The rallies are over. The votes are in. Now, Red Wing residents are playing the waiting game, eagerly anticipating news of whether their city won an online contest and the $500,000 prize that comes with it.
Results of the Small Business Revolution contest, sponsored by Shoreview-based Deluxe Corp. and designed to feature a small town and revitalize the community and its small businesses, will be revealed at 1 p.m. Wednesday in a live Facebook broadcast. The announcement can’t come soon enough for the scenic Mississippi River town about an hour southeast of the Twin Cities.
“It’s like sitting in school and staring at the clock til 3,” said Bill Hanisch, owner of the Hanisch Bakery and Coffee Shop.
Red Wing grabbed the lead over four other communities on the final day of voting last Thursday. Early morning pep rallies at Hanisch’s bakery, nighttime pizza parties at local businesses and publicity around town and on social media fueled the push to get people to vote for the city best known for its leather, pottery and the iconic Red Wing Shoes.
On Thursday, the town’s high school and library stayed open well into the night to provide computer access for anybody who needed it.
Win, lose or draw, the contest has been the talk of the town, said Hanisch, a lifelong resident who worked at the bakery as a teenager and later bought it.
“Everywhere you go, people have said ‘I voted’ or ‘I voted six times today,’ ” he said. “It’s cool to see people rally together and do cool stuff.”
Red Wing trailed Bristol Borough, Pa., throughout most of the voting, but took over the top spot in the contest’s final hours. Contest officials didn’t divulge the size of the lead, saying only that it was “still anyone’s game.”
Kingsburg, Calif.; North Adams, Mass., and Georgetown, S.C., also are in the running for the money and the chance to be featured on the next season of the “Main Street” series.
Voting was furious in the contest’s final hours, said Cameron Potts, a Deluxe official. He said the company wanted to carefully tabulate the results and ensure each city was credited with the correct number of votes before announcing the winner.
Deluxe received more than 14,000 nominations before narrowing the list to “five fantastic towns” that battled it out to win advice and marketing support for its businesses, downtowns, and broader community. A party is planned in Red Wing’s T.B. Sheldon Theatre for the announcement.