April 24, 2017
Meet Marietta, Ohio
After receiving 14,000 nominations for towns to put in the spotlight during season two of “Small Business Revolution,” we hit the road to visit eight inspiring towns that made our short list of potential finalists. Throughout summer, we’re looking back and sharing the stories of what made each town special – including guest posts from local leaders and some profiles of businesses in these communities. This is the first post in our weeklong focus on Marietta, Ohio.
Marietta, Ohio, like many small American towns, has seen more than its share of ups and downs. But the resilient community, which has a rich history and is home to roughly 15,000 residents, always comes out on top.
How? And why? These are among the questions that we sought to answer when the Small Business Revolution team rolled into this beautiful Midwestern town (which, fun fact, was named after Marie Antoinette).
There are many factors that make Marietta magical, but it’s the picturesque community’s adventurous spirit that truly sets them apart. It’s nearly palpable from the moment you arrive. Outdoor recreation is a key part of Marietta’s lifeblood: kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking – it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. National Geographic has called Marietta one of the best “adventure towns” in America. As the owner of the local Marietta Adventure Company puts it: Marietta is the country’s “outdoor adventure capital.”
That adventurous spirit has also helped build a thriving community of courageous and passionate small business owners. The Marietta Main Street organization has been particularly integral in revitalizing downtown and making it the increasingly vibrant business community that you’ll find today. Small business owners have found creative ways to leverage Marietta’s greatest assets to attract tourists and new residents to experience all that their eclectic mix of downtown businesses has to offer.
An increasingly busy community event calendar is also fueling foot traffic. There are energetic First Friday events, when downtown shops stay open late and storefront windows follow each month’s theme. The Fire & Ice event featured custom-carved ice sculptures, fire breathers and other captivating entertainment that works wonders in encouraging people to patronize local businesses. Then there are events that tap directly into the area’s beautiful outdoors, such as the Rivers, Trails & Ales festival, or an annual bike tour that that explores elaborate holiday lights displays around town.
There’s so much to see and do in Marietta – hit the trails on your mountain bike, unwind with a beer at Marietta Brewing Company, explore downtown’s eclectic mix of shops, gaze at the Gothic Revival-style Marietta Castle. And that barely scratches the surface.
Throughout this week, we’ll be sharing more stories about Marietta’s amazing small businesses, checking in with key local leaders, and sharing more about the community on social media. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram and here at SmallBusinessRevolution.org.
Learn more about Marietta in this short film: