Local businesses competing for national grand prize
A national grant contest has a few Summit County small businesses chomping at the bit for a chance to win – to the tune of $250,000. Mission Small Business is a national contest sponsored by Chase and LivingSocial, meant to help small businesses across the United States. When all is said and done, up to 12 $250,000 grants will be awarded. In order to be considered, businesses must garner at least 250 votes through the contest website by 11:59 p.m. tonight; a feat which as of Friday afternoon, at least two Summit County businesses have done. As of this writing, Breckenridge Distillery has 368 votes, The Old Saddle in Frisco has 295 and Sugar Lips Mini Donuts of Copper has almost hit the mark with 244. “I really think we have a good chance,” said Margo Anthone, co-owner of The Old Saddle. She knows winning one of the grants is a big endeavor, but she thinks the business fits the criteria. The store sells Anthone’s husband’s Enrique Gonzalez’s furniture creations, which are crafted from reclaimed wood, and made to look rustic and unique. Many of his pieces are colorful, painted in greens, blues, yellows and red – a mix of a Mexican/Santa Fe style, along with his own personal flair (Gonzalez has been making furniture since he was 9). One of the criteria is that the business must be unique – Anthone said there’s nothing like it in the United States – and that it must help the community. Because they use reclaimed wood, it’s good for the environment, she said. “We’ve had a really good response, we just need money to advertise and expand,” Anthone said. “It’s just our passion … everybody should be successful with their passion.” Bryan Nolt, owner of Breckenridge Distillery, said while being awarded one of the grants is a long-shot, “it’s good timing for us because we’re trying to expand right now, and we’re looking for ways to finance it.” The distillery – famous for its bourbon, vodka and rum, has grown about three years ahead of schedule, Nolt said, and he needs more space to “catch up.” “This will allow us to run on all cylinders, and be able to store everything we need,” he said. Nolt is thankful for the contest, and credits Chase for holding it – big banks are usually an easy target, he said, but Chase is working to help small businesses. Jasmine Bible of Sugar Lips – “a cute little sweet shop in Copper Mountain – we love sweet treats, cute kids and puppies,” she said – hopes to get a grant to help her expand. She wants to upgrade her equipment and open other locations in Summit County. Eventually, she hopes to expand to other ski towns as well. “It would just mean a world of difference,” she said. “It’s neat just to be in the running, and neat to get the support.”
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