Return to the BOTT 2021 homepage

Best Realtor in Orange / Chatham County

Justin Burleson, Fonville Morisey/Premier Agents Network

Finalists: Martha Newport, Newport Group, Dave Cherry, Atomic Properties, Ryan Euliss, Allen Tate Realtors

Best Electrician in the Triangle

Bonneville Electric

Finalists: R.L. Griffin Electrical Service, Electric Avenue, Creative Electric

Best Pet-sitting Service in Orange / Chatham County

Kate’s Critter Care

Finalists: Walk & Wag, Rachel’s Pet Care, Laughing Dog Pet Care

Best Insurance Agent in the Triangle

Karen Boone, State Farm

Finalists: Amanda Hagood, State Farm; Ola Stinnett, State Farm; Christine Walorz, Walorz Insurance

Best Pet Groomer in Durham County

Elliotte’s Pet Spa & Salon

Finalists: Eno Animal Hospital, Pampered Pooch, Dog Stylists Inc

Best Summer Camp in Orange / Chatham County

Piedmont Wildlife Center

Finalists: Carolina Friends School, Learning Outside, Schoolhouse of Wonder

Best Dog Trainer in Durham County

Whole Dog Institute

Finalists: YAYDog!, Dog Training Camp USA, So Fetch K9 Adventures, Joanne the Dog Lady

Best Nonprofit in Wake County

Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC

There are so many wonderful nonprofits in Wake County doing great work, but the Food Bank does something incredibly basic, yet fundamental, and does it so well—it has provided food for people at risk of hunger in 34 counties in North Carolina for the past 35 years. Whether the Food Bank is providing Kids Summer Meals, as it is this year with families still suffering in the wake of the COVID pandemic, or whether it’s providing emergency supplies to communities in the wake of a hurricane or other natural disaster, you can always be assured that, through the Food Bank’s work, your neighbors aren’t going hungry. It’s also a wonderful place to donate to or volunteer; somehow, sorting potatoes at the Food Bank’s giant warehouse on Capital Boulevard is actually a fun experience. —JP

Finalists: LGBT Center of Raleigh, Cause for Paws of NC, Rise Against Hunger, Perfectly Imperfect Pups, Activate Good, Bridge the Gap Mission, Inc.

Best Dog Trainer in Wake County

Jeff Millman Dog Training

The competition was furry-ous this year (sorry) but Cary-based trainer Jeff Millman took the top dog trainer’s spot. Jeff trains Triangle dogs in anything from behavior problems including aggression, barking, and separation anxiety, to leash walking training, puppy training, or training dogs to be good around kids, all using humane, science-based training techniques. Excellent customer service is part of the business model––Jeff will train your dog at your home or he’ll meet you at the dog park––and, having studied at Jean Donaldson’s world-renowned Dog Training Academy in San Francisco, Jeff has trained thousands of dogs in his career, so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two. Check out all his five-star Google reviews––Jeff’s pretty pup-ular with dogs and their humans! —JP

Finalists: Dog Training Camp USA, aMANda’S BEST FRIEND

Best Tattoo Studio in the Triangle

Inkvictus Studios

Finalists: Facial Xpressions Makeup and Microblading, Ratatat Tats, Conspiracy Ink Tattoos

Best Realtor in Durham County

Justin Burleson, Fonville Morisey/Premier Agents Network

Finalists: Martha Newport, Newport Group; Paula Carr, Atomic Properties; Cory Sherman, Homegrown Real Estate

Best Realtor in Wake County

Justin Burleson, Fonville Morisey/Premier Agents Network

Finalists: Paula Carr, Atomic Properties; Mike Wolgin, Wolgin Real Estate Group; Chip Barker, Core Realty Advisors; Beatriz Negrin, DeRonja Real Estate

Best Auto Repair in Orange / Chatham County

Chapel Hill Tire

Finalists: F & F Automotive, A Better Wrench, Elite Auto Body

Best Early Childhood Learning Facility in Wake County

Preschool for the Arts (APA)

Finalists: Temple Beth Or Preschool, Follow the Child Montessori School, Knightdale Station Preschool

Best Landscape Company in the Triangle

TROSA Lawn Care

Finalists: New Leaf Landscaping, Peak Sodding, Burge Landscapes

Best Pet-sitting Service in Durham County

Kate’s Critter Care

Finalists: Bull City Pet Sitting, A Whole Lotta Love Pet Sitting, Barbie & Company Pet Services

Best Pet Groomer in Orange / Chatham County

Hair of the Dog Grooming Studio

Finalists: Love Overboard Kennels & Grooming, Green Beagle Pet Lodge, Moppy Top Pet Grooming, K9 Perfection Grooming Salon

Best Licensed Contractor in Orange / Chatham County

Little Corner Construction

Finalists: BuildSense, Actual Size Builders, Pope Builders Inc.

