Small Retail Business Origin Story Contest

Check out the winning stories!

Small Retail Business Origin Story Contest 2019

For the second year, we want to celebrate Small Business Saturday by sharing a small retailer’s origin story. Tell us your story or the story of a small retail business you love for a chance to win!

2019 Winners

  • First Place Winner- Marissa H. - $5,000 check to Contestant
  • Second Place Winner - Brice S. - $2,500 check to Contestant
  • Third Place Winner - Astrid H. - $1,000 check to Contestant
  • Honorable Mention - Paulette K. and Hannah L. - $250 gift card


Essay topic & criteria

Acuity is hosting an essay contest to celebrate the passion and hard work behind every small retail business. Your essay should tell us how a small retail business that you know of or are a part of was started using 1,000 words or less. 


To qualify for a prize, your story must be about a small retail business. We have defined small retail business as a company that is privately held with less than 200 employees that sells merchandise to the general public. Businesses who consider themselves restaurants, wholesalers, or suppliers may also be considered retail by this definition. Professional services do not fall under this definition.


How to enter

Contest entries are accepted from August 1 through September 30, 2019. 

  • Entries must be the original and unpublished work of the Contestant and will not be returned.
  • Entries must be submitted electronically by filling out the form online or emailing them to:
    • TIP: Copy and paste email address into your preferred email account if the link does not work. 
  • Entries that are not submitted electronically must be postmarked by September 30, 2019, and mailed to:

Acuity Insurance
Marketing Department
Retail Contest
2800 S. Taylor Drive
Sheboygan, WI 53081



All eligible entries will be evaluated and scored by the contest judges based on the following criteria:

  • Originality and uniqueness of the story.
  • Use of retail-relevant language.
  • Creativity in how ideas are expressed.

The entry with the highest total score will be deemed the First Place Winner, the entry with the second highest score will be deemed the Second Place Winner, the entry with the third highest score will be deemed the Third Place Winner, the entry with the fourth and fifth highest score will receive honorable mentions. In the event of a tie, the entry with the highest score for originality followed by creativity will be deemed the winner from among all tying entries. Winners will be notified on or before October 15, 2019




  • One (1) First Place Winner - $5,000 check to Contestant
  • One (1) Second Place Winner - $2,500 check to Contestant
  • One (1) Third Place Winner - $1,000 check to Contestant
  • Two (2) Honorable Mentions - $250 gift card

Contest details


  • See official rules for complete contest details. 
  • Contest is open to all persons ages 18 and older who are legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and D.C.
  • One entry per contestant. 
  • Entry must include the Contestant’s name and their relationship with business owner and to business.
  • Acuity, A Mutual Insurance Company, employees and their children are not eligible to enter.
  • Winning is contingent on obtaining the business owner’s consent to share their origin story. 
  • Previous origin story contest winners are not eligible to win in 2019


Prize Acceptance

Acuity, A Mutual Insurance Company, will use reasonable best efforts to notify the winners. In the event a winner cannot be located within five days of the judging period, the winner shall forfeit the prize and we may elect another winner. Each company or charity that receives a check as a result of winning must submit a completed W-9 prior to winner claiming a prize; instructions can be found here. Winners may also be asked to create a video for social media promotions.



View the 2018 Origin Story Contest Winners

We received some great small retailer origin stories last year. Read the stories of the winners below:


First Place Winner - Jason Thigpen, Owner of Texas Heritage Woodworks

Second Place Winner - Caitlin Brotz-McNitt, Owner of Olivu 426

Third Place Winner - Kristina Uriegas-Reyes, Owner of Hello Tallulah

Small Business Origin Stories Winners - 2019


Have questions? We have answers.

That is okay! We just want the business owner to review your submission, so that they can confirm it is an accurate representation of their business.

The Contestant must be an individual person. You are welcome to work together, but one person needs to be the Contestant responsible for the submission and receiving the prize.

Yes! We would love to hear your story from your perspective!

Each entry will be evaluated individually based on the judging criteria and one winner for each prize will be determined.  

Unfortunately, no. We will only accept one entry per Contestant.  

New to the rules this year, we added a 1,000 word limit. If an essay is submitted that is more than 1,000 words, it will not be considered. You will be asked to revise and resubmit your essay with 1,000 words or less.