Middle Michigan Development Corporation hosted its first Downtown Pitch event at the Broadway Theatre in Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. Over 60 community members attended, showing support for downtown businesses and downtown vibrancy while casting their votes for the People’s Choice Award.
Three downtown businesses—GreenTree Co-op Market, Sleepy Dog Books, and RedBloom Yoga—presented Business Vibrancy pitches in competition for the $10,000 prize. These businesses were selected as finalists out of 13 concepts for improving downtown businesses.
WoMa Bazaar, the sole presenter for the Community Vibrancy Category worth a $5,000 prize, pitched a concept for a downtown festival featuring artisans and makers.
Following the presentations, the live audience voted for their favorite of the pitched concepts to win the People’s Choice Award—over $1,300 to support downtown endeavors.
Who were the judges?
Event judges included Aaron Desentz, city manager of Mt. Pleasant; Amanda Schafer, CEO and COO of the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation; and Amy Rencher, senior vice president of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The pitches were evaluated based on strength of vision, clarity of plans, and overall impact to the business and the downtown district.
Why is it important?
“Our hope with this event was to spark interest in our downtown and to provide tangible resources to assist our businesses and community members in growing their business or adding value to the downtown area,” shares Kati Mora, vice president of Middle Michigan Development Corporation.
“I think we were successful in doing that. Not only did we highlight great ideas from the finalists of our program, but we also mentioned all the businesses and community members that submitted ideas. Through events like this, I think our community can continue to take pride in our downtown while also fostering growth for the future.”
After the public presentations, the night’s judges deliberated and announced the winning $10,000 Business Vibrancy Award for GreenTree Co-op Market. GreenTree’s concept outlined a plan to expand awareness for the Market through targeted digital strategies.
WoMa Bazaar pitched a concept for a downtown festival featuring artisans and makers. The proposal received the $5,000 Community Vibrancy Award.
Sleepy Dog Books receives the People’s Choice Award to support downtown Mt. Pleasant author events during the Downtown Pitch event, Wednesday, Nov. 9. (Photo Courtesy of Mid Michigan Development Corporation)
Sleepy Dog Books earned the People’s Choice Award—over $1,300 to support downtown author events.
Additionally, all three of the presenting businesses were awarded $2,500 worth of communication and marketing services, courtesy of the MEDC. These funds will further extend the impact and reach of each of the businesses.
In total, over $23,000 was invested into downtown Mt. Pleasant through this program thanks to the generosity of its sponsors: Lake Trust Credit Union, the Mt. Pleasant Area CVB, DTE Energy, the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation and the MEDC.
What they’re saying:
“All three of the pitches were really strong, so making our final selection was difficult,” noted Desentz about the Business Vibrancy pitches. “But at the end of the day, I’m grateful to have participated in this venture and that the event showcased so many of the exceptional businesses in our downtown.”
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