Fresno Regional Independent Business Alliance to Host Inaugural Best Locally Owned Businesses (BLOB) Awards

Mayor Ashley Swearengin today encouraged members of the public to vote for their favorite locally owned and independent businesses in 26 different categories beginning today. Winners will be honored at a ceremony on Friday, April 1, at the Downtown Club in Fresno. The event will begin at 5 p.m.

The public can vote for their favorite businesses for the inaugural Best Locally Owned Business (BLOB) awards by logging onto Categories range from the best local coffee house to the best local bank.

“The BLOB Awards are a fun way for our community to honor our local business community and recognize all of the local businesses that add to Fresno’s character,” Mayor Swearengin said.

“What makes these awards different is that only businesses that are locally owned and headquartered in Fresno can win,” said John Ostland, president of the Fresno Regional Independent Business Alliance (FRIBA). “This is a grass-roots effort to say thank you to the businesses that call Fresno home and are the backbone of our local economy.”

The BLOB awards are being hosted by FRIBA, a grassroots non-profit organization comprised of local business owners. The group grew out of Mayor Swearengin’s Independent Restaurant and Retail Affinity Group, which has been working with the City of Fresno to identify strategic solutions about how the City can best serve the independent, local business community.

FRIBA encouraged the City of Fresno to publish “EAT, PLAY, SHOP FRESNO,” a local business directory launched in October 2010 that listed 1,600 locally owned and independent restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues in the City of Fresno. The directory was distributed through the Fresno Bee to 75,000 residents.

“The goal of ‘EAT, PLAY, SHOP FRESNO’ is to make it easy for our local residents and visitors to identify locally owned businesses in the City of Fresno,” said Craig Scharton, director of the Department of Downtown and Community Revitalization. “The next time they want to enjoy Italian food or are looking for a new bike, they have access to a number of different options.”

Scharton said the BLOB awards complement the directory because the only businesses that are eligible to win one of these awards are those listed in the local directory.

All of the winners of the 2011 BLOB Awards will be listed in the second annual “EAT, PLAY, SHOP FRESNO,” local directory, which will be distributed through the Fresno Bee in late April.

For more information on the awards please visit