Bourbon raffle to help downtown Miamisburg businesses

Larry Niswonger, left and Brad Davis tuck point the brick of the old Suttman Men's and Boy's Wear building in downtown Miamisburg. The building is being renovated into a brewery, restaurant and residential apartments.
Larry Niswonger, left and Brad Davis tuck point the brick of the old Suttman Men's and Boy's Wear building in downtown Miamisburg. The building is being renovated into a brewery, restaurant and residential apartments.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Miamisburg Merchants Association is trying out a host of new ways of helping the city’s downtown business scene via loans, grants, golf outings and a bourbon raffle.

The non-profit organization continues to work with businesses and with the city to promote a thriving downtown and a safe, business-friendly environment, according to Angie Engelke of Masters & Associates Insurance, and MMA’s president.

MMA started in the mid-1990s, when the city had many vacant buildings in its downtown and was “pretty much a declining little town,” Engelke said. Since then, Miamsiburg has enjoyed a resurgence, welcoming a slew of new restaurants, breweries, bars, retail shops and other businesses, she said.

“We work in conjunction with those restaurants, bars, retail operations and the city to fill their needs and create a safe environment downtown,” Engelke said. “We don’t have a chamber of commerce here in town, so the MMA really serves as that business community. We do a lot of projects in conjunction with the city.”

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That include bright, colorful picnic tables MMA put together and installed downtown to allow residents and visitors to enjoy Riverfront Park last summer, she said.

The group’s largest fundraised, Monte Carlo Night, was held last year right before the pandemic, raising $12,000. With that not an option this year, MMA recently launched a bourbon-bottle raffle fundraiser, Engelke said.

The raffle includes 17 bottles of bourbon. Former MMA President Brian Yeakley, a bourbon aficionado, drove around Kentucky to procure the limited and hard-to-find bottles, she said.

“We’re super excited about that,” Engelke said. “It’s a great way to be able to raise a significant amount of money with very little expense.”

Tickets are $50 each and only 600 tickets will be sold via www.miamisburgmerchants.com. The bottles will be divided into 4 prize levels, four each for first, second and third prize and five bottles for fourth prize.

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Entrants must be 21 years old or older to purchase a ticket through March 15. Winning tickets will be drawn on or before March 19.

A golf outing in August raised more than $6,500 and another golf outing is being organized for June.

“We’re working very hard to keep the funds coming in and we’re trying to be a little bit more creative,” she said. “The Monte Carlo night is great, and its a historic event that has always raised money and brought the community together, but we have to look at doing things a little bit differently.”

Last March, MMA joined with Miamisburg Rotary Club, the city of Miamisburg and Miamisburg Community Foundation to create the Star City Business Support Fund, pulling together $40,000 and establishing a “very successful” no-interest loan program that has seen every loan taker either repay the loan or at least be in the process of repaying it, Engelke said.

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MMA was one of several groups to organize in late December the Louise Epperson Restaurant Rescue Fund, a COVID-relief grant is helping Miamisburg restaurants offset some of the burden during the economic challenges of the pandemic.

“We raise money not to hold onto it. We raise money to spend it and get it back out to the businesses,” Engelke said. “So now our focus, with all the funds that we raise, just making sure that we’ve got the ability to assist businesses as everything does start to open back up.”

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