Alex St. Peters
If you haven’t already heard, our own Alton has made it to the Top 5 in the Small Business Revolution contest. The Small Business Revolution contest was created by Deluxe Corp. to help reignite the spark that keeps small businesses and towns going. The show is in its third season, which is streamed on YouTube, Hulu, and its own website. The winning town of the show and six of its small businesses will receive $500,000 in aid to help boost development.
The show’s producers picked from thousands of other cities all across America but ended up choosing Alton for the Top 10. Towards the end of January, the show’s film crew and host Amanda Brinkman visited Alton to get to know the town. After talking with city officials, small business owners, and the people in Alton, the show’s producers had to decide on which towns would make the Top 5. On February 13th, the show’s host Amanda Brinkman and co-host Ty Pennington of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revealed to a group of about 100 Altonians at Post Commons coffee shop that Alton had made the Top 5.
Owner of Alton’s Bottle and Barrel Christopher Keidel saw potential in Alton several years ago. He is not an Alton native but said he was drawn to this beautiful river town to start his business.
“I chose to start my business here in Alton because I saw all the possibilities. The show, Small Town Revolution and the contest it is offering is a unique opportunity to bring attention to other people that could believe in the possibilities of this community and strengthen our economy with additional investment, jobs, and even greater diversity,” Keidel said. “I often refer to my pub as OUR pub and I continually tell people that it is what they make of it. I love that my business reflects the diversity and strong sense of community that is this town. It’s a great collection of artists, musicians, service industry, athletes, and blue-collar river town friendly patrons.”
Since discovering that Alton made the Top 5, Alton has moved into 1st in voting as of February 17th. Alton is competing against Amesbury, Massachusetts, Bastrop, Texas, Martinez, California, and Siloam Springs Arkansas for the grand prize of $500,000. If Alton is able to win the $500,000 prize that money will be used to increase marketing efforts and business development. Also, the show’s hosts will return to Alton to film the town’s transformation for the season three eight episode mini-series. They will also help local small business with business plans to further the reawakening of Alton’s downtown area.
The voting ends on February 20th, so there is still time for you to cast your vote to help Alton and it’s small businesses win the $500,000 prize. You can cast your vote for Alton here once a day per unique email address.