VOTE: Red Wing finalist for half-million dollars
Let the voting frenzy begin. Red Wing was announced as one of five finalists Thursday morning, Feb. 9 out of nearly 14,000 nominations. Other finalists are Bristol Borough, Pa., Georgetown, S.C., Kingsburg, Calif., and North Adams, Mass.
Over two dozen community members gathered at Hanisch Bakery early Thursday morning to view the live streaming announcement. Nervous anticipation filled the bakery as the names of the other four finalists were revealed one by one, leaving Red Wing as the final city to be declared.
"This is such an exciting opportunity for Red Wing," Tracy Hardyman of Red Wing Downtown Main Street said. "Everyone did their part to get us to this point it, but we can't let this excitement die down. It's a popularity contest from here to the end."
The online voting polls for the Small Business Revolution contest, supported by Deluxe, opened Thursday shortly after the finalists were announced, and will remain open through Feb. 16. Votes can be cast once per day on multiple devices and web browsers.
Hardyman said it has been mentioned that the winning city would need to gain over 200,000 votes in the weeklong voting process.
"We need everyone to vote every day, on every device," Hardyman said.
The behind-the-scenes work to get Red Wing into the final five began over a year ago, Hardyman said.
"Between the Visitors and Convention Bureau and DTMS, we had originally applied and discussed this opportunity for Red Wing," she said.
After hearing back from the Small Business Revolution organizers, DTMS Executive Director Megan Tsui crafted the official application.
"It was very cleverly written," Hardyman said. "She centered it around Red Wing Shoe and the history of our city."
$500,000 for revitalization
If Red Wing would be named the winner of the Small Business Revolution contest, the $500,000 prize would make two great impacts.
"If we win, local businesses in Red Wing can apply to receive help from Deluxe and the Small Business Revolution team," Hardyman said.
The small businesses selected by the contest organizers would receive business advice and marketing support.
The other aim of the prize money, Hardyman explained, will be geared toward a project that will impact the entire community.
"That project would be like a renovation or revitalization of an area of town that is accessible and available for everyone to use," she said.
Residents can expect to see the voting link in nearly every form of communication within the week.
"It's only one week of voting, so we will be promoting it as much as we can," said Tammy Wadley of the Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce. "What an exciting to come together and support our city."
Marion Fitschen, also of the chamber, said that an opportunity of this magnitude is something that Red Wing has never seen before.
"It's truly an opportunity to put Red Wing on the map more than it already is," she said.
The Red Wing Public Library has the voting link bookmarked on all public computers, and will assist anyone with accessing the site. Voting ends Feb. 16 . The winner will be announced Feb. 22.
Cast your vote once a day, per device (desktop computer, laptop, tablet, smart phone), per web browser (Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox)