June 29, 2017
The ripple effect in Red Wing
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 Patty Brown, Red Wing Chamber of Commerce, is the second in our weeklong focus on Red Wing, Minnesota.
Being involved in the Small Business Revolution has made a lasting impression upon the community of Red Wing and every business here. The Small Business Revolution impacted Red Wing in many positive and unexpected ways. It ignited a spirit of community involvement and in our businesses, both large and small, that has not been experienced in Red Wing’s recent history. It was so exciting to see the community embrace our businesses and rally to the very end of the competition to demonstrate the importance of small businesses as the lifeblood of our community.
In the days and weeks leading up to the final announcement, the city of Red Wing, the state of Minnesota, and support from national and international friends and organizations, helped propel us into the spotlight. The Small Business Revolution highlighted several small businesses, which resulted in many local people discovering them as well. We know that retail traffic increased and that our small businesses learned the power of social media as a part of their marketing mix. Retailers gained hands on experience of promoting their business via social media and were able to connect it to their bottom line. They supported each other in new and creative ways along with their followers. Many retailers became more aware of their storefronts and the role that they played in inviting shoppers into their business and how their marketing materials and packaging impacted their brand. These marketing efforts enabled the businesses to take previous training and information that has been presented in seminars by the Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Main Street, and apply it during the Small Business Revolution in ways they have not done in the past.
Red Wing gained more than $1 million in media and press coverage and thousands of posts and views on social media platforms. Now the world has had a more in-depth introduction to Red Wing and we have enjoyed increased visitors to the area as a result. More people are staying in hotels, eating in restaurants and shopping in our unique stores. They are personally experiencing what the Small Business Revolution highlighted during the contest.
In the months following the contest, the ripple effect continues to touch our businesses and shape the community in new and different ways. It is rare that a day goes by without someone mentioning they voted for Red Wing during the contest. People have embraced and continue to support our small businesses. The Small Business Revolution is now a part of the fabric of the Red Wing community conversation on multiple levels; with the City of Red Wing, local businesses, organizations and those that live in and love Red Wing. The contest experience has helped shape discussions on how to build on the momentum of attracting more successful small businesses and how to create efficient systems to assist them and also retain our existing businesses and provide them help in the future. Even though Red Wing didn’t win the actual contest, our community had so many “wins” in other ways, we know we will continue to see the positive effects for years to come.