It's like a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Linda Bowser, owner of Sweet Linda's Restaurant in Grand Ledge. "Everybody is really really excited about it."
Local business owners in both Grand Ledge and Old Town feel a buzz in the air. With an opportunity to receive a $50,000 makeover that could potentially change businesses on their main streets, the two Mid-Michigan communities send in their entries-- pouncing at the chance.
The Swedish furniture company Ikea-- known for its hip styles and collections is hosting the "Small Business, Big Dreams" contest, and has announced the ten finalists from around the country.
Among them-- the world's only Grand Ledge and Old Town Lansing. For the Old Town Commercial Association, this is just one rung to getting where the community wants to be.
"We've worked really hard to get where we are today, and we still have a ways to go," said Executive Director Jamie Schriner-Hooper. "You see new businesses popping up, and coming soon signs. It's just so exciting."
Frank Cugini, who spearheaded the effort in Grand Ledge, says this is exactly what every business needs.
"In this economy we need as much encouragement as possible," said Cugini. "I knew if I got going up and down the street just to talk to some of the businesses, we'd have our full allotment of entries."
Even with the two communities going head-to-head, they say its not all about a competition, or winning. Instead, it's about communities coming and working together.
"It doesn't matter who you are," said Hooper. "It doesn't matter what color your skin is, what your gender is, your sexual orientation is. We don't care. Everyone down here is welcome, and we're just a big family."
"We're hoping it will help spark some excitement within the business community as well," said Cugini.
Voters have until August 22nd to decide if one of the Mid-Michigan communities wins a makeover.