A vow for progress in ‘Searcy Finale’ | Small Business Revolution: S4E8


– Hey, I’m Amanda Brinkman and I’m the Chief Brand Officer at Deluxe and the host of the show
you’re about to watch. So, Deluxe started doing this series because we love small businesses. It’s not just that they create jobs. We believe they have the power
to bring people together. And we wanted to use what we do at Deluxe to help them succeed. Our hope has always been that
entrepreneurs can watch a show and learn something that helps ’em. But the episodes are
only a half an hour long and we can’t always show you
every step of the process. So if you want to learn a little more come check us out at
deluxe.com/revolution. Your town doesn’t have to win the half a million dollar makeover for the Deluxe team to
work with your business. What we do on the show is what we do all the time
for five and a half million small businesses across the country. We just don’t always bring cameras. So remember, to shop
local and enjoy the show. (gentle music) At Deluxe, we love small businesses. We do the Small Business Revolution because we believe that small businesses are the lifeblood of our
country, of our economy of our big cities and
certainly in our small towns. (audience clapping and cheering) Small towns who don’t just wanna survive but truly want to thrive. Consciously and
intentionally work to make it a place that is open and welcome to all. (audience clapping and cheering) – [Announcer] Small
towns across the country are fighting for their survival with the odds stacked against them. But what happens if we join that fight? If we dedicate a little
money, a lot of experience and thousands of hours of
work into one small town. Focusing on the businesses at the heart of their main street. What started as an idea
became a national movement with over 30,000 towns nominated
for the $500,000 makeover and more than a million
votes cast for the winner. – [Man] Hello Searcy. (audience cheering) – [Announcer] In its fourth season the Small Business Revolution is headed south to Searcy, Arkansas. And a new town in a new region will present a fresh set
of challenges to tackle. Both for the small businesses and for the community as a whole. So Amanda Brinkman and her team of marketing experts at
Deluxe are going to work and they’re not alone. Renovation expert and
cohost, Ty Pennington will be working with the team to rehabilitate the town’s buildings. While a whole cast of experts help rehabilitate its businesses. Every episode, we’ll be working
with a new small business to see if we can change the odds. If, together we can start a revolution. (gentle music) – We spent most of the year in Searcy working to transform
the six small businesses we’re featuring on the show. And now with our time
here drawing to a close we’re turning our attention
to the town as a whole. We’re trying to answer four big questions and they’re the same questions we ask when we’re working with
individual entrepreneurs. What kind of marketing operational skills can we pass along to the
town to help Searcy pride? What renovation projects will have the biggest
impact on a town’s success? What potential barriers do we see that could prevent the town
from continuing to grow? And how can the team at
Deluxe help them to find and communicate their
unique brand to the world? But as we get to work I’m struck by how far the
town has already come. Simply by coming together to make the most of this opportunity. – The Small Business Revolution. It has unified our community and it’s been really
important for us to have that. – Since Deluxe came into town and the Small Business Revolution everybody’s really had
sort of like a common goal and just joining forces together and goin’ all in the same direction. It’s something that Searcy
needed for a long time. – People are more willing
to work together on things and the revolution’s been
a very big part of that over the last few months. – You can really feel the momentum and I think if we keep
makin’ the right choices and movin’ forward I think we’ll be successful
for the long haul. – I think we’re kinda
tryin’ to find our voice as a community and discover
what our community brand is. Whatever that means and pay respect to the history of the town but
also really just pave the way for what is the future
and create our own history and I think that’s an exciting thing. – We wanna come help you succeed and we’ll give you all the
tools we have at our disposal to make that happen. But after that it’s up to you. – What happens when this is
over and everyone’s gone? What do we do then? We cannot let this die. – I feel everybody has the same goal that we wanna see Searcy succeed. How we want it to succeed is the question. (upbeat music) – Where will Searcy take
this momentum from here? The answer to that question
will ultimately dictate the impact that the
Small Business Revolution has in this town. Every town we work with
has small businesses. Deluxe brings in an expert advisor someone who can help point the way because they’ve been there before. There aren’t many towns that
have been where Searcy is now. In fact, there are exactly three. And luckily, we have kept in touch. So I’m hopping a plane to
Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania meeting Searcy town
leadersman, Amy en route. Bristol has had unbelievable success in the two years since they
were featured on the show. And I’m hoping they’ll
have some wisdom to share. The real secret to the whole Small Business Revolution program is how do you build on this momentum? I think Bristol Borough
has done a phenomenal job of continuing kind of with the success and the attention and just momentum. And so I’m excited for you guys to learn from some of the things
that they’ve put in place. (Amanda squeals) – [Man] Hi how are you? The hell are you? – Pleasure to meet you. – I’m so glad to see you.
