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Consider it the Oscars of economic development for Pierce County! While there wasn’t a red carpet, the nominations and awards were just as exciting!

Our community was well-represented among the attendees AND the award winners. Our local Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce was the recipient of the 2018 Pierce County Cornerstone Award. The award recognizes extraordinary contributions to furthering economic development in Pierce County.

The Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival and the Design Ellsworth initiatives caught the eye of the nominating committee. The Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival made a $2.55 million economic impact to our region in 2018, and the 2019 event looks to be just as impactful! The event will remain in Ellsworth’s East End Park, with the overall footprint expanding into the East Ellsworth Business District. Why would we continue to hold the event in the downtown when we have such a beautiful county fairgrounds?

There are 3 main reasons and they also support Design Ellsworth’s goals. As the festival continues to grow, the Ellsworth Chamber and the Festival Committee remain steadfast in their goals for this event:

  1. Provide a proof of concept and exposure for our East Ellsworth Business District. If we provide unique and engaging experiences, businesses and customers will come.
  2. Provide economic impact for our downtown. More visitors equal more dollars spent in our town, leading to more successful businesses and economic growth and expansion.
  3. Be a catalyst for the revitalization of our business community. Thriving businesses increase our community’s tax base, allowing for quality of life improvements without increasing taxes for residents.

Considering that 57% of festival attendees come from the Twin Cities, bypassing our downtown would not support our downtown businesses or provide for economic development there. The Cheese Curd Festival is not only a fun festival, but it’s also an important economic development strategy!

Also, receiving an award at the Pierce County EDC Awards Banquet was YB Urban?. They were named Pierce County’s Small Entrepreneurial Star. How thrilling to see an Ellsworth business proving small businesses can not only survive, but actually thrive in our community!

And congratulations to the Ellsworth High School Fab Lab for receiving the Career Pathways Award. The innovation and training our students, and the community, are receiving through exposure to the Fab Lab’s equipment and technology is sure to lead to new inventions and innovative business concepts–our hope is that when that happens, Ellsworth is the community these students choose for their start-ups!