Main StreetRevolution

Small businesses are saving our main streets. This is their story.

The Small Business Revolution on Main Street is seeking out America’s most inspiring small towns, and each season, we’re awarding a winner with a $500,000 revitalization and featuring the transformation in an eight-episode series.

We asked Americans to nominate which small town should receive a $500,000 revitalization and be featured in season two of the Small Business Revolution on Main Street. From 14,000 nominations, we determined a short list of eight. Watch the video below to learn more about each town that’s in the running! Now, we’ll visit these towns and determine our official finalists, putting them up for a vote in February. In the meantime, watch season one to see what’s at stake for these lucky towns that made the short list for season two.

Season Two Short List

  • Georgetown, South Carolina
  • Marietta, Ohio
  • Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania
  • Woodland Park, Colorado
  • Frostburg, Maryland
  • Red Wing, Minnesota
  • North Adams, Massachusetts
  • Kingsburg, California
 

Season One Wabash

Episode 1: Meet Wabash

Meet Wabash, Indiana, winner of the Small Business Revolution’s Main Street $500,000 makeover.

In episode one, we get a glimpse into the community, its businesses and its leaders, who portray what the community is about and where it is going. And, we learn how Deluxe plans to help them revitalize their town and its small businesses, so that together, we can create a Revolution.


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Episode 2: Harry’s Old Kettle Pub & Grill

Meet Harry and Judy Kilmer, owners of Harry’s Old Kettle Pub & Grill, a long-standing Wabash institution.

In the second episode, we learn about the challenges Harry has faced in turning this bar into the restaurant of his dreams, and how we tackled them with some physical improvements, marketing solutions and a few special surprises along the way.


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Episode 3: Ellen’s Bridal & Dress Boutique

Meet Lisa Ellen Downs, owner of Ellen’s Bridal & Dress Boutique, a small-town shop with a big-city experience.

In episode three, we learn about the challenges Downs faces getting the word out and sustaining sales seasonally. The Deluxe team shows her how the right branding and a little community collaboration make a big difference.


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Episode 4: Filament Tattoo

Meet Matt Haynes, a former pastor who opened, Filament Tattoo Co., a clean and reputable tattoo shop in Wabash.

In episode four, we learn about the seasonal challenges of the tattoo industry along with the need to draw a more regional market. The Deluxe team shows Filament how to better market their story. Along with a few physical improvements, we help Filament change perceptions about tattoo shops.


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Episode 5: Schlemmer Brothers

Meet Kent Henderson, owner of Schlemmer Brothers, a metalworks and retail hearth business. He and his employee Kris White keep this Wabash institution afloat.

In episode five, we see how the retail business struggles to hold its own without a clear strategy and little marketing expertise. The Deluxe team arms them with the marketing knowledge they need to endure for another hundred years.


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Episode 6: Thriftalicious

Meet Tracy and Aaron Griffith, grade school sweethearts and co-owners of Thriftalicious, a vintage resale shop in Wabash.

In episode six, we see the uphill battles the parents of four faced after leaving home and having children at a young age. The Deluxe team shows the Griffiths how the power of an articulate curation strategy, a sharp website and thoughtful retail design can increase your customer base and bring sales to the next level.


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Episode 7: Eclectic Shoppe

Meet Maria and Mike Smyth, co-owners of Eclectic Shoppe, a décor, art and gift store in Wabash that features distinct art by local artisans.

In episode seven, we see how this startup’s pricing strategy challenges threaten the life of the business. The Deluxe team helps them create a branding strategy that can support healthier pricing, allowing them to carry out their passion and keep their doors open for years to come.


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Episode 8: Wabash Finale

In the Wabash finale, we see the momentum of the Revolution and the trickle effect on the entire community.

In episode eight, we get a final tour of the town, showing off the physical enhancements Wabash and Deluxe worked on together. Deluxe is so inspired by the progress and energy that they have a few surprises to give before they leave, and take pride knowing that a groundswell has begun and Wabash is just getting started.


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We spent the summer in the town of Wabash, Indiana, winner of the 2016 Small Business Revolution Main Street campaign. We not only invested $500,000 into the community, we got to work side-by-side with small business owners and community leaders to help Wabash fulfill its potential. This town and its challenges and opportunities are reminiscent of what you’ll see in small towns across the country. In this eight-episode original series, we tell the story of this small town and its tireless work to survive and thrive against the odds.

Learn more about Wabash

How it all Started

January 2016: Call for Nominations

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In January 2016, Deluxe introduced the Small Business Revolution on Main Street campaign with a call for nominations, asking people to nominate special small towns that could use some support. People from coast to coast saw the potential impact of a $500,000 boost, and Deluxe received nearly 10,000 nominations across all 50 states. This video kicked off the call for nominations.

May 3, 2016: Finalists Announced and Voting Begins

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Deluxe Corporation and celebrity entrepreneur Robert Herjavec narrowed the nominations to two incredible towns – Wabash, Indiana, and Silverton, Oregon. The finalists were announced during National Small Business Week in early May, and voting began. Residents and businesses in both towns worked tirelessly to campaign for votes – contacting elected officials and celebrities to help spread the word, hosting voting parties, and even bending “no cell phones” rules in area schools to allow students to cast votes!

May 12, 2016: We Have a Winner!

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During the week-long public vote, hundreds of thousands of people visited SmallBusinessRevolution.org to learn about these two towns and cast a vote for their favorite. In all, we tallied more than 180,000 votes. Despite the huge number of votes, the race was neck-and-neck the entire time – keeping everyone in suspense until the very end. Ultimately, Wabash squeaked past Silverton for the win.

Hundreds of Wabash residents gathered in a theater to hear the results announcement, and the crowd’s reaction – documented in this TV news story – tugged at our heartstrings.

September 27, 2016: “Main Street” Series Premieres

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The Deluxe team spent the summer in Wabash putting the $500,000 revitalization to work for the community. The transformation was captured in an original eight-episode series telling the story of the inspiring people we met and the challenges they faced – with insights and lessons we hope will help other small business owners facing similar challenges.

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The Small Business Revolution, championed by Deluxe Corporation, is a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the American economy. Through photo essays and films, we’re shining a light on the power of small business.

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