Marinette-Menominee is finalist for $500,000 reality TV prize

MARINETTE, Wis./MENOMINEE, Mich. (WBAY) - Small businesses in Marinette, Wis., and Menominee, Mich., are in the running to win a half-million dollar main street makeover.

Co-host of 'Small Business Revolution- Main Street,' Amanda Brinkman, talks to the crowd at the community wide event

Marinette-Menominee combined made it to the top 10 list of towns on the fourth season of the "Small Business Revolution - Main Street" series by Deluxe Corporation that's carried worldwide on Hulu, out of more than 12,000 entries.

Thursday night, the show's producers came to visit the area, and the communities are rallying together to win the competition.

Small businesses in Marinette and across the bridge in Menominee all had the same yellow sign on display promoting the hashtag #MyMarinetteMenominee.

The two cities are working together so local small businesses can get the help they need.

"Those dollars come in the form of consulting fees. They come in the form of just help in general, whatever that could be -- maybe it's reorganizing some merchandising. So, you know, maybe your store, like mine, is a little cluttered, and how do we get that to be more streamlined?" Wind Rose North Outfitters owner Zak Aubert said.

Aubert says representatives from "Small Business Revolution" came to his store and asked him what challenges his business faces on a daily basis. They also asked him about the community.

More than 200 local small businesses have registered to be a part of this revolution.

Show co-host Amanda Brinkman said, "It's just a real blessing for my team and I to go out and meet so many hard-working Americans that are working to provide for their families and provide unique services to their community."

Thursday night, a community-wide event brought out hundreds to welcome the "Small Business Revolution" team.

"This excitement and this community pride is something they have fostered and created here, and they have so much to be proud of," Brinkman said.

Aubert says the feeling is surreal, and the support coming from the community and Deluxe Corporation has already made him feel like a winner.

"I think it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Super important that we're even being considered to be a part of it, and I feel like we've already won," Aubert said.

"A half-a-million dollar investment in any community can go a long way," Brinkman acknowledged, "but really the prize here is community pride, attention for your region, attention for your community, the help that Deluxe offers the small businesses with their marketing, and so we feel like the effect and the real prize is even more than just that investment, it's really that sense in community pride that these towns get."

Brinkman says the people of Marinette-Menominee will find out if their community advanced to the top 5 on February 12.

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