World’s first electric city beats 10,000 towns to win $500,000 revitalization prize

Wabash, Indiana beat out nearly 10,000 other small towns to win a revitalization contest, netting $500,000 worth of marketing services, business advice and other support.

Wabash won the Deluxe Corporation‘s Small Business Revolution on Main Street project. In addition to the prize, Wabash will be featured in an online series starring “Shark Tank’s” Robert Herjavec.

The revitalization will be documented in a web series debuting on this fall.

Like many small towns, Wabash has taken a hit from urban sprawl, which has drawn businesses and workers from their downtown. A diminishing industrial base also undermined the local economy.

The nominations we received were compelling, passionate and sometimes, heart-breaking. It is humbling to see the connection and love Americans have for their small towns,” Herjavec said. “Small-business owners in small towns across America are the cornerstone of their communities and the backbone of our national economy. The Small Business Revolution – Main Street project will capture the true essence of community bonds that towns have with their small businesses.

The two finalists were:

  • Silverton, Oregon – Serving as the gateway to Oregon’s largest state park, Silverton is surrounded by natural beauty and is home to a large botanical garden. The historic district has twice been hit with damaging fires – but the downtown business district is gaining momentum, featuring an array of shops and restaurants that are working to reinvigorate the city’s core. The unique expertise and support of the Small Business Revolution could be exactly what is needed to take the community to the next level.
  • Wabash, Indiana – This inspiring small town, which was the first electrically lighted city in the world, has not lost its spark. But it has taken a hit from urban sprawl, which has drawn businesses and workers out of downtown, and a diminishing industrial base that has altered the local economy. Wabash’s tight-knit community and independent small-business owners have banded together in a concerted effort to revitalize their downtown core – and the Small Business Revolution could help re-illuminate Wabash as a shining destination for tourists and residents alike.

See News-Sentinel article & photo credit.

See ABC TV article & news video.

See contest website.

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