City of Frostburg Makes Finalist List for $500,000 Main Street Makeover, Winner Pending

On the afternoon of Nov. 15, the city of Frostburg was announced as a top-eight short list of finalists for the Small Business Revolution’s $500,000 Main Street Makeover. Frostburg received this honor out of thousands of nominations nationwide, with its original nomination coming from Katie Morgan, an FSU alumna.

The Small Business Revolution on Main Street has a goal of “seeking out America’s most inspiring small towns,” according to its website. Each season, they award one winner with $500,000 to be strategically used for revitalization, and an eight episode online series featuring the transformation process.

Morgan’s submission caught the attention of the Small Business Revolution, prompting an additional follow-up questionnaire, which required some assistance from the City and FrostburgFirst. These provided answers then led to a phone call from Small Business Revolution asking for a phone interview to answer more in-depth questions about Frostburg, including Frostburg’s economic activity, the business community, overall needs of the region, and what winning this competition could mean for Main Street. Following that interview, Frostburg was selected as a finalist out of over 14,000 nominations.

The next step of the competition process includes Small Business Revolution visiting Frostburg on Jan. 9, 2017 to film and to tour the city. After the other finalist towns are visited and filmed as well, a list of the top four to six finalists will be announced on Feb. 9, 2017. Nationwide voting will occur until Feb. 16, giving finalist towns just one week to show their support through online votes.

For the winning town, six businesses in the Main Street market will be focused on and highlighted. Small Business Revolution will also work with community leaders to determine specific aesthetic projects [it] will invest in as a part of [this] campaign,” according to a letter to Jessica Palumbo, Frostburg’s Main Street manager, from Cameron Potts, vice president of public relations at Deluxe Corporation, the sponsoring company. Small business owners in the winning town will be asked to submit applications to be considered among the final six businesses they assist. Chosen small businesses will likely be diverse and from different categories including restaurants, clothing stores, and gift shops.

The eight episode online series is meant to show “a diverse mix of small businesses to help other communities and small business owners learn more about how marketing and business advice can spur growth in any community.” If Frostburg is able to receive enough votes to win in February, we can do just that.

Other towns on the short list of finalists are Georgetown, SC; Marietta, OH; Bristol Borough, PA; Woodland Park, CO; Red Wing, MN; North Adams, MA; and Kingsburg, CA. Last year’s winner, and the first town to ever receive this honor, was Wabash, IN.

Deluxe Corporation has been a “champion” of small businesses since 1915. It established the Small Business Revolution to celebrate its 100th anniversary, which led to the start of this $500,000 opportunity for small business across America in 2016.

Main Street Manager Jessica Palumbo encourages those interested in following Frostburg’s journey through the Small Business Revolution process to join the Facebook group or event, Frostburg, MD Small Business Revolution.  The event page is to serve as reminder for people to vote for Frostburg in February, as long as it makes the list of finalists. Social media users are also encouraged to share the hashtag #myfrostburg. For more information, visit http://smallbusinessrevolution.org/ or contact FrostburgFirst at 301-689-6900.

An information session is set to take place on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 9:30 a.m. in City Place, Frostburg. Palumbo and others will be discussing how individuals can help with the campaign and what a win could do for Frostburg.

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