Camas in top 10 for web series contest

City could win $500,000 downtown makeover

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Members of the Downtown Camas Association (DCA), including Camas Parks and Recreation Chair Randy Curtis (second from left), Maria Maria Gonser, owner of Attic Gallery (left), DCA Executive Director Carrie Schulstad (second from right) and Arktana owner Ann Matthews (right) react with shock and joy Tuesday morning after Camas was named one of 10 cities in the running for the web series "Small Business Revolution." (Kelly Moyer/Post-Record)

Camas has made the top 10 in the “Small Business Revolution — Main Street” competition.

Members of the Downtown Camas Association (DCA) celebrated the announcement Tuesday morning, inside their office.

“It’s like Christmas morning,” said Windermere real estate broker Greg Goforth, as DCA members jumped up and down, laughing and shouting their excitement.

“This is a big win,” DCA Executive Director Carrie Schulstad said. “This means they’re coming to visit us.”

Season four of the eight-part web series “Small Business Revolution — Main Street” will air in fall of 2019 on Hulu. If Camas is selected as the featured city, the show will give six businesses in downtown Camas “makeovers” worth a total of $500,000.

Some of the funds also go toward general downtown improvements, like park benches or street lighting. The series’ goal is to bring attention to the small town businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them. The first three seasons featured downtown revitalizations in Wabash, Indiana; Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania; and Alton, Illinois.

“What we’ve seen happen, not only in the towns that have won, but just the towns that have been finalists for this, is that you start to see a pride come out in why you love being there and why you love your community,” Cameron Potts, vice president of public relations at Deluxe Corporation, which produces the show, told The Post-Record in November, when Camas was named one of 20 cities in the running for season four. “It’s hard being a small business owner, so we just love telling that story.”

Maria Gonser, owner of Attic Gallery, nominated the city’s downtown for consideration because she enjoys the show and thought Camas would be a good fit.

“We really thought the history of Camas came through,” Potts said. “We liked the fact that the downtown business district is, as we look at it, a real walkable 16 square blocks. (Camas has) a good mix of businesses there.”

The competition started with 12,000 communities nominated for the show.

In November, the field narrowed to 20. And this week the competition got serious — with the top 10 communities announced live, online at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 11.

The show executives named Camas third, and the folks inside the downtown Camas DCA office went wild, hugging and high-fiving each other and whooping with joy.

“We’re over the moon,” Schulstad told DCA members in an email later that day.

“Thank you to all that posted and posted with such enthusiasm and regularity,” she added, referring to the community members who regularly boasted about why they loved downtown Camas, using the hashtag “mycamas” on social media to help secure the town’s top 10 spot. “We couldn’t have done it without you.”

Show executives will visit each of the top 10 communities in January 2019, and create a short video for the top five finalists. Schulstad said the crews are expected to film in Camas on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3.

There will be a meet-and-greet with show executives and film crew members from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Jan. 2, at Grains of Wrath in downtown Camas.

“We ask that all of you be there — not just civic leaders, not just businesses, not just local media, but also volunteers, loyal customers and other partners that love downtown, too,” Schulstad stated in her email, adding that show executives “want to get a true feel” for the downtown Camas community.

The top five communities will compete for the national vote, and the winner will be announced in late February 2019. For more information, visit