts.”