MARINETTE — The team from Deluxe Corp. has moved on from Marinette and Menominee to visit the remaining seven of 10 communities chosen in the Top 10 for its Small Business Revolution makeover contest, and everyone is waiting anxiously for the Feb. 12 announcement of the Top 5.

But the small business owners behind nominating Menominee and Marinette as one community for the online series “Small Business Revolution — Main Street,” which provides $500,000 in marketing promotions and physical improvements to six businesses in the winning community, said Thursday there is still a lot of work to be done.

People have to start working now to set up their personal and business voting networks to ready everyone to cast as many votes as legally possible in the one-week time period that comes after the five communities are chosen for the series which is aired on Hulu.

Of course the organizers are planning that Menominee and Marinette will be in the Top 5.

A meeting was held Thursday evening at the UWGB-Marinette Campus for small business owners to tell them what they can do to encourage others to join them in voting, and the floor was open for ideas and questions to further the case.

Kim Brooks, owner of Main Street Antique Mall, and Keith Killen, owner of Ace Hardware and Mighty Pet in the M&M Plaza, first thanked everyone who had a role in bringing Marinette and Menominee from the more than 12,000 entrants into the Top 20, as well as the communitywide push on social media to get from the Top 20 to the Top 10.

“We need to celebrate what happened,” Killan said of the community support that went behind meeting with the Deluxe team last week and hosting a reception at Enstrom Helicopter Corp.

“This is something we couldn’t have done without a 100 people helping,” said Brooks. “We do need to take a moment to celebrate — we hit this one out of the park.”

While everyone is encouraged to continue using the hashtag #mymarinettemenominee and others when posting positive messages on social media, the visit by the Deluxe team capped off the area’s “interview.” The Deluxe team will return to Minnesota after visiting all 10 communities and make the decision on the Top 5.

“We really had our final interview,” Brooks said. “It started Wednesday at noon and ended last Friday at noon,” she said of the Deluxe team’s visit, “and we did a beautiful job. So I think we’ve done everything we can in service of that … That being said, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t participated yet. It doesn’t matter if your email isn’t on our list, or you didn’t talk to the Deluxe folks. In the end, when we win, when we get to five, it starts all over.”

If Marinette and Menominee wins, “the six businesses that will be chosen have nothing to do with what has happened so far.”

Those attending the meeting were encouraged to rally their friends, customers, business and social connections now to set up how the voting will happen if the community is chosen Feb. 12. While Killen and Brooks said they are not sure when the voting will start or exactly where votes will be cast, history has shown that voting will open up the morning after the announcement is made and votes would be cast on the website, which will likely have a designated vote button on its home page.

Voters can use every device they have access to in voting, and can vote on each cell phone, iPad, computer or tablet one each day using every email address they have in their name. If a person has three email addresses and three devices, that translates into nine votes each day for a week.

“People want to know where to sign on,” said Killen. He advised everyone to tell others to visit and look for Small Business Revolution and bookmark the site. He said people should tell others to “watch the shows” to learn more about the things Deluxe does for a community. The link to the vote, once it is available, will be sent out on Facebook and the website, so others can provide it as well.

The group talked strategies for business and community leaders to “rock the vote” and Killen said more information will be shared in coming weeks to help business owners encourage their customers to vote for #mymarinettemenominee.

Editor's note: In the print edition, Brooks said later that another meeting will be held Thursday at the UWGB-Marinette Campus, open to the general public, to answer their questions about Small Business Revolution and what they can do to support the community. She contacted the EagleHerald later that evening to say the meeting date will have to be rescheduled. The EagleHerald will notify people when that date is set.