A few months ago we asked our readers to cast votes for what Des Moines has to offer in a variety of business-related categories. Here’s how it worked: You voted. We checked the data, removed any suspicious or erroneous votes, and then tallied the results for all 70-plus categories.

All Greater Des Moines businesses, people and organizations are eligible to win categories. In other words, there was no cost to be listed as an option due to the survey being open-ended. You can’t pay to win a category.

This year, we followed up with the winners and asked them to submit how their company or organization faced challenges in the last year or what they will strive to do better in the coming year. We’ve included responses from those who were able to take the time to do so.

Thank you for your continued participation in Best of Des Moines.


Best Advertising Agency

Winner: Flynn Wright

Runner-up: Strategic America

Runner-up: Two Rivers Marketing 

Best Coffee Shop for Conducting Business

Winner: Smokey Row Coffee Co.

Runner-up: Scenic Route Bakery

Runner-up: Starbucks


Best Place to Buy Wine and Spirits

Winner: Hy-Vee

Runner-up: Ingersoll Wine and Spirits

Runner-up: WineStyles Tasting Station

Best Sporting Event to Entertain Clients

Winner: Iowa Cubs

Runner-up: Iowa Wild

Runner-up: Principal Charity Classic


Best Restaurant to Take Out-of-Town Guests

Winner: Centro

Runner-up: Bubba – Southern Comforts

Runner-up: 801 Chophouse


Best Restaurant for Conducting Business

Winner: Centro

Runner-up: 801 Chophouse

Runner-up: Bubba – Southern Comforts

Best New Restaurant

Winner: Teddy Maroon's

Runner-up: St. Kilda Surf & Turf 

Runner-up: Central Standard 


Best Recycling/Waste Company

Winner: Metro Waste Authority

Runner-up: Waste Management Inc.

Runner-up: Ankeny Sanitation Inc.

Best Jewelry Store

Winner: Josephs

Runner-up: Anglo

Runner-up: Christopher's Fine Jewelry


Best Exercise Facility

Winner: YMCA of Greater Des Moines

Runner-up: Lifetime Fitness

Runner-up: Prairie Life Fitness


Best Politician on Business Issues

Winner: Kim Reynolds

Runner-up: Zach Nunn

Runner-up: Chuck Grassley 

Best Thing to Happen to Central Iowa in the Past Year

Winner: NCAA Tournament

Runner-up: Krause Gateway Center opens 

Best Thing That Will Happen to Central Iowa in the Upcoming Year

Winner: Water Trails

Runner-up: Caucuses 

Runner-up: Water Works Park renovation 


Best Public Relations Firm

Winner: LS2group

Runner-up: Strategic America

Runner-up: Flynn Wright


Best Company for Young Professionals

Winner: LS2group

Runner up Principal Financial Group

Runner up RSM US 


Best Small Company With a Bright Future

Winner: LS2group

Runner-up: NCMIC Group Inc./Professional Solutions

Runner-up: Strategic America 


Best Nonprofit

Winner: Animal Rescue League of Iowa Inc.

Runner-up: EveryStep 

Runner-up: ChildServe

Runner-up: United Way of Central Iowa


Best Security Company

Winner: Per Mar Security

Runner-up: ADT Corp.

Runner-up: Strauss Security Solutions


Best Commercial Printer

Winner: Beeline and Blue

Runner-up: Colorfx/Mittera 

Runner-up: Christian Printers


Best Computer Consulting Company

Winner: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: Launch IT 

Runner-up: Aureon


Best Accounting Firm

Winner: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: McGowen, Hurst, Clark Smith PC

Runner-up: LWBJ


Best Local Internet Service Provider

Winner: Mediacom

Runner-up: CenturyLink Inc.

Runner-up: Aureon


Best Web Developer

Winner: Webspec Design

Runner-up: Blue Compass 

Runner-up: Strategic America 


Best Social Media Company

Winner: Webspec Design

Runner-up: Happy Medium

Runner-up: Strategic America


Best Tech Startup With a Bright Future

Winner: Dwolla Inc.

Runner-up: Denim 

Runner-up: LenderClose   


Best Video Production Company

Winner: Studio Iowa

Runner-up: Bing Bang 

Runner-up: Strategic America


Best Place to Hold a Business Conference

Winner: Hilton Des Moines Downtown

Runner-up: Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center

Runner-up: Hy-Vee Hall/Iowa Events Center


Best Bar to Entertain Clients

Winner: The Republic on Grand

Runner-up: Hello, Marjorie 

Runner-up: The Iowa Taproom

Runner-up: Bubba – Southern Comforts


Best Caterer

Winner: Catering by Cyd

Runner-up: Hy-Vee

Runner-up: Taste! to Go Catering & Events


Best Happy Hour

Winner: Eatery A

Runner-up: Bar Louie

Runner-up: Bubba – Southern Comforts


Best Florist

Winner: Boesen the Florist

Runner-up: Hy-Vee

Runner-up: Plaza Florists


Best Women's Clothier

Winner: Von Maur

Runner-up: Talbots

Runner-up: Express


Best Cultural Attraction

Winner: Des Moines Arts Festival

Runner-up: Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Runner-up: Iowa State Fair


Best City Government Conducive to Doing Business

Winner: City of West Des Moines

Runner-up: Des Moines

Runner-up: Waukee


Best Commercial Real Estate Company

Winner: CBRE|Hubbell Commercial

Runner-up: R&R Realty

Runner-up: NAI Iowa Realty Commercial


Best Home Builder

Winner: Hubbell Homes

Runner-up: Jerry's Homes

Runner-up: Happe Homes 


Best Residential Real Estate Company

Winner: Iowa Realty

Runner-up: Re/Max

Runner-up: Keller Williams


Best Residential Real Estate Agent (Individual)

