Joco Opinion

Lori Allen — The business of providing joy

With all the holiday talk about being on Santa’s “good” or “nice” list and all of the recent shopping that I have been doing, I got to thinking about several businesses that should make Santa’s “good” list because of the peace or joy they bring to our community all year long.

Wanting to spread good cheer, I’m sharing my list with you. In this case, they aren’t just good, they are the best. First, the double best — because sometimes it’s just not enough to be best in your industry, you shine in other areas as well:

• Best Communication and Best Bakery —

Best Regards Bakery

. Never mind the fresh baked breads, creamy cookies and gooey sandwiches, these guys are marketing geniuses.

Robert Duensing is one crafty, clever guy that comes up with every imaginable way to tempt guests with the goodies that he and his wife Cherrie cook up. Literally, from scratch. I can’t get through a single newsletter without wanting to run out for the sandwich of the week. Sign up or “like” on Facebook so you, too, can be tempted by the Avocado Grilled Cheese or the fresh frost-your-own cinnamon rolls.

• Best Website and Best Food Delivery Service —

Door-to-Door Organics

. A chance meeting of a Door to Door employee got me curious enough to check out the website.

Once I was there, I was hooked. I didn’t leave the site without signing up for fresh organic fruits and vegetables to be delivered to my door every other week. And while the website was responsible for getting me to sign up, the free delivery of my produce that’s straight out of the organic garden has me wondering how I ever lived without this service.

• Best Community Supporters and Grocery Store —

Hy-Vee

(135th Street and Antioch Road). This just might be the happiest place in Overland Park.

Randy Ohm runs my neighborhood Hy-Vee, and Erika Jones handles donation requests. Together they are the most impressive community supporters around. They have a “yes I can” attitude about every request. Whether it’s the local schools needing supplies or an area cancer patient needing to raise funds, they just keep giving. They do this all while running a bright, clean grocery that is well-stocked with helpful, service-oriented employees.

Also making the best list:

• Best Automotive —

Lindan Auto.

Indeed a rare find. This is the most well-run, reputable shop I have ever set foot in, and unfortunately, I’ve set foot in more than my share.

If you’re looking for a leather sofa, a stocked refrigerator and a $40,000 loaner car while yours is in the shop, this may not be for you. But if you’re like me and want a trustworthy mechanic looking at your car that doesn’t charge $1,000 for every single visit, look no further. On my last visit, I was even asked whether I wanted to save $10 and wait a bit longer for my part to arrive. His words, “if I have an opportunity to save you some money, well, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t ask you.”

• Best Salon —

Xiphium.

This salon offers every high-end service without the snooty attitude. The professionals here truly make sure you get exactly the cut or color you want.

I personally don’t make that many trips to the salon so when I do, I want it to be great. Slip into a robe, sip herbal tea and even get a hand massage while you’re in the bowl. The best part is not having that awkward moment of figuring out a tip at checkout. Tipping is not allowed.

• Best Family Fun —

Deanna Rose Children’s Farm.

Can this qualify as a business? Not sure, but now that the farm charges on weekends, I am including it. This seasonal gem has Disney-quality surroundings, is great fun for the little ones, educational and a bargain at $2.

Whether you come in the spring to see the newborn animals or in the fall for the Night of the Living Farm Halloween party, this place is always the cutting edge of fun for kids. There’s a charming old-time downtown with Ben’s bank, a country store and a one-room schoolhouse. The grounds are impeccably maintained and include a fishing pond, pony rides and lots of animals to look at and touch. The farm will keep children and adults entertained for hours.

Well, that about wraps up the top entries in my “nice” list, and I am out of space. I hope your 2013 was filled with happy experiences at places in our community that share the spirit of what makes this such a wonderful place to live. Merry Christmas.

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