Will North Adams make the cut? Small Business Revolution to visit city on Thursday, Friday

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NORTH ADAMS — The revolution is sweeping into North Adams.

Representatives for the Small Business Revolution will be touring the city on Thursday and Friday to determine if it will make the cut as one of between four and six finalists eligible for a $500,000 prize to inject new life into local businesses.

Out of some 3,300 communities nominated, North Adams was selected in November as one of eight semifinalists in the nationwide Small Business Revolution contest hosted by Deluxe Corp., a small business services company based in Minnesota.

"For any small business, you can use all the help you can get," said Suzy Helme, the city's director of community events. "This is an opportunity for professionals to come and offer their expertise to your business."

Amanda Brinkman, Deluxe Corp.'s chief brand and communications officer, will be accompanied by a small team as they meet with city representatives and small business owners on Thursday and Friday.

"Small Business Revolution is really looking for communities that are right at the cusp of something excellent, and I think North Adams fits that bill like a glove," said Benjamin Lamb, president of the City Council.

North Adams is the final of the eight semifinalist communities to be visited by the Small Business Revolution team, which means the city won't have to wait long to find out if it will take the next step: The finalists will be announced on Feb. 9.If the city is a finalist, it will seek support from all over the Northeast during a week of public voting.

"We're the only community representing not just the Berkshires but also Massachusetts and New England," Helme said.

Lamb and Helme urged city residents to drum up support for North Adams through social media by using the hashtag #mynorthadams and tagging the Small Business Revolution in posts online. And making a trip into town on Thursday or Friday couldn't hurt, either.

"The challenge we have is that they are visiting us during the dead cold of winter, so people tend to hibernate a bit and not be out and about," Lamb said. "If we want them to see the community we pride ourselves on, it would be great if folks could be out and about on Thursday and Friday."

The other seven semifinalists are Marietta, Ohio, Woodland Park, Colo., Georgetown, S.C., Frostburg, Md., Red Wing, Minn., Bristol Borough, Pa. and Kingsburg, Calif.

Last year, the first iteration of the contest, resulted in six small businesses receiving assistance in Wabash, Indiana.

The final contest winner will be announced on February 22.

A spokesman for Deluxe Corp. could not be reached for comment.


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