Downtown Rochester competes in America’s Main Streets contest

By: Mary Beth Almond, | Rochester Post | Published May 16, 2017

ROCHESTER — The city of Rochester is home to one of the nation’s best main streets, according to an ongoing national contest.

Downtown Rochester was recently named one of 25 quarterfinalists across the country in the running to win the America’s Main Streets contest.

Organized by a national network of independent small business owners called Independent We Stand, the contest asks people to reward a deserving main street with $25,000 in cash and sponsor-related prizes to revitalize its main street.

Independent We Stand co-founder Bill Brunelle said there has been an incredible outpouring of love for hundreds of main streets and main street organizations across the country during this years’ contest — which aims to help promote the importance and strong economic benefits of main streets and the small businesses that help them thrive.

“We are in our second year of the contest and are so happy to see the passion and pride these nominees have for their main streets and the local businesses that keep them alive,” Brunelle said in a statement.

During the nomination phase of the contest — which kicked off in February and ran through April — more than 156,000 votes were cast for 242 nominees, resulting in 25 quarterfinalists.

Downtown Rochester is now the only main street in Michigan still in the running, and Downtown Development Authority Director Kristi Trevarrow is hoping to rally the support of all Michiganders.

“Right now we are trying to get everybody to vote because we are the only main street in Michigan that is in the running. There were quite a few in the original 242, but we were the only one that made the top 25,” she said.

Downtown Rochester’s profile on the contest page says it’s “a perfect mix of historic and hip,” and that it’s a destination for residents and visitors from across metro Detroit.

The downtown was also highlighted for its distinction as a Great American Main Street Community, its independent boutiques and businesses, and its innovative calendar of events, including “The Big, Bright Light Show.”

Through May 28, people can vote for the city online at Main StreetContest.com. Voters can cast one vote per day.

“When I think about Rochester, I think we really do have everything you should have when you think of a downtown. We have historic architecture. We have the independent businesses. We are not just a place — we are a destination. People want to come here. We’re a place that people want to be, and they have ownership of us, and they make very special memories with us. I think that is what any main street should be,” she said.

The top 10 semifinalists will be announced May 29, and the winner will be announced June 5, followed by a Main Streets Make Us Better celebration on the Fourth of July, when the winner will announce how the prize money will be utilized.

“If we were the lucky recipient, I would be very excited to put that on our DDA agenda to talk about what we would like to put that money toward,” Trevarrow said.