Red Wing ready to celebrate — win or lose — contest results

RED WING — Can Red Wing hold onto its lead?

As of Thursday, the last update from Small Business Revolution, voters had pushed Red Wing into the lead over its for competitors for the $500,000 in cash and services to help boost small businesses. To claim the prize, the city needs to hold its lead over Bristol Borough, Penn. — which had led after the first two voting updates — Georgetown, S.C., Kingsburg, Calif., and North Adams, Mass.

Voting ended Thursday at 11 p.m. The winner will be announced at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

“We’ll be opening the doors at 12:30,” said Bonnie Schock, executive director of the Sheldon Theatre. “We’re not taking any reservations. It’s possible you might not be able to get a seat.”

The Facebook Live stream will be broadcast on the big screen at the theater for all to see. “A few people will speak (between when the doors open and the announcement) and there will be live broadcasts from KWNG and KCUE,” Schock said.

Win or lose, she said, Red Wing has already come out on top.

Megan Tsui, executive director of Red Wing Downtown Main Street, echoed that feeling.

“How much would it have cost us for all the media attention?” Tsui asked. “Instead, it’s happened this way. That’s what is exciting to us.”

As part of the organizing committee for Wednesday’s party, Tsui hopes everyone wears red, brings signs of support and a big dose of community spirit. Afterwards, there will be a party at Liberty’s Restaurant & Lounge.

“It’s a good place to celebrate all this has brought to Red Wing,” she said.

As the person who wrote one of the two entries that brought Small Business Revolution to Red Wing, Tsui said she hoped her city might win, but never imagined this much positive response.

“We’ve been so flattered along the way,” she said. “Small Business Revolution has talked about and showcased how great Red Wing is every step along the way.”

Red Wing’s profile has seen a measurable boost, she said, and it is no more easily seen than on social media.

“The numbers are staggering in terms of engagement online,” she said. The Downtown Main Street Red Wing Facebook page has seen about 300,000 visitors due to Small Business Revolution posts. “They’ve done such a good job of helping us tell our story. What a gift.”

Schock said that as one of downtown Red Wing’s higher profile businesses, the Sheldon Theatre is happy to host the event Wednesday and share in what, she hopes, will become a big day for the city. “We’ve had an extraordinary experience with this, and it’s brought our whole community and region together,” she said.
What’s your reaction?

—Brian Todd, PostBulletin Reporter