RED WING, Minn. (WCCO) -- The next 48 hours will determine if the city of Red Wing can land $500,000 to help its small businesses.
The city is one of five in the nation competing to win the Small Business Revolution - Main Street contest, sponsored by Deluxe. It's one campaign where it's perfectly OK to vote early, and often.
On every storefront and down every street, it's campaign season once again.
"Every time I'm on my Facebook page I say 'I've got to go vote,'" Cathy Schumacher said.
Supporters of the popular and scenic river town are voting in a nationwide ballot to bring home the bacon, $500,000 worth.
"It's intended to help revitalize your downtown," said Campaign Organizer Megan Tsui.
For the second year, Deluxe Corporation is sponsoring the contest which attracted 14,000 applicants. Out of that, Red Wing was selected as one of five finalists. Deluxe will award the winning city with both money and small business support.
While the concept is to bolster small business, the winning city gets to split the proceeds two ways – spending it on marketing help and physical improvements.
"A half-million dollars will go to help small businesses get smart at marketing and business advice, but also to make some improvements to downtown," Red Wing Mayor Sean Dowse said.
Those improvements could be used to give a facelift to a popular downtown oasis, Jordan Court.
So to encourage voting, public computers at the local library are helping out. Computer browsers lead directly to the voting web page. Individuals are only allowed to vote once a day on any one individual device or browser.
But with two days remaining in the contest voting, Red Wing still trails another competitor. The other cities in the running are Bristol Borough, Pa.; Georgetown, SC; Kingsburg, Calif. and North Adams, Mass.
"They're all coastal. We are the only city in fly-over country, the only Midwest town in the competition. So we really have to work hard to get the word out," Tsui said.
It is a desperate final push to cash in, for the good of Red Wing's downtown commerce.
If you would like to help Red Wing's efforts, here is how you can vote.
for more features.