Independent We Stand contest winner to celebrate victory with free Fourth of July block party

America'sMainStreetLogo_FINALAfter an incredible display of support for Main Streets from coast to coast, Independent We Stand recently announced that Downtown Lynden in Lynden, Wash., was the $25,000 winner of the inaugural “America’s Main Streets” contest. To celebrate the victory, Downtown Lynden is hosting a free Fourth of July block party to thank the community for its support in the contest and throughout the year. As part of the Fourth of July festivities, it will also hold a “Main Streets Make Us Better” press conference to reveal more detailed plans for the $25,000 grand prize.

A big benefactor of the prize will be the town’s beautification program led by a woman named Susan Burri, who is affectionately referred to as “The Flower Lady.” Burri waters Lynden’s trademark hanging flower baskets (169), flower containers (90) and flowerbeds (14), as well as cares for them year round.

Stihl dealer Washington Tractor will be onsite at the block party to present a $1,000 certificate for Stihl equipment. Part of the prize money will go toward a Stihl lithium-ion blower. In addition, Do It Best Corp member-owner Westside Building Supply will present the Lynden Downtown Business Association (DBA) with garden tools and supplies as part of a $500 shopping spree awarded to “America’s Main Streets” winner.

As a top-10 finalist, Downtown Lynden, population 12,902, stood out among its fellow Main Streets with the most votes, after more than 280,000 total votes were cast by the public nationwide during the “America’s Main Streets” contest.

Downtown Lynden exemplifies the spirit and tenacity of small businesses to nurture community growth and empower one another in both good and tragic times.

In June 2008, a fire destroyed Downtown Lynden’s largest anchor building, a historic three-story building housing nearly a dozen independent businesses. Since then, a growing and active Lynden DBA began rebuilding with the help of local investors and volunteer support from the community. Lynden DBA’s mission: to help the downtown core make an economic comeback. Some of Lynden DBA’s needs and goals include: creating a brand for the community, implementing wayfinding signage, creating a historical walking tour and upgrading its downtown beautification program. The $25,000 cash prize will go a long way toward addressing those needs and goals as it doubles the Lynden DBA’s annual budget.

“Coming back from ruins after a devastating fire right as the great recession took hold in 2008 is just the type of community engagement and support Independent We Stand recognizes and promotes across the country,” said Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. “We can’t wait to see the improvements they’re able to make with this prize and how those improvements will benefit independent businesses in Lynden.”

Already well known as the world’s largest producer of raspberries, Lynden is also known for its Dutch heritage. The downtown area also features a prominent windmill housing a hotel and is brightened by more than 150 hanging flower baskets, plus flowerbeds on every street corner. It’s this charm Lyndenites would like to share with others.

“Winning this contest is huge,” said Ken Stap independent business owner and president of the Lynden DBA. “This award will play a major role in helping re-establish Lynden’s downtown as the heart and soul of our community, for residents and visitors alike.”

As part of its ongoing mission to promote small businesses, Independent We Stand created the “America’s Main Streets” contest to promote the important role Main Streets play in building economic success for their communities.

The 2016 semifinalists in alphabetical order were as follows:

Independent We Stand is a movement of independent business owners across the country dedicated to informing their communities about the importance of “Buying Local” and how these efforts bolster their local economy. This movement supports all local and national causes committed to boosting local economic development projects. The Independent We Stand movement is co-sponsored by Stihl Inc. and FCA US LLC. For more information, visit