May 17, 2017
A fresh start for Woodland Park
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 post, written by David Perkins, is the second in our weeklong focus on Woodland Park, CO.
Woodland Park business leaders were overly excited to participate in the Small Business Revolution program. What an honor and a boon for our community! Given the opportunity to win a $500,000 investment benefiting our businesses and town was an unthinkable prospect and quite the challenge.
Townspeople were riding high after receiving a small national grant a few months earlier, allowing us to finish several much-needed projects – and our energy and enthusiasm levels stayed high once we received the news from Deluxe.
Faced with describing Woodland Park in 500 words, writers were quickly mobilized and we pooled resources to put our best foot forward. It forced us to focus on our town, our salient features and benefits, but it was difficult to pin down what exactly to focus on.
Our excitement and enthusiasm increased as several initial nominations were greeted with follow-up emails asking for more information. With only 21 nominations, it was thrilling to move on to the next step in the process. We felt we had a chance against all odds!
We were over the moon once Woodland Park was announced as a short-list town! Business leaders were energized. City staffers and media members were ecstatic. Townspeople were abuzz. The thought of the extensive marketing offered through the Small Business Revolution for a small town launched our community toward a common goal: to gain recognition for Woodland Park, a western mountain town at the foot of America’s Mountain, Pikes Peak.
Thoughts of positivity raced through the minds of leaders and business owners: What could this do? We can finally solve some nagging problems! This is exactly what our business owners need! A fresh start. A punch of the “Reset” button. New ideas!
A newfound vibrancy permeated throughout the town, at coffee shops, in small talk, and city-related meetings. The town was alive with energy and, more importantly, a boost of hope!
The conversation about small business did not end, despite Woodland Park not being selected as one of the program’s finalists. Action begets action, and other groups took notice of Woodland Park. The SBR program gave us a boost locally and statewide, a recognition that Woodland Park actually existed on several levels. A newfound hope energized people into thinking “We can” and “I can”.
The benefit has been tremendous. Business owners took action and changed processes. People who never knew the difference between a tweet and a chirp now use social media. Government agencies are stepping up and helping, and local entrepreneurs are planning a small business symposium. Regional television stations featured stories on the Small Business Revolution opportunity and what it is doing for not just Woodland Park but small town America. Newspaper articles appeared for several months on the exceptional opportunity!
Woodland Park became part of the Small Business Revolution family and we were thrilled for Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania, the small town selected for Season 2. From one SBR small town to another: We share our congratulations!
The single greatest benefit has been a renewed focus on our small businesses and the awareness to either “support them or lose them.” And that alone was worth the initial effort.
Our future? Our future is energetically bright and, more importantly, hopeful!