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Ashland Birth Center wins business competition grand prize

The Ashland Birth Center was awarded $60,000 from the Barclays Small Business Big Wins contest.

Ashland Birth Center
The Ashland Birth Center at 619 Ninth Ave. W. in Ashland.
Contributed photo / Ashland Birth Center
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ASHLAND — The Ashland Birth Center has been at 619 Ninth Ave. W. for a decade, and it will remain there, thanks to an outpouring of support from the community and a grand prize award.

The Ashland Birth Center received over 9,000 votes in the online Barclays Small Business Big Wins competition, earning it the $60,000 grand prize award. In addition, a fundraiser to help the birth center make a down payment on its building raised just under $40,000 from 162 donors.

"Ultimately, it was our community and our already established support that launched this effort beyond what we ever imagined," owner Savita Jones said.

Savita Jones
Savita Jones, owner and midwife at Ashland Birth Center.
Contributed / Ashland Birth Center

The competition was perfectly timed, Jones said, because the birth center employees were recently informed the owner of the building they've been leasing since 2012 is selling the house. The center needed at least $55,000 for a down payment by June to buy the building, and was able to raise nearly double that amount. All of the money will be put toward the building's purchase.

"It's so very, very exciting for us," Jones said.

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Jones entered the Barclays competition somewhat by accident, thinking she was writing a letter of intent for a business grant. When the Ashland Birth Center was selected from more than 4,750 applicants to enter the top 10 of the competition, Jones and her team decided to give it their best shot.

She said the response to the competition has been shocking, with the birth center's announcement of their win reaching over 16,000 people on Facebook in about 24 hours.

"It's just outstanding to see how much this has already helped us grow and how much it's added to our outreach," Jones said. "My professional life has never been so busy."

Jones received the news that the center won the grand prize on May 3, in the midst of attending to three births in two days. She said overall, the news is really a celebration of bringing babies into the community.

“Throughout this pandemic, the small-business community has been forced to pivot and adapt during unprecedented times,” said Nancy Parnella, Director of US Business Cards at Barclays. “At Barclays, we know that small businesses are the economic engine of their local communities, and we are honored to share their stories of perseverance and provide them with financial support to help them continue to thrive.”

The Ashland Birth Center is a freestanding birthing center that offers prenatal, labor and delivery and postpartum care in northern Wisconsin with midwives and doulas.

Laura Butterbrodt covers health for the Duluth News Tribune. She has a bachelor of arts in journalism from South Dakota State University and has been working as a reporter in Minnesota and South Dakota since 2014.
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