We have chosen a collection of winning businesses to allow them a little space to tell you a little more about their business and to thank everyone for the support. As we always say here at EXPLORE, please SHOP LOCAL. As you’ll see, these business owners are working tirelessly to make their dreams work, and we are quite proud to provide an opportunity for the local supporting public here in Kendall County show some love to their favorite small businesses and their owners. We thank all of you for the support for this year and can’t wait for next year’s contest!
BEST GIFT SHOP
HANDMADE ON MAIN
Name: Amy Bierstedt Year founded: 2019
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? Our little boutique is off the main strip where the heavy foot traffic is. So, I’ve had to learn how to use social media, e-newsletters, and (most importantly) great customer service to our advantage. To get people in the door, I post to social media daily. I send out an
e-newsletter every Sunday. When shoppers are in the door, I try to deliver a great
shopp ing experience for them. Our shop is filled with some of the most talented makers in the area, providing a wonderfully unique gift shop. Almost every item in the store is
handcrafted by a local artisan, local mom or grandma. Goods that are made in small
batches, or are totally one-of-a-kind finds.
What are your next goals for your business? Getting the foot traffic down to our shop! If we could become a tourist destination!!
Anything to say to the community? To all that voted for us, have cheered us on, have shopped with us, and shared our business with family and friends-THANK YOU!!!!!!
BEST WINE BAR
THIRTY EIGHT & VINE
Name: Jennifer Demel Year founded: 2022
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? Thirty-Eight & Vine is founded on providing a unique wine experience. Guests are able to create their own wine journey all while being guided by knowledgeable staff. Our wine selection is carefully curated by our Wine Director, Naaman Rodges. His focus is on finding those hidden gems with excellent quality. We love small producers, uncommon varietals and regions and we place them alongside cult classics. Our mentality is being a place of education that is approachable and fun. We provide a selection where guests can explore. Our selection is constantly changing and covers a range of all price points. You can pour from $1.00 per ounce to $95.00 per ounce. This makes Thirty-Eight & Vine such a unique experience. You have an opportunity to experience labels you will only see available by the bottle, never by the glass, and certainly not by the ounce.
Anything to say to the community? We are so excited to be here! Our launch in Boerne took much longer than anticipated. The community here has been nothing short of kind, welcoming and patient with us. We truly feel we have been welcomed into Boerne with open arms and excitement. We are very ready to settle in and start building out our events & experiences for all to enjoy!
Z’S WOODFIRED PIZZA
Name: Zak and Jodi Disch Year founded: 2013
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? We would like to think it is from hard work and dedication. We always strive to make the best product that we can here at our restaurant. We don’t cut corners and we haven’t changed our recipes even though the economy has food prices sky high. We have a great team here and a ton of support from the community.
What are the next goals for your business? Our next goal here at the restaurant is to continue to increase business and get the word out about our restaurant. We would like to do more events and fundraisers for the community and the state of Texas.
Anything to say to the community? We would just like to say thank you for all the love and support that the community has shown us. Even through all the tough times in the past couple years Boerne is still strong and growing better by the day. Thank you for voting us best Pizza in Boerne for the 4th time in a row.
BEST SANDWICH & PIE
Name: Jana Bezet Year founded: 1982
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? We praise God every day for all of our success over the last 40 years. Our homemade breads & desserts, as well as our terrific staff, are why we were voted best Sandwich & Pie.
What are the next goals for your business? The last several years have held many challenges, but by God’s grace and the support of our customers we are still here! We hope to continue to serve Boerne in the same “small town”” manner for many years to come.
Anything to say to the community? We want Boerne to know how much we truly appreciate them. We really do have the best customers!
BEST OPTICAL PROVIDER
DIETZ MCLEAN OPTICAL
Name: Drake Mclean
Year founded: Dietz Mclean Optical began as a partnership between R.G. McLean of San Antonio and E.A. Dietz of Ft. Worth. The original location was in the Medical Arts Building (now the Emily Morgan hotel, in downtown San Antonio). For many years the company operated retail, wholesale, distribution and equipment sales. We opened our Boerne Store in 2008, bringing the same practices we’ve used serving our customers for over 80 years.
