Bay City family wins 2012 MIplace Sweepstakes

Sep 18, 2012, 11:03 ET from Michigan State Housing Development Authority

More than 2,000 entries submitted to promotion sponsored by Pure Michigan, Art Van Furniture, Michigan Association of Realtors and Michigan State Housing Development Authority

LANSING, Mich., Sept. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Answering a simple question – Why do you choose to call Michigan home? – has won a Bay City woman and her family some fabulous prizes and put the Great Lakes state in the spotlight.


Today, Pure Michigan, Art Van Furniture, the Michigan Association of Realtors (MAR) and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) announced that Kimberly Baba of Bay City and her family have won the MIplace Sweepstakes, a promotion encouraging the citizens of Michigan to tell the world at why we choose Michigan as our place to live, work, play and share the dream of homeownership. A press conference to announce the winner was held this morning at the Bay County Government Building in downtown Bay City.

"Building Pure Michigan places begins with celebrating great places," said Joe Borgstrom, director of MSHDA's Michigan Main Street programs.

"The goal of the MIplace Sweepstakes is to inspire individuals, communities and organizations to develop awareness of even more great Michigan places by explaining to the world why we choose Michigan," Borgstrom said. "We congratulate Kimberly Baba and her family for proudly sharing their story about why they choose to call Bay City their home."

All MIplace Sweepstakes entrants automatically received a $50 Art Van gift card (good with any purchase of at least $499). Baba, who works at Dow Chemical in Midland, and her family won the grand prize – a $3,000 Art Van Shopping Spree. Michigan residents entered the MIplace Sweepstakes by submitting written or video testimonials at from Memorial Day, May 31, 2012, through Labor Day, Sept. 3, 2012.

"As one of our state's oldest and largest Michigan-based retailers, Art Van Furniture is honored to join with Michigan's Realtors and state housing development leaders in promoting the MIplace Sweepstakes," said Diane Charles, director of corporate communications for Art Van Furniture.

"We have been a champion of Michigan's great places for more than half a century, and we're honored to have encouraged all of our Art Van guests and Facebook fans like the Baba family of Bay City to share their vibrant communities and why they believe they're so special," Charles said.

Here is an excerpt of the Baba family's Facebook entry:

"Michigan has been home to us since birth and even the thought of moving doesn't enter our minds," Baba said. "Aside from living in a community that is in the heart of the tri-city location, we enjoy events, from outdoor concerts, endless antique stores in a beautiful downtown area, and short drives along our beautiful coastline to miles of beautiful, peaceful rural country living. We packed up from the city life & purchased a 1926 farm home nearly one year ago. Our labor of love finds us working effortlessly & restoring the beautiful home that had been left to deteriorate for years."

MSHDA, MAR, Art Van, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Michigan Municipal League (MML) and the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) are among the organizations helping neighborhoods, cities, regions and downtowns promote "place" as a way to spur economic development and restore Michigan to prosperity.

Placemaking is the phrase commonly used to describe the growing consensus that people, companies and talent do not move to specific communities – they move to regions. Thriving communities and successful regions are places that are attractive to employees, where connections can happen, where productivity and creativity increase, and where professional networks foster collaboration and innovation.

Michigan's placemaking education campaign includes efforts like the MIplace Sweepstakes and the 2012 debut of, Michigan's one-stop website for everything about placemaking – what it is, where it's happening across the state, and how to get started. The site offers inspirational firsthand accounts of Pure Michigan placemaking success stories, rich photography and videos, and the opportunity to engage in lively group discussions through the MIplace Facebook page at

By embracing innovative strategies and new partnerships such as the MIplace Sweepstakes, the Michigan Association of Realtors is earning national praise for selling homes, building better neighborhoods and stabilizing communities, said MAR Board President Beth Foley.

MAR, for example, leveraged its unique access to Michigan homebuyers by distributing MIplace Sweepstakes promotional materials to new homeowners as well as promoting the MIplace Sweepstakes through its online tools, including its website, newsletter, bimonthly magazine and web presences of local Realtors associations.

"As communities struggle to do more with less and people everywhere cry out for places of meaning and beauty, Michigan's Realtors understand we have to find fast, creative, profitable ways to capitalize on local ingenuity and turn public spaces into treasured community places," Foley said.

"Our support for the MIplace Sweepstakes demonstrates that Realtors do more than sell houses," Foley added. "We're helping to build a better Michigan future through placemaking."

SOURCE Michigan State Housing Development Authority