Winner: Kelsey Russell (Re/Max)

Runner-up: Chris Lewis (Keller Williams) 

Runner-up: Rick Wannamaker (Iowa Realty)


Best Real Estate Property Management Company

Winner: R&R Realty

Runner-up: Hubbell Property Management

Runner-up: Knapp Properties


Best Development Company

Winner: R&R Realty

Runner-up: Knapp Properties

Runner-up: Christensen Development


Best Commercial Real Estate Agent (Individual)

Winner: Adam Kaduce (R&R Realty)

Runner-up: Tyler Dingel (CBRE|Hubbell Commercial) 

Runner-up: Kevin Crowley (NAI Iowa Realty Commercial)


Best Architectural Firm

Winner: RDG Planning Design

Runner-up: Shive Hattery

Runner-up: SVPA 


Best Engineering Firm

Winner: Shive-Hattery

Runner-up: McClure Engineering

Runner-up: IMEG

Runner-up: HR Green 

Best General Contractor

Winner: The Weitz Co.

Runner-up: Graham Construction

Runner-up: Dean Snyder Construction

Best Electrical Contractor

Winner: Baker Electric

Runner-up: Baker Group

Runner-up: Waldinger


Best Mechanical Contractor

Winner: Baker Group

Runner-up: Waldinger

Runner-up: MMC 


Best Place to Buy Office Furniture

Winner: Triplett Office Essentials

Runner-up: Pigott

Runner-up: Storey Kenworthy


Best Law Firm

Winner: Davis Brown Law Firm

Runner-up: BrownWinick

Runner-up: Brick Gentry 


Best Company to Work For

Winner: UnityPoint Health

Runner-up: NCMIC Group Inc./Professional Solutions

Runner-up: Principal Financial Group 


Best CEO

Winner: Dan Houston (Principal Financial Group)

Runner-up: David Stark (UnityPoint Health) 

Runner-up: Don Coffin (Bankers Trust Co.) 


Best Metro Business Leader

Winner: Dan Houston (Principal Financial Group)

Runner-up: Jay Byers (Greater Des Moines Partnership)

Runner-up: Suku Radia (retired)


Best Business Supporting Local Charity

Winner: Principal Financial Group

Runner-up: Bankers Trust Co.

Runner-up: Hy-Vee 


Best Company for Women to Work For

Winner: Principal Financial Group

Runner-up: UnityPoint Health

Runner-up: RSM US 

Best Company for Diversity in the Workplace

Winner: Principal Financial Group

Runner-up: UnityPoint Health

Runner-up: Bankers Trust Co. 


Best Large Company With a Bright Future

Winner: Principal Financial Group

Runner-up: UnityPoint Health

Runner-up: Baker Group 


Best Life Insurance Company

Winner: Principal Life Insurance Co.

Runner-up: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Runner-up: Farm Bureau


Best Up & Coming Business Leader

Winner: Tony Dickinson (NCMIC Group Inc./Professional Solutions)

Runner-up: Adam Kaduce (R&R Realty) 

Runner-up: Tanner Krause (Kum & Go) 


Best Minority Business Leader

Winner: Suku Radia (retired)

Runner-up: Janice Lane-Schroederr (Children & Families of Iowa)

Runner-up: Fred Buie (Keystone Electrical) 


Best Bank

Winner: Bankers Trust Co.

Runner-up: West Bank

Runner-up: Wells Fargo & Co.


Best Commercial Lender

Winner: Bankers Trust Co.

Runner-up: West Bank

Runner-up: Northwest Bank 


Best Training and Development Company

Winner: ATW Training Solutions

Runner-up: Tero International

Runner-up: Dale Carnegie


Best Property/Casualty Insurance Company

Winner: EMC

Runner-up: Nationwide

Runner-up: State Farm

Best Health Insurance Company

Winner: Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Runner-up: UnitedHealthcare

Runner-up: HealthPartners UnityPoint Health


Best Executive Search Firm

Winner: Palmer Group

Runner-up: Midwest Search Group

Runner-up: Francis and Associates 

Runner-up: Carlson Group 

Best Temporary Employment Service

Winner: Palmer Group

Runner-up: Robert Half 

Runner-up: Raine Recruiting 


Best Manufacturing Company

Winner: Vermeer Manufacturing

Runner-up: Deere & Co.

Runner-up: Quality Manufacturing 


Best Credit Union

Winner: Veridian Credit Union

Runner-up: Community Choice Credit Union

Runner-up: GreenState Credit Union


Best Wealth Management Company

Winner: Foster Group

Runner-up: RSM US LLP

Runner-up: BTC Capital Management 


Best MBA Program

Winner: Iowa State University

Runner-up: Drake University

Runner-up: University of Iowa/Tippie College of Business


Best Hospital/Health Care System

Winner: Iowa Methodist Medical Center (UnityPoint Health)

Runner-up: Mercy Medical Center

Runner-up: Iowa Lutheran Hospital (UnityPoint Health)


Best Auto Dealership

Winner: Willis Automotive

Runner-up: Bob Brown Chevrolet

Runner-up: Karl Chevrolet


Best Place for Auto Repairs

Winner: Willis Automotive

Runner-up: Westside Auto Pros

Runner-up: Shade Tree Auto 

Runner-up: Drake Garage 


Best Men's Clothier

Winner: Mr. B

Runner-up: Von Maur

Runner-up: Badowers


Best Golf Course

Winner: Des Moines Golf and Country Club

Runner-up: Wakonda Club

Runner-up: Waveland Golf Course