Small businesses are the heartbeat of America, driving the economy and spurring employment across the nation. Yet in small towns and local communities, small-business owners continue to struggle to reach their customers and maintain their dream. That is why it is more important than ever to invest in America’s Main Street.
If you’ve visited any small town in the United States, you’ve no doubt come across the quintessential historic downtown districts, complete with quaint “Mom and Pop” shops lining cobblestone streets. Yet for every majestic downtown square that’s been restored to its full glory, there are 10 more central business districts that need help. That’s why Deluxe Corporation is partnering with dynamic entrepreneur Robert Herjavec of Shark Tank for the “Small Business Revolution on Main Street” contest, to give one small town and its small businesses a very big opportunity.
This year, during the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 53rd annual Small Business Week May 1-7, 2016, Deluxe and its Small Business Revolution will infuse $500,000 into one small town’s main street. Deluxe will provide marketing support and business services to the winning town’s small businesses, while also investing in the town’s public spaces. Herjavec will lend his business expertise to provide guidance and support to the businesses as well.
The entire town’s transformation will be captured in a web series featuring Deluxe and Herjavec to air in the Fall of 2016 on www.smallbusinessrevolution.org.
In January 2016, the public was invited to nominate their favorite small town at SmallBusinessRevolution.org. The response was overwhelming. Deluxe received approximately 10,000 nominations for more than 1,600 different towns across the country. “From Maine to Kentucky to Minnesota and beyond, small business supporters are sharing their love of their towns as they seek to be finalists in this unique contest,” Herjavec wrote on his entrepreneurship blog. “Throughout these nominations is the underlying notion of community… of home… of connection.”
The finalist towns—Silverton, Oregon, and Wabash, Indiana—were announced today, as part of Small Business Week. Each finalist’s story is told in a video vignette at SmallBusinessRevolution.org, and the public is invited to watch and vote for their favorite finalist from May 3-10. Voters have a chance to win a trip for two to the winning town and meet with Herjavec.
The thousands of nominations were both inspiring and at times heart-wrenching—pleas of thousands of people from Main Street America trying to save what only can be described as their heart and soul—things like, “Our community needs help to reclaim its heritage by making our Main Street the heart of our great little city again” and “We are proud and want to bring people back to this community. We are trying, but need more help.”
“Nowhere are small businesses more important – or more under siege – than in small towns throughout America,” says Amanda Brinkman, chief brand officer for Deluxe. “The Main Street contest has truly resonated with the public and shows how much Americans love their small towns and how important locally-owned businesses are to the economy.”
Last year Deluxe celebrated its 100th anniversary by launching the Small Business Revolution to shine a spotlight on the small businesses that are the backbone of our nation’s economy. Deluxe enlisted award-winning documentarians—whose works have appeared in TIME, National Geographic and the like—to profile 100 compelling businesses, such as a Texas ranch whose horses help heal traumatized kids, a Chicago couple whose vintage shop revitalized a neighborhood and a bicycle manufacturer who is challenging industry giants with a commitment to quality.
Since 1915, Deluxe has helped small businesses and financial institutions grow and thrive by providing a range of business services, from websites and logos to social media and email marketing to checks and other financial services. Deluxe works with more than 4.5 million small businesses and financial institutions across the country. This includes all types of small businesses—from retailers to restaurants to B2B service providers, and everything in between.