Best Pet Boarding in Wake County

Suite Paws Pet Resort and Spa

Finalists: Dogtopia, Pooch Pad, Happy Puppers, Dog Diggity, Audrey’s Barkyard

Best House Cleaners in Wake County

Go 2 Girls

Finalists: Best Clean Ever, Carpe Diem Cleaning, Spotless Home Cleaning Service

Best Dog Trainer in Orange/Chatham County

Jane Marshall, Cheery Dogs

Finalists: Kuba & Company, Dog Training Camp USA, Hickory Hounds

Best House Cleaners in Durham County

Best Clean Ever

Finalists: Go 2 Girls, Carpe Diem Cleaning, Tangerine Clean

Best Pet-sitting Service in Wake County

FURbaby Pet Sitters

Finalists: aMANda’s BEST FRIEND, Happy Puppers, Pack and Pride

Best Plumber in the Triangle

Cary Plumbing

Finalists: Carrboro Plumbing, NC Water Heaters, Greene Hunt Plumbing

Best Architect / Architecture Studio in the Triangle

Shaw Design Associates

Finalists: Sophie Piesse Architect, PA; BuildSense; In Situ Studio

Best Nonprofit in Orange / Chatham County

Orange County Rape Crisis Center

Earlier this year, I wrote an article about Orange County Rape Crisis Center’s budget cuts at the hands of the state, and what it could mean for the resources they offer. In the process, I was reminded of just how vital OCRCC’s resources are. It’s one of the only freestanding rape crisis centers in the state, and their program on consensual touch is taught to more than 12,000 kids every year. Their role as informed instructors includes being able to see patterns in behavior that suggest a child is facing sexual abuse, something that other adults may not be able to pick up on. As the federal government stalls on finding a solution to the random loophole that led to these grant shortages, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center will continue doing what it can to make sure survivors are cared for, and that everyone knows what enthusiastic consent looks like. —SP

Finalists: Carolina Tiger Rescue, The ReCYCLEry, Caramore Community

Best Veterinary Practice in Durham County

Carver Street Animal Hospital

Finalists: Eno Animal Hospital, Southpoint Animal Hospital, Willow Oak Veterinary Hospital

Best Early Childhood Learning Facility in Durham County

Carolina Friends School

Finalists: Children’s Campus at Southpoint, Grey Stone Preschool & Kindergarten, Branches Community School

Best Pet Groomer in Wake County

Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming Cary

Finalists: MOSA Pet Spa & Resort, City Pet Grooming, All About Pets Grooming

Best Bed & Breakfast in the Triangle

Carolina Inn

I’ll never forget staying in The Carolina Inn before my UNC-Chapel Hill freshman orientation. From its gorgeous black-and-white checkered floors to its soft porcelain bedding and impressive colonial architecture, The Carolina Inn is certainly the most picturesque hotel I’ve ever stayed in.  Its beauty, combined with easy proximity to campus and Franklin Street, likely form just part of the reason why readers love it. I’m certain that its delicious menu features, designed by Executive Chef Jeremey Blankenship and his culinary team, also come into play here. Where else can you eat such well-cooked versions of delicious Southern classics, including pimento cheese BLTs and shrimp and grits? —EH

Finalists: The Colonial Inn, Morehead Manor, Arrowhead Inn

Best House Painter in the Triangle

Hansell Painting Company

Finalists: Anderson Painting, Zarazua Painting, Color World House Painting

Best Auto Dealership in the Triangle

Leith Auto Center

Finalists: Hendrick Subaru, Fred Anderson Toyota, Crown Honda

Best Event/Wedding Planner in the Triangle

Something Fabulous

Finalists: The Perfect Plan, Search in the City, Pavillion at Nicks Road, Cross + Main

Best Place to Adopt a Pet in the Triangle

Saving Grace

Saving Grace is a reader favorite and I wholeheartedly agree:, it’s the best place to adopt a pet in the Triangle, because last summer, it brought me the best dog in the Triangle—my dog, Penny. Beyond that obvious bias, Saving Grace does a lot of good. Established in 2004, the volunteer-run non-profit shelter serves stray animals, primarily dogs, from rural parts of North Carolina and in counties that have high euthanasia rates, and has placed about 22,000 animals into their new homes. Make an appointment to go to Saving Grace’s Wake Forest farm space and you’ll encounter several dozen tail-wagging dogs of all shapes and sizes playing at the “Funny Farm.” If you can’t adopt right away, but want to see what the dogs are up to, Saving Grace’s very active Instagram account regularly features videos of sweetie-pie dogs that will bring you to tears. And now, with Penny sitting beside me, eagerly watching a garbage truck out the window, I’m about to be in tears myself. —SE

Finalists: Triangle Beagle Rescue, Durham Animal Protection Society, Perfectly Imperfect Pups

Best Auto Repair in Wake County

Johnson Auto Body Inc.

