The 2020 Illawarra and South Coast Local Business Awards are proceeding with and awards ceremony penciled in at the Fraternity Club in Fairy Meadow on November.
Precedent Productions managing director Steve Loe said the number of nominations by mail and online was just as strong as in previous years.
Mr Loe has run the awards for 35 years but never in a year like this.
But with nominations now closed his team is now busy collating all the entires.
"It's a mammoth task to sort through the huge number of nominations we have received this year," he said.
"While I never fail to be amazed by the huge level of support that the Illawarra and South Coast community shows for its local businesses, this year has been outstanding.
"We are now in the process of compiling thousands of nominations to determine this year's finalists.
"Once the most popular businesses in each category have been determined, the Awards team will notify the finalists."
That will be followed by anonymous impartial judges visiting each finalist to assess their services from a customer's point of view.
Judging criteria includes the range of products, value for money, business and staff appearance, service quality and customer relations.
Finalists can also submit information about aspects of their business that an anonymous judge may not see, such as customer testimonials and references.
Mr Loe said the awards program and the benefits it brought to local businesses was only possible because of the generosity of supporters for the event such as Warilla Grove Shopping Centre, Dapto Mall Shopping Centre, BxNetworking and White Key Marketing.
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