For the second year in a row, Independent We Stand has awarded more than $25,000 in cash and prizes, plus a brag-worthy title, to one deserving Main Street program. The America’s Main Streets contest celebrates local communities across the country, while recognizing the groups working to keep them vibrant. This year, MainStreet DeLand of DeLand, Florida, claimed the top spot in IWS’ America’s Main Streets contest.
Situated about 30 miles north of Orlando, DeLand is one of Florida’s “small-town treasures.” The city is home to about 27,000 residents and the historic campus of Stetson University. MainStreet DeLand has served the community for more than 30 years, blending the city’s historic roots with the 21st century. The award-winning Main Street program organizes regular events, such as a growers and makers market and small business meetings. MainStreet DeLand was even the first program in Florida to earn the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street designation.
“MainStreet DeLand has worked long and hard to reinvigorate the downtown. At one point over half of the downtown buildings were vacant. Now it is clearly the pride and joy of the community.” said Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. “The purpose of the America’s Main Streets contest is to highlight the type of leadership and longstanding commitment to community that MainStreet DeLand provides.”
Main Streets across the country unmistakably enrich their communities. They provide a place for local businesses to thrive, thereby paving the way for job creation and economic reinvestment, and they give residents a place to gather. As this year’s contest winner, MainStreet DeLand becomes part of a class of extraordinary Main Street programs that support this fundamental function of downtown. Last year’s winner, Downtown Lynden, helped its Washington community rebuild an iconic downtown building after a devastating fire.
In this year’s contest, MainStreet DeLand met some tough competition from stellar programs across the country. In total, 242 Main Streets in 48 states were nominated for the title, and more than 300,000 votes were cast. Including MainStreet DeLand, the contest recognized 10 semifinalists:
- Bridge Street – Ashtabula, Ohio
- Brookhaven Main Street – Brookhaven, Mississippi
- Downtown Lee’s Summit – Lee’s Summit, Missouri
- Downtown Rochester – Rochester, Michigan
- Elizabeth City Downtown – Elizabeth City, North Carolina
- Hayward Main Street – Hayward, Wisconsin
- Historic Downtown McKinney – McKinney, Texas
- Red Wing Downtown Main Street – Red Wing, Minnesota
- John Front Street – St. John, Washington
As the contest’s ultimate winner, MainStreet DeLand will receive $25,000 cash, plus a series of prizes intended to make community revitalization easier. Among other items, those prizes include:
- Certificate for $1,000 in STIHL outdoor power equipment, redeemable at any locally owned STIHL dealer in the U.S.
- One-year subscription with SnapRetail, good for email marketing support, social media scheduling and a new website
- $500 shopping spree with Do-it Best Corp.
- $500 shopping spree with PPG Pittsburgh Paints
Additionally, MainStreet DeLand will work with Independent We Stand on a “Main Streets Make Us Better” event. The event will take place on July 1, during DeLand’s annual Firecracker Festival. The Main Street-themed event will give the local community an opportunity to celebrate the contest win and reenergize its support for the downtown program.
For more information about the America’s Main Streets contest, visit www.mainstreetcontest.com.