– Congratulations! – We’re so happy you
guys are here, welcome. – Well there’s some of
you in Bristol Borough who have banded together
to continue the momentum and these are two of the leaders who have taken it upon themselves to really help continue to
build Bristol Borough up. So we can’t wait to show ’em around and– – Yeah let’s do it. – Explain some of the things
that you guys have done. – Okay, let’s go, are you ready? – You’ll be surprised at what you see. (Amanda laughs) (gentle music) – [Man] So this is Mill Street? – Yeah so this is Mill Street. And we’re gonna be taking
you up through Mill Street seeing the businesses
and introduce you to– – Amanda how are you.
– There they are. – Great to see you again, how are you? – Good to see you.
– How are you? Welcome back to town.
– This is the man who nominated Bristol Borough. – Craig Whitaker, nice to
meet you, welcome to Bristol. – This is so fun for you guys to meet because this is like the
group who like brought it home for both of your towns. – We can really appreciate
what they just did because we know, we know what it takes. – And we can appreciate
what you are still doing. – Yeah this is an
on-going project for sure. – We have an item behind
us in case you noticed in case you haven’t noticed,
we call it our river runner. We have a parking lot right
behind the commercial district. We wanna bring people
up from the parking lot to the street, so we use this to do that. And the other reason is, it’s a novelty. It’s just a cute, fun thing
that people will buzz about. So why don’t we take a ride. So I think one of the
differences we have from Searcy is that our commercial
district is very compact. We have four blocks on
our main drag Mill Street and then a couple commercial
blocks around the corner and that’s it. So our task is a lot easier
I think than yours is. This is our river front,
now the river sells itself. One of the challenges I think is to draw people down the entire street. So I’d like show you some
of our newer businesses on the street. Across the street is Cindy’s Cafe. This of course is Itri, you
guys are familiar with this it opened a year ago. And this is one of our exciting new– – [Amanda] Oh it’s gorgeous. – [Bill] This is Angelina’s Bakeshop. The town was dying for a bakery. So across the street you see Canal’s End
Antiques, that’s a new one. So we’re coming up on Chuck’s BBQ. They’re doing very well, very popular. Here they are.
– [Amanda] Hi. – Hi Colleen. How are you dear? Good to see you. – When did you all start all this? When did it all happen for you? – Well, of course Small Business
Revolution brought us here after everything that happened last year. – I love hearing that
the energy and enthusiasm inspire more people to
open up small businesses and we wanna see it
happen in Searcy as well. – [Man] What’s your vacancy rate? – The vacancy rate used
to be as high as 40%. Right now if you wanted to go to a realtor and say, “I would like to open
a business on the street.” There’s only two properties available. So it’s really had a
ripple effect around town. This is the time to capitalize on it. The chance you have right now may not be there two years from now. This is not the end,
this is the beginning. You are at your apex right now in terms of having people excited and the challenge is to keep them excited to keep them motivated
and to build upon that. What’s your relationship with your media? – We’re able to reach out so we really do have the potential to impact the entire state
with what we do in Searcy. You have to figure out a
strategy to keep them engaged with the, you know, it’s not old news. – So you talked a little bit about the new businesses
that you’ve had coming in. What have you done to keep them here? – We’ve done seminars on
customer service on social media. We helped them build
web sites and we promote so that they do have that
little shot in the arm in that first year, because
it’s a tough year as you know. – With everything that we
do, everybody’s involved. We have major festivals,
June, July, August, September along here, they bring in anywheres from 500 to 10,000. We have African-American
day, we have Puerto Rican Day we have Italian Day, we have Celtic Day and then our historic Bristol Day. We do a Christmas parade. – So everybody feels like they’re a part you know, from the different segments. Everybody can come together
and kind of celebrate. – We’ve had people as far as Virginia come to the do out concert. We include everybody in what we’re doing. (upbeat music) – Diversity, history and
a beautiful riverfront. Bristol Borough has been so successful partially because they’ve
got a clear understanding of who they are and how
to communicate that brand. But without the obvious natural resources or the 300 year-old buildings. Searcy will have to get
a little more creative in defining what makes them unique. So we’re bringing Amy and
Mat to Deluxe headquarters for a brainstorm on the towns brand. And we’ve got a head start because Mat Faulkner’s ad agency has already started working on designs for a unified town logo. – First of all, I love
that already we’re seeing like the more common color scheme between the primary logo
and those secondary logos and I think that’s really smart. I know that AR is very
meaningful to anyone in Arkansas but any marketing that you’re trying to
do outside of Arkansas might not be as apparent. So just getting the word Arkansas in there would be helpful, I think.
