Pure Michigan-led campaign asks residents to brag about state, hometowns
By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer
It’s officially time to crow about your hometown and the state at large.
The MIplace Sweepstakes asks Michigan homeowners to answer this question — Why do you choose to call Michigan home? — in an effort to promote the state and all that it has to offer.
Pure Michigan, Art Van Furniture, the Michigan Association of Realtors and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority launched the MIplace Sweepstakes.
Joe Borgstrom, director of the MSHDA’s Michigan Main Street programs, said the goal of the sweepstakes is to inspire individuals, communities and organizations to develop awareness of great Michigan places by sharing stories of why they are proud to live where they live.
Those who take part will get 50 bucks off a purchase at Art Van Furniture stores for their effort.
The sweepstakes is part of a statewide placemaking education campaign that is generating buzz and being embraced by Gov. Rick Snyder, MSHDA, MAR, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan Municipal League and Small Business Association.
‘The concept is based on the idea that people choose to settle in places that offer the amenities, social and professional networks, resources and opportunities to support thriving lifestyles, and that Michigan can attract and retain talent — especially young, knowledge-based talent — by focusing on how best to utilize regional communities’ unique placemaking assets. Also, there’s the idea that people, companies and talent do not move to specific communities so much as they move to regions.
Borgstrom noted that at the recent 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference, Snyder said Michiganders need to do a better job of talking up our state.
“People are choosing where they want to live first, and the jobs are coming after,” Borgstrom said. “We’re losing a good chunk (of young, knowledge-based talent) to other Midwest cities.”
Arnold Weinfeld, director of internal and federal affairs for the Michigan Municipal League, explained that millennials — or Generation Next, those born roughly between 1981 and 1989 — and empty-nesters like the same kinds of things, such as a walkable downtown.
The millennials do not entertain in their homes like previous generations, but like to meet up in restaurants and other public places, he said.
“People are looking to live, work and play in the same vicinity. Public transit is also important to them. Buying a car is not the first thing they (millennials) look at,” he said. He added that the MIplace contest is one of a number of initiatives designed to grow Michigan’s economy from within based on a sense of place and regional assets.
Diane Charles, director of corporate communications for Art Van Furniture, said the company was honored to join with Michigan’s Realtors and state housing development leaders to promote the sweepstakes. She added that the company would encourage all Art Van customers to highlight their favorite communities and why they believe they are so special.
Michigan homeowners are asked to submit their stories of no more than 250 words or videos no longer than two minutes on the MIplace Facebook page, facebook.com/MIplace2012 through Sept. 3. Once a story or video is published online, the entrant will receive a link to it and be encouraged to share the link. Upon entry, all participants will receive a voucher good for $50 off a total purchase of at least $499 at Art Van Furniture. The grand prizewinner, who will be chosen at random from the entrants, will receive a $3,000 shopping spree from Art Van Furniture.
MAR will distribute the MIplace Sweepstakes materials to new homeowners and promote it on the organization’s website, newsletter, bimonthly magazine and other social media.
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