The Central Huron BIA and local council’s “Win This Space” contest has successfully filled five storefronts in downtown Clinton.

There was originally supposed to be only one business chosen, but the community raised nearly $60,000 that could support five.

“It shows how strong a community we live in,” said community improvement coordinator Angela Smith.

The call was originally put out in March to anyone who had a small business idea for downtown Clinton.

The area was in desperate need of revitalization due to fires, long-time business owners retiring, and a dwindling workforce.

“Those businesses had been trying to sell their business as a whole,” said Central Huron BIA chair Sandy Garnet. “It just wasn’t working.”

Now Crystal McMaster of Thamesford will be opening “Mama and Me”, an artisan gift boutique dedicated to her late mother.

“She’s the reason I’m so creative and that I love what I do so much and gave me the confidence to be self-employed,” she said. “This has been a lifelong dream and now it’s finally happening.”

McMaster was passing through Clinton when she noticed the signs and decided to enter the contest.

“It started off with just telling your idea of what your business concept was,” she said. “Then we were able to take a training course which was wonderful to make a business plan.”

The stores are aiming to open later this summer.