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? We credit our wonderful, loyal customers who appreciate our products and services. We continue to build on our legacy of innovation, service and quality.
Anything to say to the community? We love the Boerne Community and are so proud to be part.
Name: Jeanette G. Alcazar Year founded: 1991
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? We credit the incredible Boerne community for their support of our business. We have been privileged to form relationships and trust that span generations. Our dedicated team has also truly stepped up to the challenges and successes of the last year.
What are the next goals for your business? We look forward to forming new relationships with the growing Boerne community and to representing the latest and greatest in jewelry fashion. We have also been growing our diamond and gemstone services in the last couple years and look forward to dealing more in precious stones.
Anything to say to the community? THANK YOU for continuing to show your support for our small business. We are grateful to be your family jeweler and look forward to seeing you again soon. We owe our success to you! Our wonderful community!
BEST ICE CREAM
PARKER’S ICE CREAM
Name: Andrea and Richard Thorp Year founded: 2019
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? Success starts with knowing what you want to accomplish and staying true to that vision. Parker’s vision is great artisan ice cream, an exceptional community environment, and a team that understands hospitality. Our small batch ice cream offers both old school flavors as well as unique offerings only possible in a shop that makes its own ice cream. We always have a couple of non-dairy options available. We also must give credit to our customers many of whom understand this is their ice cream shop. They participate in our social media and introduce us to their friends who otherwise might not find us in our out of the way (but great) location. The community helps to shape the flavors we offer, with “Bourbon Butter Pecan” and “Honey Lavender” ice cream being just two of many examples. Over the course of a year we offer over 100 flavors. Follow us on social media for what special flavors are available. Did we mention our employees? Yes they are fantastic with a natural flair for hospitality and service. The only problem with them is that they are mostly students and graduate and move away!
What are the next goals for your business? Well, adapting to the ever-changing economy is the main thing on our mind these days. We never know what of the many things we use will become unavailable or have a major price increases. As we said before we have an amazing team. The team is made up mostly of students, who graduate and move on to the next stage of their lives. So we are always looking for those special folks who can make the customer service magic happen. We are also working to make our behind-the-scenes processes the best they can be. Finally, we have started selling our ice cream wholesale, and hope to expand this business line this year.
Anything to say to the community? We love this area! Having lived all around the world during our Military careers there is a reason we settled here. A major part of what we want to accomplish with this business is “community” starting with being a great place to be with your family and friends as well as a goal of being an active part of the community Finally, thank you for your continued support of local small businesses.
BEST FURNITURE STORE
Name: Cindy Carr and Sylvia Griffin Year founded: 2019
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? We owe this victory to our many loyal customers, and to our super-cool staff who never cease to amaze us!
What are the next goals for your business? Our goals are to continue to seek out and find the most iconic pieces of home decor, and find a cost-effective way to obtain them to keep our prices reasonable.
Anything to say to the community? We love working and living in a community that is striving to maintain its heart and character. We pledge to do our part!
Name: Tyler W. Ferris, D.D.S., M.S. & Megan Hembree, D.D.S., M.S. Year founded: 2001
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? Hands down, it is our outstanding customer service, the hallmark of our practice. The personal time and attention the doctor gives to each patient at each visit, and the expertise and skill they impart, creates the beautiful smiles you see all over our community. “We Serve, You Smile” is our motto.
What are the next goals for your business? Ferris Orthodontics has three locations: Boerne, Bulverde and Leon Springs. We are currently a Platinum Plus Invisalign Provider and are fitting more adults, as well as teens, in Invisalign. We continue to strive as a team to provide personalized care and attention to detail while maintaining safety protocols.
Anything to say to the community? We are so appreciative of your time and most of all your trust in us as professionals and members of this community. It is an honor and we take very seriously! Thank you and Line ‘Em Up!
BEST MEXICAN FOOD
COMPADRES HILL COUNTRY COCINA
Name: Mark and Dalia Sierra Year founded: 2020
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? Customer service, quality of food, treating our customers and employees like family, community involvement and staying true to our family values.
What are the next goals for your business? Continuing to set the standards in quality of service and food. No need for expansion on our end, we are very happy with what we are able to do while being able to be involved in our community and children’s lives, day in and day out.
