Local Gems Sweepstakes Winners Announced In Oakland Co

Metro Detroit Community NewsPontiac, Mich. – Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter announced Wednesday the winners of the county’s “Local Gems” Sweepstakes, a contest designed for residents to promote their favorite small businesses.

The “Local Gems” Sweepstakes contest, which ran through the month of November, required residents to take selfies in front of their favorite small businesses. More than 300 businesses were submitted. Sponsored by Genisys Credit Union, the resident winners, who were chosen randomly, are:

  • Farmington resident Katy Baracco won $1,000 for her selfie outside Farmington Brewing Co. in Farmington, which hosted the sweepstakes winners’ reception. Baracco is a 54-year-old substitute teacher in Farmington Public Schools and a volunteer at CARES of Farmington Hills which supports families in need.
  • Rasheda Williams, of Royal Oak, earned the $500 prize for her photo submission at Mia’s Bakery and Coffee Shop in Madison Heights. The 44-year-old is the founder and chief empowering officer at Empowered Flower Girl.
  • Danielle Zacharski, a 34-year-old registered nurse from White Lake was selected for the $250 prize for her picture at Monarch Home Design in Holly.

“The ‘Local Gems’ entries tell the story of how vital small businesses are to our communities,” Coulter said. “They contribute to the unique and vibrant nature of our downtowns and are a true engine of our economy in Oakland County.”

What the winners are saying about why they shop small during the holidays:

“We (my husband and I) shop local year-round because we love to support the community we live and work in,” said Baracco, who has been a patron at Farmington Brewing Co. since it opened because she enjoys its atmosphere and community events. “Small businesses keep our community special.”

“As a social entrepreneur myself, I know how much it means to the local economy to have a thriving business sector,” said Williams, who loves the ambiance, artwork, and diverse menu items at Mia’s Bakery and Coffee Shop. “Small businesses are the heart of the community plus you can always find unique gifts for yourself and others.”

“You can’t find certain things online as you could in the store, especially when it comes to antiques like at Monarch in Holly,” said Zacharski, adding that Monarch has unique vendors and a variety of vintage items. “Supporting local small businesses is what gives small towns their charm.”

The sweepstakes, which ran Nov. 1-25, were part of the Oakland County Department of Economic Development’s annual Small Business Saturday Campaign to help build visibility, foot traffic, and sales for small businesses in Oakland County during the holiday shopping season.

"Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 ‘Local Gems’ Sweepstake,” said Jackie Buchanan, president and CEO of Genisys Credit Union. “Your dedication to support small businesses ensures a thriving future for our local economies and communities.”

There were 579 submissions in the Local Gems sweepstakes which cited 317 small businesses as “local gems.” The top five businesses receiving the most submissions were:

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