Route 66 News

Online poll could help Tee Pee Curios win a grant

The new owners of Tee Pee Curios in Tucumcari, N.M., have entered the FedEx Small Business Grant contest that includes up to a $25,000 grant.

You can vote for the Tee Pee daily at this link or clicking on the widget at left, and you can share the contest on Facebook and Twitter as well.

The FedEx contest’s home page makes it clear the number of votes isn’t a make-or-break proposition, but it increases the business’ visibility in the contest — a factor “FedEx will consider when selecting the top 100 finalists and the winners. We will review every submission to identify the most compelling business stories.”

The Tee Pee’s contest entry contains this response to what the owners would do with the money:

We would use the grant money to make improvements to the building, keep the doors open and keep the neon on. This money would be such a blessing and we promise to continue with welcoming travelers and locals as well. We want to shower people with kindness so they walk away from the Tee Pee Curios knowing they are important to us and so that they want to come back and visit and tell others about us. We also want to continue to promote Route 66 & our community.

The first round ends Feb. 23. After that, the top 100 finishers are announced, and grant winners will be announced March 24.

The Engman family took over the Tee Pee from longtime owners Mike and Betty Callens in August — unfortunately, right when tourism season starts to ebb. Running a new business during slow season hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm, but even a small grant from the contest probably would do them a lot of good.

Surfing through the FedEx site, I found only one other Route 66-based business in the contest — one in Kansas that has received zero votes.

Randomly clicking on other businesses that seemed halfway intriguing, I was hard-pressed to find any that had logged more than two dozen votes. Tee Pee has drawn almost 200 votes. That — along with the Tee Pee’s unique history and the cachet of Route 66 — makes me inclined to think it’s got a good shot at the next round if the Route 66 community continues to rally behind it.

(Image of Tee Pee Curios by Ethan Kan via Flickr)


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