Anything to say to the community? Don’t settle for less, support local as much as you can, and they will support you in return. Be open to new things, it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone.
LILLIAN JAXX CANDLES
Photo credit: Sarah Brooke Lyons
Name: Melissa Hart Year founded: 2015
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? We credit our wonderful, loyal customers who allow us to be a part of their homes and memories.
What are the next goals for your business? We are excited to add luxury soy candles to our product line and to continue creating unique scent blends. Also, we would love to expand into a storefront on Main Street and be part of the Hill County Mile.
Anything to say to the community? Boerne is the gold standard for small towns in Texas, and we are so proud to be a part of this community. We have been hand-crafting our products here for seven years and love having the opportunity to represent this gem of a city.
Name: Clayton Klein and Colton Sells Year founded: 1976
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? We could not have done this without the great people that we work with and our loyal customers. Without them, none of this would be possible.
What are the next goals for your business? We have plans in the future to add a dine-in area and expand our retail storefront. We would also like to grow our wholesale business.
Anything to say to the community? We are extremely excited and thankful to have been named best of the best BBQ for the last 14 years. The Boerne community has always been great to us and we look forward to providing them with the best BBQ for many years to come.
BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE
DONY AND PONY GRILL
Name: Joey Boatwright Year founded: 2010
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? We do our best to bring talented musicians to Boerne that might not always venture out this way. We love to support musicians who are able to bring their own, original music to our stage yet they can still play the crowd pleasers!
What are the next goals for your business? We would love to be able to continue providing free music to the Boerne Community but also expand into doing tickets shows 4-6 times a year. We often hear that the folks in Boerne would love to be able to stay closer to home when going out for live music. Maybe one day we can attract talent and acts similar to Gruene Hall or Floore’s Country Store.
Anything to say to the community? Thank you for your support! We love brining good food, cold drinks, and live music to our community. Please remember to support our other local restaurants, breweries, and retail shops. Boerne is a special place and we love being a small part of it!
Name: Chef Denise Mazal Year founded: 2009
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? YOU! We can’t create the best authentic dishes in this town without you! Our team works hard and the dedication is nonstop. From the moment we opened our doors to our first and last guest of the day. Our breakfast is successful because of the love of our community and the passion in the kitchen.
What are the next goals for your business? We strive on keeping the legacy of Little Gretel strong and our Kolaches spreading all over TEXAS!
Anything to say to the community? Thank you, Boerne for almost 13 years of making our dreams come true. We are so honored part of this community for over 30 years!
DAY 1 BAGS
Name: Hunter Beaton Year founded: 2016
What do you credit for your victory in the BEST OF contest? Because we are a nationwide non-profit serving 33 other states, we can only credit our victory to the generosity and support we receive from the beneficiaries, donors, advisors, and supporters. Not only that, we hustled to earn our votes. Since there are so many great nonprofits in Boerne, we knew we had to push hard and convince folks that our mission was worthy of their vote. Let’s face it, youth in foster care receive second-hand, hand-me-down clothes and items. We are all about giving them a sense of dignity, the highest quality bags, and items anyone would be proud to carry and own ourselves. We are only able to serve our at-risk youth and youth experiencing foster care because we have individuals believing and supporting our mission to take care of this vulnerable population. We are dedicated to finding what our youth need the most and how to intentionally serve them well. We pride ourselves on the fact that we are continually adapting to serve the needs of our youth in our community based on their feedback. Our loyal and generous supporters deserve the credit for the Best of 2022 contest.
What are the next goals for your business? Our main goal will always be to provide our most vulnerable youth with the highest quality supplies and necessities they need to operate well in their daily lives. We are committed to continually offering our Day 1 Bags along with other essential supplies to child welfare agencies and youth so they can live their best lives.
Anything to say to the community? As a very small nonprofit, we once again want to thank our community for allowing us to make an impact on over 100,000 bags in 6 years. The only way we have been able to complete such a feat is because of your generosity and belief in Day 1 Bags. Thank you again for voting for us as the Best Nonprofit in Boerne. We don’t take this for granted and we are grateful for your support.