Episode 1Meet Wabash

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Wabash, Indiana, is a typical Midwestern small town full of friendly smiles, tucked in the rust belt of America. Once home to large automotive manufacturing plants that employed thousands and paid good wages, the town has been trying to reinvent itself since the industry went away. The spirit and drive of this community came through in their ability to rally votes to win the inaugural Small Business Revolution – Main Street contest in which Deluxe Corporation invested $500,000 into the small businesses of the downtown community.

Behind the smiles, the waves, the good nature, are issues that plague every small town: what do you do with abandoned buildings downtown; how do you support small businesses; and what can you do when large manufacturers close?

Amanda Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer at Deluxe, along with Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec, employed their marketing and business expertise to help six small businesses learn more about what it takes to compete in their local and regional markets. The entire Wabash journey is captured in this eight-part web series. The opening episode provides a glimpse into the community, the businesses and the town leaders. This sets the stage for the series, portraying 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 real movement – a Revolution.

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Get to know the people featured in this episode and learn more about how Deluxe helped them overcome some of their marketing challenges. The timestamps below make it easy to explore specific moments from the show more in depth.

1:15

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“That’s why we’re here in Wabash”

Wabash is a beautiful small town in northeastern Indiana. It was the world’s first electrically lit city, which marked the start of endless evolution over the years. Learn more about what makes Wabash such a special place – not least of which are the incredible people we met throughout this journey.

Learn more about Wabash, Indiana

1:59

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Meet Robert Herjavec and Amanda Brinkman

Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec and Deluxe’s Amanda Brinkman came to Wabash to learn more about the town, its business community and the challenges they’re facing. Get to know more about these two dynamic business minds.

Learn more about Robert and Amanda

2:14

Scott_Long_Wabash_Mayor
Meet the town leaders

Steve Downs is a partner in the Wabash law firm that bears his name and the executive director of Wabash Marketplace.

Christine Flohr is the executive director of tourism of Visit Wabash County. She’s also a powerful force for good in the community.

Scott Long is mayor of Wabash, Indiana, having been sworn into office in January 2016. A native Wabashian, Mayor Long has spent the majority of his career in service, having served on the Wabash City Police Department from 1994.

Learn more about these agents of change

2:44

Steve_Downs_Executive Director_Wabash Marketplace
"Coming back here was one of the best decisions I ever made"

Local attorney and native Wabashian Steve Downs chose to move back to Wabash to live and raise a family after going away to school. But by doing so, he wasn’t choosing to sacrifice a successful career. His prosperous law practice, now worthy of succession planning, is proof that small-town life can breed big-city success.

Learn more about Steve and his career journey in Wabash

4:10

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Meet the business owners

Mike Smyth, Matt Haynes, Kent Henderson … these are just a few of the warm and inspiring small business owners you’ll meet on Main Street, all of whom make Wabash the unique and welcoming town that it is.

Learn more about all of the featured business owners

4:46

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“It was the story all over the country”

Many of the challenges facing Wabash, its residents and its business are not unique. They’re similar to stories from all across the country, particularly in the wake of the recent “Great Recession.” Deluxe and the Small Business Revolution explored these struggles, and how small businesses helped the country fight against them, in our 2015 documentary film.

Watch the documentary

7:40

Christine_Flohr_Visit Wabash County
Small businesses need support not only to start up, but to sustain

As Christine Flohr, executive director of Visit Wabash County says, “We are really good at helping small businesses open, but we aren’t good at helping them continue.” Excitement and passion gets a lot of small business owners started, but that can fizzle out fast if they don’t know the key components to maintaining and growing.

Learn how to get yourself prepared to start a small business

Next Episode

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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