It was like a small balloon growing bigger and bigger each month.

The #mymarinettemenominee movement started as that small balloon and grew in size as it filled with the support and local pride of everyone in the Twin Cities.

How could we not be proud? Our Twin Cities were chosen by a group of strangers from among 12,000 other communities in the country as a place to visit, a place to recognize, a place to help grow.

Deluxe Corp., a Minneapolis-based marketing company that specializes in helping small businesses, pulled our small communities out of the crowd and told us we were special. We may have felt that way already, but it was really nice to hear from someone on the outside looking in.

We took that compliment and ran with it. The small group of people, which started with business owners Keith Killen and Kim Brooks, also grew in size, as others in the community threw tremendous effort into marketing our two communities as one in the national competition.

Not everyone embraced the idea immediately. What is the Small Business Revolution? Who is Deluxe? Amanda who?

Interest piqued when people heard about $500,000 in services, renovations and more Deluxe would bring to at least six small businesses in the winning city. Add that Marinette and Menominee, if they won, would be featured in the reality television series “Small Business Revolution — Main Street” on Hulu, and even more were interested.

It doesn’t hurt to throw Ty Pennington’s name in. He is the co-host of the series, working with Amanda Brinkman, the creator and producer of the series and chief brand and marketing director at Deluxe.

We had better odds than winning the lottery when we were selected for the Top 10, giving us a 50/50 chance at being chosen for the national voting.

And then the balloon popped.

Menominee and Marinette were not chosen among the six communities involved in the national voting, and we felt sad and cheated out of the opportunity to launch the campaign to garner the most votes.

The committee had become a community of small business leaders, big business supporters, city officials, school kids, moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas. The group of dedicated individuals in the core committee did a really great job of reaching out and spreading the message.

We were ready — and then it was over.

So, where does all that energy, planning and excitement go after all the air escaped from the balloon?

It has to go back into the balloon. Maybe not a really big balloon, this time; more like a series of balloons that all come together to create enough momentum to lift us back up to that lofty height we have a right to enjoy.

This is a wonderful area, with a diverse manufacturing base and plenty of jobs. We have great libraries, parks, schools, community centers, artistic venues and churches. There are businesses, large and small, that provide more than just employment — they give us places to eat, sleep, buy necessities and special gifts. Residents brag about their mechanics, electricians, heating guys and plumbers.

People know you by name.

If winter ever ends, park your car in either Menominee or Marinette and take the time to walk into every store for several blocks. Do this again on another day, and another, and another, until you can say you’ve visited every small business in the Twin Cities. Chances are, you’ve only scratched the surface, so keep your eyes and ears open to learning about the other treasures right at your doorstep.

You see, even without Deluxe, we can start a revolution.