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Uptown Marion Open 4 Business Competition Winner Announced

SugarMe has been named the 2018 winner of Uptown Marion’s Open 4 Business Competition. They will receive $1,000 from Uptown Marion and advance to the Sub-State Open 4 Business Competition hosted by Main Street Iowa and Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Anna Blanchette opened SugarMe November 2016 in Uptown Marion, in a small location off 13th Street behind Brick House Antiques. SugarMe is a spa specializing in body sugaring, an all-natural form of hair removal, along with offering other aesthetic services including facials and aromatherapy treatments. Since opening in 2016, Anna’s client base and business has been booming thanks to word of mouth referrals and happy clients. So much so that, she has no option but to expand. SugarMe will be moving into a new location in Uptown off of 8th Ave, into the old Uptown Dental building. With quadruple the square footage she’ll be hiring on 4 employees, including one trained in Oncology Aesthetics dedicated to providing specialized services and products to men and women going through chemo and radiation treatments. SugarMe plans to use the local competition winnings towards equipment at the new facility including computers, signage, and hydraulic massage tables.      

Six companies, ranging from new to established to businesses wanting to expand, presented their ideas to 4 judges Friday May 4th. “This competition consistently sees great business expansion plans,” said Jill Ackerman, president of the Marion Chamber and 2018 judge, “It really makes it hard on us judges to pick just one! We want to see all of these ideas happen and each of our small local businesses to grow and expand.” This year judges were so impressed by a number of the business pitches that an additional two awards were given out. Uptown Marion Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce both gave an additional $500 to two runners up. Martin Gardner Architecture received a $500 grant towards a business outreach project and architectural design display equipment. The Grill Works also received a $500 grant towards sound equipment for their ever growing grilling lessons and competitions.

Sub-State Pitches will take place the week of June 27th. 5 winners at the Sub-State Open 4 Business Competition will receive $8,000 and move on to compete at the Statewide Competition on August 28th in Waterloo for a chance at an additional $20,000. Last year, Uptown Marion’s local winner was Ramsey’s Wine Bistro, who used there local winnings to get started on creating an aquaponics garden in the basement of the restaurant for fresh herbs and vegetables.

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