PRINCETON, Minn. — The promotion this central Minnesota town is proposing to attract businesses to its downtown is modeled after the Main Street Challenge of Biddeford, Maine.
Business organizations and the city there last spring announced three winning businesses that will open in downtown Biddeford by this month. Biddeford, a former textile mill town of about 22,000 people, received 27 business pitches.
The winners included Dahlia’s Delights, a vegetarian restaurant; Elements, a used bookstore/cafe by day that turns into a taproom/event space by night; and Tote Road, which carries hand-carved wooden goods.
“The contest built so much excitement that I’ve had more contacts and leads in the last three months than I have in the previous year and a half,” said Delilah Poupore, executive director of the Heart of Biddeford, a downtown revitalization organization.
“Ten thousand dollars is a fraction of what the winners will put back into the community through hiring people and the commerce they’ll generate. In that sense, it’s a great opportunity for smaller communities to get a tangible return on a reasonable investment,” she said.
Princeton is offering an incentive package worth $20,000 for up to three businesses. There’s a competition to be selected but, if the business opens by next September in downtown Princeton, they get the prize — which includes a $10,000 forgivable loan if they stay open for at least three years.
Distributed by MCT Information Services