Agreed on all points. For me, it also shows the worth of this contest.
In my case I haven't worked with Barbry or her company. They have very few shops in my area, but I recently applied for a hotel shop with her company. It would have been my first hotel shop as well and I said so in my application. Another shopper was chosen. A few days after a form rejection email Barbry sent a personal email saying she wanted to consider me but the fact I had never worked for her company was the deciding factor to give the shop to someone else. With this personal contact she helped build a bridge for future shops. With her recognition in this contest I know her act was business as usual. It reinforces that positive feeling I received from only one contact with her.
Happily shopping Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut