Brainerd Bounces Back After Not Making Top 5 in Small Business Revolution Contest
The most recent announcement from Deluxe’s Small Business Revolution Contest had finalists condensed from the Top 10 down to the Top 5 on a Facebook Live video yesterday, and to the shock of many, Brainerd was not called.
“We fully expected that we would be in the top 5,” said Matt Kilian, Brainerd Lakes Chamber President. “The community worked so hard and it was disappointing.”
Although it was sad news, it was something the Chamber had prepared for.
“All along we knew there was a possibility that [getting in the top 5] wouldn’t happen, so we were planning the whole time for if we don’t make the top 5, then what?” Kilian said.
After a few moments of disappointment, the team jumped into action to start work on the MyBrainerd Rally – River to Rail.
“There’s more to Brainerd than just downtown; it’s certainly the heart and the core of the community, but we also have tremendous revitalization efforts happening at the Northern Pacific Center as well as on the Mississippi River front,” Kilian said.
In a partnership with the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation (BLADEC), the rally is open to the public to hear ideas about the future direction of Brainerd.
“All of these great projects are occurring, and it felt like we should bring everyone together and have each of these entities share what they have been working on and what their vision is for the future,” said Sheila Haverkamp, Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Executive Director.
The River to Rails initiative will focus on certain projects and then be open to anyone as part of their Brainerd-storming session.
“The River to Rails effort is a long term 20-30-year vision to totally revitalize our Brainerd community,” Haverkamp said.
The end goal is to bring about positive change for Brainerd.
“Hopefully to create some more momentum, new projects and new strategies to keep the momentum going in our community,” Haverkamp said.
And this momentum came after a contest gave the community new hope and life.
“We could have never predicted that it would really rally the community together,” Kilian said. “The community learned to believe in itself again and that was really important.”
The MyBrainerd Rally – River to Rail event will take place on Monday Feb. 26 from 5-8:30 p.m. at the Northern Pacific Center. You can sign up for the event here.