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Wabash Wins!

Friday, June 17, 2016

The competition was the Small Business Revolution on Main Street, established by Deluxe Corp. (a Minnesota-based marketing firm) in honor of reaching their 100th year of business in 2015. Recognizing the importance of small businesses, the company showcased 100 small businesses that year. In 2016, Deluxe expanded on this mission by creating the Small Business Revolution on Main Street competition to award a $500,000 makeover to one small town in America.

“We really recognized that nowhere are small businesses more under siege than in our small towns,” said Amanda Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer for Deluxe during the announcement of the winner. “We wanted to start the conversation around the importance of supporting small businesses in our small towns.”

Starting with 10,000 communities across all 50 states vying for the top prize, the field was whittled down to two finalists: Silverton, Oregon and Wabash, Indiana. In May, thanks to over 180,000 online votes cast, Wabash was announced as the winner.

Wabash Mayor Scott Long said he expects a long-term positive impact. Already the town is getting some benefit from the national attention of just winning such a competition, but in July the real benefits begin. Projects to refurbish the town’s downtown will start then, as will filming of a documentary that will cover the transformation. Shark Tank’s celebrity entrepreneur Robert Herjavec will be on site to offer entrepreneurial assistance to Wabash’s small business owners, and will also star in the documentary series.

Steve Downs, executive director of Wabash Marketplace, Inc., says that while some of the money will go to the city to refurbish the downtown area, most of it will go to services and products to support the small businesses themselves.

Brinkman said that although originally the prize was intended as more of a Main Street makeover, but at the announcement said, “What I’m really touched by with Wabash is that you guys don’t need a makeover. You perhaps need a little enhancement. You need more of the world to recognize the incredible community this is and that’s what this project will do.”

Wabash, which has a population of approximately 11,000 people, was a 2014 Stellar Community Winner.

Watch the finalists’ videos at:

Read more about the competition and follow along with progress at:

City of Wabash