– Awesome. – So let’s talk about what you want Searcy to be known for. So what are some words that
you want to come to mind or emotions that you wanna evoke? – I think moving forward we like to appeal to
the younger demographic and be seen as a little
bit more progressive and there’s an arts
movement going on right now and so we’d like to kinda see
that in the brand as well. Just kind of a nod to that. – So I think as we’re working through kind of this new kind of brand. The best brands in the world are truly one part, you know kind of exactly who they are today and kind of that aspirational feel. You wanna design kind
of a brand or a theme or something that kind of
also encourages and pushes the community towards that. So we wanna accomplish both things. Both who you are today but where you really see yourself heading. Where they’ve been and where
they’re going from here. Since we first landed in Searcy,
we felt that push and pull from a community that
values its traditions but also wants to remain relevant in a quickly evolving world. – Searcy wants to real, you have one camp that wants to be progressive the other camp that wants it to grow but they want to do it kind
of how they’ve always done it and so I think that internal struggle is really been evident
and I think it’s growing. – We’re not in Austin. Like we’re not gonna be hanging rainbow flags from our
windows anytime soon. We’re like, Searcy is not ready for that at least at this point. – I think searcy is evolving
and it’s not a straight line. You know, we’re not Portland Oregon but I wouldn’t still
be here after 10 years if I didn’t have hope. – Change is almost always messy particularly in a country
whose strength is derived not for a single dominant culture but from the power of its diversity. But messiness aside, the
research supports those ideals. There is an increasing
volume of data out there that correlates diversity
with economic growth. And since we’ve been on the lookout for meaningful renovation projects. We might just have the perfect way to help Searcy express those ideals. Plus, this town loves its murals. I think we activate the community around you know, really coming
up with their own ideas about what does inclusiveness look like and Deluxe will pay for
the painting of the mural. We wanna work with Jason White. He’s such a talented local muralist. – Yeah, he’s amazing.
– And I think we can even offer up a
little bit of a contest like a $1000 reward for the artist. We’ll have the community
actually vote on it and really kind of planting
that flag and sending a message about how Searcy wants to
be seen moving forward. We’re excited about the mural and about Searcy’s art scene as a whole. But I still feel like we’re searching for what truly defines a
towns aspirational brand. What is the best version of Searcy? The thing that makes it unique. Those questions led us
to Sparrow’s Promise. One of a number of local nonprofits formed in service of
Searcy’s unbelievably strong and accepting foster care community. – Hey.
– Hey. – I’m Amanda. – I’m Brandon. – It’s so nice to finally
meet you in person. – So nice to meet you as well. – I have read so many
incredible social media posts and heard such wonderful things
about what you’re doing here at the Sparrow’s Promise. – Thank you so much, well,
lemme show you around. So in talking with the state, with DCFS and asking them what they needed. Well, one of the things was a place to have their supervised visitation as the parents are working to hopefully get their kids back. We created this as the entryway and as they’re waiting, there’s a kitchen. If they, you know, that
wanna cook a meal together or a snack or something and have that. So we have three visit rooms and that look like this. – [Amanda] It feels like a home. Yes, this is incredible. – We spent over a year researching what will create an environment
that reduces anxiety and that will foster connection. First goal when a kid comes
in to care is reunification. – I think the reunification
things is fascinating because I think kids want to believe that their parents are the right
people for them to be with. – And they are, they
deserve to be together and so we’re gonna do what we can to hopefully help that happen. – I am really moved by
how many people in Searcy are foster families. – We have a great community,
I tell people all the time it’s the best thing that
our family has ever done. Our family as a foster family but it’s also the hardest thing that we’ve ever done as a family. So the safe haven is a space
where the state can bring kids immediately when they
remove them from their home. They have 24/7 access to
this part of the building so that they can have at
least a comfortable safe spot while they’re dealing with all the stress of what’s going on. – How steep is to climb for kids who are entering to foster care? – The most difficult kids
to find placement for starts at age six, so six to 18 is the biggest need that we have. We have 100 kids in care
just from White County and we only have about 50 foster homes. – So 50% placement is actually
right a great statistic? So where did the other 50% go? – They go to other
places across the state. They have to, they’re
uprooted from their schools from their community,
from their support systems and are moved throughout the state. And that’s something
