From The Publisher Readers have spoken and the winners are…

Published 3:06 pm Saturday, July 27, 2019

Bobby Tingle, Publisher

Paul Dickerson and Kerry Lamb have something in common when it comes to being chosen the BEST in Orange County.  

Each responds they are the only one who does what they do in Orange County when told Orange Leader readers chose their organization as the BEST.

But being the “only” office supply store or golf course in the area does not necessarily mean you are good.  

To be chosen the BEST you have to be good.  Apparently, they are.

In April and May, The Orange Leader readers found ballots to vote for the BEST people, places and food in the Wednesday and Saturday edition of the newspaper.  Readers at also found an online link to scroll through a list of categories and subcategories to plug in their choice for the BEST.

Readers of both the print and online edition responded in a resounding way.  

You presented us with a record number of ballots to sort through, log and tally on the way to finding your choice for the BEST.

Today, you have the list of winners.

But before you get to the winners, keep in mind we only publish the list of those who came in first place.  Believe me when I say there were a lot of worthy folks, places, and foods are chosen second, third and sometimes as deep as a dozen for many categories.

Sabine River Ford and Cecil Atkission Motors put up a good fight and this year Gateway CDJR joined the mix but Granger Chevrolet took the award for overall excellence among car and truck dealers this year.

Tommy Gunn and Chad Robison ran neck and neck for BEST attorney in several categories, but James Dunaway is the expert real estate attorney.

What do Rose Thayer and Jennifer McConnell do at TruColors to have so much fun and be so well thought of?  T-shirts and vinyl and yard signs and custom design and apparently, they do a jam up good job, according to our readers.

Troy Shelton just opened up a new office for his bail bond business.  He now has a place to hang his orange ribbon. He has some unique décor in his office.  Come by and see him at his ribbon cutting soon.

There is a difference between a bank and a credit union.  

There are one of each which excel according to their customers.  Sabine Federal Credit Union and First Financial Bank rose to the top.  But look out Kristen Placette and Stephen Lee because Chris Kovatch and Doug Allen are in your wake, gobbling up your bubbles and expecting to feed you theirs soon.

Bluebirds Fish Camp, Reel Cajun, Mike’s Diner and Bullfish are all newcomers to the BEST food folks in Orange County.  

Traditionally Spanky’s, The Hut and Old Orange Café are contenders and they are no exception this year, but the competition is certainly getting tougher.  You can get good food at Judice’s Cajun Café and Lucy’s Café and Mi Casa as well, but we can all be thankful for the increase in a variety of good places to eat.

Gary Stelly stands out as the radio sports guy, Steve Kovatch is the go-to guy when you need an auto technician and you can’t beat Rex Gibson when it comes to specialty batteries.

Two favorites in Orange County in the cultural, social and amusement arena are the Lions Club Carnival and Shangri La Botanical Gardens.  The Lions put on a good show while raising money for good causes with a plethora of games, rides, and food worth the wait in line. The gardens at Shangri La are an attractive year-round amenity we can all be proud of.

Take a look at the special section in today’s paper.  You will see just how blessed we are in Orange.


Bobby Tingle is the publisher of The Orange Leader.  You can reach him at