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    The local brands we love the most

    Online voting shows last year's winner, REI, has been toppled. And maybe Howard Schultz's turnaround of Starbucks needs to pay more attention to Seattle voters?

    It started in late July, a contest cosponsored by Seattle Business Journal and the local branding and PR firm GreenRubino, to identify the "most respected brand" in Seattle. Companies from 16 industry sectors as diverse as hotels, banks, software, and construction, were pitted against each other in a series of online votes.

    Nordstrom handily beat Columbia Bank, but was done in by the Fairmont Hotel. The Fairmont had beaten Canlis, early odds-on favorite, but was done in by Windermere Real Estate.

    On the other side of the ledger, last year's winner, REI, was edged out in the second round by Northwest Harvest. Chateau Ste. Michelle trounced Starbucks by a lopsided 3 to 1 margin (who knew there was so much hate for the Mermaid?), then decisively punched out the law firm of Perkins Coie before eliminating Northwest Harvest.

    Now it's down to the final round. Which is the more respected local brand: Windermere or Ste. Michelle? Voting (vote here) closes at 3 pm Thursday (Aug. 25). Spoiler alert: as of late Monday, Ste. Michelle had a huge lead.

    To look at the complete scoresheet, click on this link.

    Ronald Holden is a regular Crosscut contributor. His new book, published this month, is titled “HOME GROWN Seattle: 101 True Tales of Local Food & Drink." (Belltown Media. $17.95).

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