It’s that time of year again—the fifth annual America’s Main Streets contest is here! Nominate or vote for your favorite Main Street all spring long to give your community a chance at the coveted title and prize package.
The America’s Main Streets contest highlights the important contributions that Main Streets, downtown districts and the like make to their communities. Through downtown revitalization, economic development and seasonal celebrations, Main Streets contribute to the long-term success and vitality of the communities they serve. They keep residents engaged in the local community, and they build the community into a viable market for small businesses and local entrepreneurs.
Given this important role, it’s no wonder that small businesses and local residents feel pride about their Main Streets. The America’s Main Streets contest lets members of the public share their local pride on a national stage. Consumers, small business owners, local leaders and Main Street advocates can nominate and vote for their favorite Main Street online to help reward that organization for its work. Nominations and quarterfinalist voting are now open and continue through April 19. Semifinalist voting will take place April 27 through May 24. Finally, this year’s winner will be announced on June 2.
Following the announcement, the winning Main Street will get to start planning a celebration fit for the local community. On July 4, Independent We Stand and the winning Main Street will host a “Main Streets Make Us Better” event, where the contest winner will get to announce plans for its $25,000 grand prize. In addition to the cash, the winning Main Street will receive a collection of sponsor-related goodies. This year’s prize package includes:
- $25,000 cash to support Main Street projects
- STIHL Equipment Certificate for $1,000 worth of STIHL equipment, good at any STIHL dealer in the U.S.
- Do it Best Corp. $500 shopping spree
- Free One Day Downtown Assessment from Flip This Town
- Nationwide Marketing Group $500 shopping spree
- PPG Paints $500 shopping spree
- Public relations and social media recognition
- A special plaque for the winner to proudly display
Last year, Ohio’s Main Street Wellington took home the top spot. Main Street Wellington gave the grand prize back to its community, funding grants to renovate the downtown district. These renovations showcased the community’s historic charm and improved the downtown aesthetic.
“With the prize money from the America’s Main Streets contest, the Main Street Wellington board create a façade renovation mini-grant program,” says Jenny Arntz, director of Main Street Wellington. “Twenty buildings received the grants, and eleven are completed, including painting, wood repair, window and door replacement.”
The organization also enriched the holiday season. “Main Street Wellington also gave the Village of Wellington $2,000 for new Christmas lights for downtown,” says Artnz. “We are forever grateful to the people who voted for us to win the award, and to Independent We Stand and their sponsors for the opportunity.”
This year, the Independent We Stand team will hit the road to promote the contest. “The Great American West Coast Cruisin’” road trip will start on March 16. While traveling along the pacific coast, the team will make stops on five Main Streets in five days to eat, sleep and shop local, as well as interview and engage with small businesses, their customers, Main Street groups and small business organizations.
The America’s Main Streets contest is supported by a team of local-friendly sponsors, including presenting sponsor STIHL, Inc. Other sponsors include Do it Best Corp., Flip This Town, Nationwide Marketing Group, the North American Retail Hardware Association, the Paint & Decorating Retailers Association and PPG Paints.
Ready to shout your local pride? Nominate your local Main Street organization and vote online through April 19 at www.mainstreetcontest.com. Follow along with the contest and the Great American West Coast Cruisin’ road trip at www.independentwestand.org and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.