Best of Safford brings out familiar faces

Contributed Photo: Casa Manaña took home Best Dining Experience in 2022.

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – The local businesses of Safford were lauded Wednesday at the Safford Downtown Association’s annual Best of Safford Awards held at The Venue & Vignette on Main in Downtown Safford. 

Prior to the business awards, Safford Downtown Association President Danny Smith presented Brandt Woods with a custom metal fabrication of a cactus made by Gypsy Souls in honor of Woods’ efforts to beautify the Downtown area with his mural. The award commemorates Woods’ first mural Downtown, a giant cactus guitar on the side of the Richard’s Music building he painted two years ago. Woods has now completed his self-challenge of painting 31 murals Downtown.  

Perennial champion, Casa Manaña, once again took home the honor of the Best Dining Experience. Casa Manaña has been serving Mexican food since 1951, and the owners make sure the overall experience from food to service is the best around. 

Downtown darlings John and Jenny Howard gathered two more pieces of hardware for their locales, Ginaveve’s Marketplace with the Business Excellence – Service award and Tiny Bean Coffee Co. for Best Customer Service. Ginaveve’s recently expanded into wine service to go along with its various cafe and niche offerings, and Tiny Bean is a coffee shop on the go right off Highway 70. 

Contributed Photo: Artist Brandt Woods holds his special appreciation cactus award for his contributions to beautifying Downtown Safford.

The host of the event, The Venue & Vignette, on Main, walked away for Best Business Remodel. Kym Gifford of Keyhole Properties and her husband, Lynn, acquired the Venue and then the adjoining property. The remodel adds form to function and makes The Venue & Vignette a choice spot for events Downtown. Lynn is also the new incoming Thatcher Primary School Principal.  

The Best Newcomer went to The Shelf, which is a consignment shop; Copper and Cotton Lifestyle Co. received Business Excellence – Retail; and Dug’s Blowin’ Smoke BBQ received the award for Best Food Truck.