Shop-local organization Independent We Stand is honoring an Ohio street and contributing $25,000 to its Main Street revitalization program.
Main Street Wellington in Ohio has been named the 2019 winner of Independent We Stand’s annual America’s Main Streets contest.
As the winning organization, Main Street Wellington will receive $25,000 for upgrades to the town’s historic Herrick Avenue.
Wellington, Ohio, is a town of 4,895 residents. According to Independent We Stand, the community was formerly known as the “cheese empire of the nation,” when it was home to more than 40 cheese-making factories in the 1800s. The Horr-Warner Cheese Co. building still stands and will be restored with the help of the America’s Main Streets prize money.
“We know the Herrick Avenues of America help build a sense of place in their communities and are home to countless small, locally owned businesses,” says Independent We Stand co-founder Bill Brunelle. “They are also, often times, rich in history. Independent We Stand wants to help draw attention to these special places and recognize their economic impact. This contest is a chance to share those stories.”
Main Street Wellington is a nonprofit organization of business and property owners, community members and professionals who seek to revitalize the historic district of Wellington and preserve the area’s unique character.
“We are proud of our heritage and of our recent business growth and embrace the opportunity for additional growth and improvement,” says Jenny Arntz, director of Main Street Wellington. “We believe so much in the Wellington community and are touched by its support in the America’s Main Streets contest. The impact of this honor and prize will be visible and greatly appreciated by many.”
Main Street Wellington will use the $25,000 prize to continue its existing Paint the Town Proud program, which started in 2018 with the goal of sprucing up Wellington’s downtown area. Additionally, the money will pay for more signs that memorialize the district’s unique history.
Scott Jerousek, CEO of Farm and Home Hardware, which has a location in Wellington, says the prize will help local residents remember to invest in local businesses.
“Every cent of profit a local business makes stays in the community,” he says.
Jerousek operates two stores, and “extremely active Main Street organizations” support them both, he says.
“That support makes a huge difference,” he says. “You see businesses that are thriving and you may not have seen that five years ago because people are really starting to move back toward supporting local businesses.”
Learn more about the America’s Main Streets contest and each of 2019’s 10 semifinalists on the official website.