HUDSON – Competing with more than 200 nominees, Hudson earned the most of over a million votes that were cast nationwide to ultimately win the sixth annual “America’s Main Streets” contest Dec. 20.
Prizes include $25,000 cash, $1,000 worth of STIHL equipment, three $500 shopping sprees from supporting sponsors and a commemorative plaque.
The contest is organized by Independent We Stand, a national group of independently-owned businesses that collectively advocates to “buy local.”
Promoting the local voting effort was the Hudson Downtown Business Improvement District (BID), for which Richard Braga Jr. serves as administrator.
“Honestly, I wasn’t sure if we had a chance to win because there were a lot of much larger communities that had been nominated before us,” Braga acknowledged. “Fortunately, many people really love downtown Hudson. Our voting base is energized and that’s what got us to the finish line.”
Investing in downtown
Planned investments for the cash prize include continued accounting and financial advice for local businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hudson has weathered the storm of COVID probably better than other communities,” Braga said. “We lost a few businesses, but we’ve attracted just as many back. The word is out there that we have a good Main Street and a support system for our businesses.”
The BID has also offered support to Hudson Cultural Alliance’s Armory Project. The nonprofit alliance is spearheading the purchase and repurposing of downtown’s vacant armory into a community arts center.
In addition to donating $10,000 to the Armory Project, the BID recently organized a 50/50 raffle to benefit the cause.
Increasing downtown’s cultural arts
Since its inception, the BID has steadily increased the presence of cultural arts throughout the district.
The BID launched ArtsFest Hudson in 2018 and 2019, followed by a two-year hiatus due to pandemic restrictions.
This past June through Labor Day weekend, the BID introduced Saturday Sidewalk Jams with free live musical performances outdoors.
“We’ve had positive feedback,” Braga said of Saturday Sidewalk Jams. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see it again next year.”
Likewise, discussions are underway for ArtsFest Hudson to return in the spring of 2022.
Businesses bond with community
An anchor for ArtsFest’s performances and other activities has been Main Street Bank’s parking lot. It’s also the popular site for a petting zoo during the Downtown Hudson Holiday Stroll, a collaborative effort of the BID and the Hudson Business Association.
As a relationship manager at Main Street Bank, Tracy Carter has observed firsthand the strong bond between her workplace and the community.
“What I love about being with Main Street Bank is that we make memorable experiences for the town residents,” she noted. “I really enjoy seeing how complete strangers smile and get along with each other for a common purpose.”
Carter also appreciates the BID for its frequent interaction with the district’s businesses.
“The BID’s leadership team is in constant communication with us about everything they do,” she said. “I always feel in the loop with downtown Hudson.”