that weighs heavy on us and if we can get White County’s numbers so that every kid in White
County gets to stay here then that would be thrilling. – Spending time at Sparrow’s Promise is a perfect reminder of
what makes Searcy special and with the whole Small
Business Revolution team arriving in town for one final push. It’s just the energy boost
we need for the homestretch. We’re kicking things out with
a town-wide marketing seminar bringing in members of the team at Deluxe to spread their knowledge
beyond the six businesses we got to work with throughout the summer. Though a few of them showed up as well. – What do you guys think makes
great social media content? – [Man] Photos. – Photos. – Always think about who
you’re competing against where you’re competing. – And if the competitor
is mobile optimized Google will rank them better than you. – While Searcy’s entrepreneurs learn how to market their ideas. We’re bringing someone to town who can help shine a spotlight on what’s happening here
in Central Arkansas. Meaghan Murphy, she’s the Executive Editor at Good Housekeeping which boasts millions of
subscribers across the country but at heart, she’s
still a small-town girl. – Good Housekeeping is
here to support Deluxe and Small Business Revolution and to feature all of the businesses that you’re working with
in our November issue. It gets all about focusing
on arts and culture ’cause if you get that right,
it just is such a draw. I truly believe that small
business and small towns are the lifeblood of this country and that if we can really
focus on those businesses and help them thrive and
help communities thrive the world is gonna be
a way awesomer place. – After a few hours of walking around Meaghan is already honing in on Searcy’s commitment to public art. The two big renovation
projects Deluxe has taken on both speak to that piece
of Searcy’s identity. We want these improvements
to do what art does best bring people together. (gentle music) – Well I gotta say, this looks different. – Oh my gosh. – [Ty] I love this, this is awesome. – [Mat] Isn’t that incredible? – Having these kind of places where the community can come together and intersect and interact with each other right across from Art Alley. Like they’re just gonna
extend that great experience that you’ve already created I think kinda help propel
you into the future. – It’s funny how one
project can start another. – Can start inspiring others. – And it’s helping kinda
solidify this as an Arts District with Art Alley right across the street and now a performance space. So it’s really developing
the side of the square. – Love it. – And just a block away we’re extending that Arts
District even further. Deluxe asked the Searcy community to show us what
inclusiveness meant to them and we received more than 20 submissions for the mural contest. The town voted for Tara
Peacocks winning design and we commissioned
local artist, Jason White to bring that vision to life. Next up, Think ideas to do. This is our first time
working with the town mayor who also happens to own an ad agency. And Mat Faulkner’s team has given Searcy a huge head start on marketing the town. When we looked at your existing logos you guys just had all these
different versions of brands. So your chamber of commerce is using one the Main Street Association is using one and we see this across the country, right? And so you had Tara one of your very talented
designers here at Think work on a new logo and
we absolutely love it. It feels modern, it feels fresh. – We’re super excited. This is something we’ve
been trying to work toward for several years, so we’re
very excited to roll this out and show it to everybody. – Yeah and now that we have the logo another project that Think is taking on is the commendable task
of cleaning up Searcy.com. As your team is migrating
from the current Searcy.com to this new site, there
are a lot of external sites that are linking to Searcy.com and we wanna make sure that
we’re not breaking those links or your ranking will go down. – Having Think knock
all of this design work out of the park, has
allowed the team at Deluxe to focus on building out the back end of Searcy’s online infrastructure. To ensure that they’re
showing up in search and on tourism listings like TripAdvisor. We can work with you on almost page titles and those metadata and the copy behind it. We do this for sites all the time. – Well I’m having the Deluxe team to help you bring a lot to the table
because you can kind of draw from what other people have
found successful in their towns. – Yeah, I think it’s been
a really good partnership. So, good work. We hope the brand they’re
developing, built on art togetherness and love
can help guide the town towards a bright future. The stewardship of that
brand is in Searcy’s hands because true identity
always comes from within. And moving forward, no one
will play a bigger role in an identity than
Searcy’s entrepreneurs. So while the town gets ready
for the big finale event I wanted to gather one last time with some special business owners who embodied the best
of what Searcy can be. So we just kinda wanted
to hear from you guys tell us kind of what
your experience has been. – We’ve come so far in this,
like a short amount of time It’s good to see like
