Independent We Stand has recognized DeLand, Florida, as the winner of its second annual America’s Main Streets contest.
As the 2017 grand prize winner, the community’s downtown will receive $25,000.
Independent We Stand, an organization that exists to promote small businesses, hosts the contest as a way to highlight the importance of locally owned, downtown businesses and contribute money for revitalization in a community.
People nationwide placed more than 300,000 total votes, and DeLand, Florida, received the most votes, according to Independent We Stand.
The MainStreet DeLand Association will receive the $25,000 in prize money to use toward local revitalization. The association, which formed in 1985, transformed a rundown, abandoned district with a more than 50-percent vacancy rate to a thriving downtown area now at nearly 100-percent capacity. The association dedicates itself to continued downtown economic development while promoting and preserving DeLand’s historic roots.
“Established Main Street organizations like the one in DeLand, with strong support from their community and independent businesses, fall right in line with the mission of Independent We Stand,” says Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. “We can’t wait to see how MainStreet DeLand Association utilizes this prize and how it will impact independent businesses and the people who support them.”
A plan for how the MainStreet DeLand Association will spend the grand prize money will be announced during a Fourth of July event in DeLand.
“For two or three—or even four or five years—we are going to benefit from winning this contest,” says Wayne Carter, executive director of MainStreet DeLand Association. “When you come to DeLand you are going to get great food and find unique clothing, gifts and specialty items you can’t get at a big-box store.”