Finalists: Frantz Automotive Center, Duty Tire & Service Center, Atlantic Ave, Ernie Lee’s Service Center

Best House Cleaners in Orange / Chatham County

Maria’s Cleaning

Finalists: Carpe Diem Cleaning, Tangerine Clean, Patricia Sandoval

Best Caterer in the Triangle

Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe

Finalists: Rocky Top Catering, Catering Works, Cannon Catering

Best Pet Boarding in Orange / Chatham County

Green Beagle Pet Lodge

Finalists: Dogwood Veterinary Hospital & Pet Resort, Doggie Spa & Day Care, K9 R&R Pet Retreat, Chapel Hill Pet Resort, No Barking Back

Best Licensed Contractor in Wake County

Little Corner Construction

Finalists: BuildSense, Big Monkey Renovation & Repair, One Team Restoration

Best Licensed Contractor in Durham County

Little Corner Construction

Finalists: G. Crabtree Spaces, Gateway, BuildSense, Actual Size Builders

Best Ad Agency in the Triangle

BluePrint Business Communications

Finalists: Heights Digital Media, Food Seen, French West Vaughan

Best Summer Camp in Wake County

Camp Kanata

Finalists: YMCA, Raleigh Little Theatre, New Life Camp, Arts Together

Best Summer Camp in Durham County

Museum of Life & Science

Finalists: Piedmont Wildlife Center, Camp Shelanu at Jewish for Good, Schoolhouse of Wonder

Best Attorney in the Triangle

Cara Dudek Petri, Jackson Law

Finalists: Taibi Law Group, PLLC, Newman & Newman, PLLC, Arnette Law Offices, PLLC

Best Veterinary Practice in Orange / Chatham County

Carrboro Plaza Veterinary Clinic

Finalists: Healing Paws Veterinary Hospital, Cole Park Veterinary Hospital, VCA Timberlyne Animal Hospital

Best Nonprofit in Durham County


Finalists: Urban Ministries of Durham, Jewish for Good at the Levin JCC, Reggie’s Legacy

Best Veterinary Practice in Wake County

Banfield Pet Hospital

Finalists: Magnolia Animal Hospital, Care First Animal Hospital at Oberlin, Shiloh Animal Hospital, Bayleaf Veterinary Hospital

Best Pet Boarding in Durham County

Camp Bow Wow North Durham

Finalists: Sunny Acres, Eno Animal Hospital, The Pet Wagon, Creature Comforts Inn

Best HVAC Company in the Triangle

Boer Brothers Heating and Cooling

Finalists: Air Innovations HVAC, Warren Hay Mechanical, All American Heating and Air

Best Retirement Community in the Triangle

Croasdaile Village Retirement Community

Finalists: Carol Woods, Carolina Meadows, Magnolia Glen, Carolina Preserve at Amberly, Creekside at Bethpage

Best Auto Repair in Durham County

Wasp Automotive

Finalists: Massey Brothers Automotive, Durham Tire & Auto Center, Ingold Tire & Auto Service Center

Best Dance Studio in the Triangle

Academy for the Performing Arts (APA)

Finalists: Graceful Expressions Dance Education, Encore Academy of Dance, Premier School of Dance

Best Realtor Group in the Triangle

Martha Newport Realty Group

Finalists: Premier Agents Network, Atomic Properties, Wolgin Real Estate Group

Best Hotel in the Triangle

The Umstead Hotel

Finalists: The Durham Hotel, 21c, Unscripted

Best Early Childhood Learning Facility in Orange / Chatham County

Learning Outside

Finalists: Carolina Friends School, Children’s Campus, Childcare Matters, Casa Club Spanish Immersion Preschool

Best Moving Company in the Triangle

TROSA Moving

Finalists: Two Men and a Truck Durham, Crabtree Family Moving, Chapel Hill Moving Co., Bee Line Moving

Best Music Lessons in the Triangle

Triangle Music School

Finalists: High Strung School of Music, Notasium, Gabriel Pelli, Ashe School of Music

Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle. 

Comment on this story at