Destination Downtown Contest Launches For Third And Final Year
Destination Downtown is back and it’s bigger and better than ever.
The Destination Downtown contest first launched in 2017 and, through a judging process, awards one lucky entrepreneur $50,000 to start their business in downtown Brainerd.
“We have lots of interest, lots of public engagement, lots of buzz and momentum around downtown and we’re trying to build on that to find the next three great businesses to bring to downtown Brainerd,” said Brainerd Lakes Chamber President Matt Kilian.
The first contest winner was Brenda Billman-Arndt who opened the Purple Fern Bath Company in May of 2018. Last year’s contest winner was Marie Kirsch and Knotty Pine Bakery. They plan to open their doors in downtown Brainerd at 707 Laurel Street by the end of the summer.
“I just decided to take that next step and throw my hat in the ring for the Destination Downtown and I’m surprised to be here where I am today,” said Kirsch. “But super excited to be fulfilling this lifelong dream of mine.”
Organizers announced that this year will be the contest’s third and final year, but will also come with a few twists. This year, there will be three winners instead of just one, an enhanced prize package, and the third is what many are most excited about.
“Instead of our judges voting for the grand prize winner, the public, the community will get a chance to do that,” added Kilian. “It’s a way to get engaged and to support downtown Brainerd.”
The main goal of the contest is to revitalize and create excitement over downtown Brainerd, and over the last two years, it has done just that.
“We have a lot of variety. They’ve got a lot of money they’re pouring into it. I’m pouring a lot of money, other people are doing it, too. It’s a great place to do business. I see a good future here,” added David Pueringer, a downtown Brainerd investor and owner of the new Brainerd Mall.
“I think it’s just re-energized with area and just gotten people excited and pumped about not only shopping downtown, but just having that creative entrepreneurial spirit,” Kirsch said.
It’s off to the races for entrepreneurs in the Brainerd area. They have until July 22nd to submit their idea to possibly become one of the winners of the last Destination Downtown contest.
Anyone interested in entering the contest just has to answer six questions that can be found on the contest website at DowntownBrainerd.org.