Invest 606 finalists anxiously await outcome for competition

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Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 5:45 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Invest 606 finalists are at the home stretch as the winners will be announced Saturday.

13 local businesses in Kentucky have a chance to win up to $15,000.

During the process those finalists are given tips and tricks to help better run their operation.

One of the finalists, Owner of the Read Spotted Newt in Hazard, Mandi Sheffel, said the competition this year has been great.

“Anyone of us who wins is going to take their business to the next level,” she said. “I think it’s inspiring and hopeful for Appalachia. I think it gives us something to be excited about for the future.”

Some finalists said the experience has brought them out of their comfort zone.

“That’s been a little struggle but a good struggle,” Appalachian Quilt & Craft Owner Carolyn Davis said. “It’s made me think about things I need to do and have meant to do anyway.”

With some in Floyd County, like Faith, Trust, & A Little Dust Bakery Owners Samantha and Trevor Stovall, happy for the opportunity to be a finalist.

“If we don’t win the first, second, third or any of the money prizes,” they said. “What they have given us, is still worth it. It’s worth this whole process.”

If the prize money is won, Read Spotted Newt in Perry County hopes to expand and add an event center.

“I can have writing workshops, maybe a children’s story hour on Saturday mornings. I can get higher profile writers to come in because I’ll have the room,” Sheffel said. “To house them for book signings, it’s tough to have book signings in this space.”

Stovall said in their case, they need new equipment.

“We need industrial fridges, industrial freezers,” she said. “More ovens, more employees, more prep space.”

Davis said she is thankful such a service is available in the region.

“It’s hard to have a small business, it really is,” she said. “There’s a lot to do, there’s a lot to juggle and having this kind of support, I just think it’s so valuable.”

If Appalachian Quilt & Craft in Perry County wins any of the prize money, they hope to start a quilt show.

“I have a shop hop with six other shops that’s occurring in July,” Davis said. “if we had a quilt show in the area it would help all of us. It would amplify the impact so that everybody could benefit.”

The winners will be announced in Williamsburg.

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