Wabash wins $500,000 in Small Business contest

May 12th, 2016

News Coverage:

May 12, 2016

Wabash wins $500,000 in Small Business contest

Frank Gray | The Journal Gazette

The city of Wabash will get $500,000 worth of marketing assistance and physical improvements after winning the Small Business Revolution contest sponsored by Deluxe Corp.

The city's win was announced this afternoon.

Wabash was one of two finalists. The other was Silverton, Oregon. The winner was determined by the number of votes that local people cast online.

For Wabash's win, Deluxe Corp., which specializes in marketing and other services for small businesses, will contribute $250,000 in marketing services for local businesses and $250,000 for physical improvements to individual businesses and the downtown area.

According to Amanda Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer for Deluxe, the company realized that small businesses were more under siege by big box stores and other competitors in small towns. To mark the company's 100th anniversary, it prepared a documentary on how important small businesses are to the economy and sponsored the contest.

About 10,000 communities were nominated for the contest.

Brinkman said Wabash was actually trailing by 4,000 votes late in the contest but rallied to win by 10,000 votes.

Brinkman said that in 11 days officials with Deluxe will return to the city and work individually with businesses to determine what they need to improve their image or draw more attention and will work with the town itself to determine how it can make itself more attractive and draw in visitors.

"That's what we do day in and day out," Brinkman said. "We'll have a heavy hand in determining what makes the biggest difference."

The entire process will probably take most of the summer. During the process Wabash will be featured in a video on renovating the downtown and working with businesses. It will be available online and will be hosted by Robert Herjavec who appears on the TV series Shark Tank.