all at your weaknesses to where you need to grow. ‘Cause sometimes being on the inside you’re so close to it you can’t see it. – Before the Small
Business Revolution came I was thinking of closing the business and everything they change and then it was like born again. So I really like to share this blessing to the community of Searcy too. – Always, what we want to do is to be able to provide
back to the community. So to be able to build a business here and then be able to provide more jobs here and like really bring like. “Hey, this place started in Searcy “and this was home for us.” – Yeah, it’s such a gift, right? But a revolution doesn’t
happen just by six businesses. I mean, the revolution happens by everybody setting forward. – I would agree like,
this is just meant to be a catalyst for your new community. It’s not about the six businesses is about, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” – There’s no doubt that
it’s way bigger than us and I hope the community
as a whole recognize that you know, this was the opportunity to make a difference in each other’s lives and you know, so thank you to
Deluxe and for all involved. – That goes beyond even this circle to also more business
is Searcy that everyone. We’re in a place as business owners that we can all make some sort of impact. We’ve had people leave
us like anonymous letters being like, I had been
having a really hard time like feeling like, I didn’t fit
in Searcy because I was gay. And I’ve been having
really hard time on Sundays and I’ve been really struggling and now I come to your
restaurant on Sundays it feels like home and I was like “Wow, that’s not always set out to be.” But I definitely want it
to be that we are a place where people can feel at home. – There are kids who are
growing up in Searcy right now who are gay and they are going to see that they can be business owners that they could be welcomed,
they can be accepted they can be celebrated. And they’re gonna be little girls who are gonna see that I can grow up and own my own business. It doesn’t matter what my
husband does, I run my business. That they can create
something from nothing. That they can come from the
military and open a business that you can immigrate
from another country and create something
where people feel at home. You’re all just so amazing. Searcy is so blessed to have
this group of people here. – Every time you hear
somebody else’s story and how it connects with your own story. It kind of validates, “Hey, you know “yeah I’m more similar to
other people than I realized.” The overall experience
has been challenging but man, it’s been so rewarding. – The six businesses we got to work with over the course of the
year, showed courage tenacity and a willingness
to put in more work than most people would ever dream of. In other words, they’re entrepreneurs. And while none of them set out to be examples for their community I really can’t think of better ones. So it’s going to be hard to say goodbye but knowing that they’re here gives me hope for Searcy’s future. – [Mayor] Hello Searcy. – [Crowd] Hello. – Yes, is this great or what? Thank you to Pen, Amanda, Deluxe. You guys started a spark in this community that I have never witnessed before, never. (clapping and cheering) You made Searcy shine so
bright, not just in Arkansas across the nation, we are
more united than ever. Come up here. (mumbles) (clapping and cheering) – Hello Searcy? (crowd cheering and whistling) You guys know from my past I love working in the community where people roll up their sleeves and actually get things done
and what’s been really amazing is to see, with Deluxe and Amanda and the whole Small
Business Revolution team. What amount of progress has happened. Give yourselves a hand, it’s been amazing. (cheering and clapping) And now, from the woman behind
it all, Amanda Brinkman. (cheering and clapping) – Well thank you Searcy. At Deluxe we believe that small businesses are the lifeblood of our
country, of our economy of our big cities and
certainly in our small towns. (clapping and cheering) We believe that towns
that truly want to thrive and push themselves forward focus on how you create a community that is open and welcome to all. And one of the things
we’ve been so moved by in our time here, is how
incredibly generous and open the families of Searcy are to kids within the foster care system. (clapping and cheering) I’ve never been to a town that has this kind of
care for the children and the next generations. So can I have Brandon
Tittle join me on stage. He is the Executive Director
from Sparrow’s Promise. We feel like it’s really important to continue to invest
in that foster system that you so lovingly support here. And so Deluxe would like
to make a grant of $15,000. (clapping and cheering) So thank you for everything
that you do for these children. For those of you who are foster
care parents in the crowd thank you. (clapping and cheering) Thank you again Searcy. Thank you for being
unbelievable host to us. We know you’re gonna continue to come together as a community we know you’re going to continue to support your small businesses. We know that you’re gonna be intentional about making sure Searcy is a place where everyone feels
welcome, seen and heard. That Searcy is certainly
poised to prove what happens when a town truly does lead with love. (clapping and cheering) (gentle music) Searcy Arkansas, just north of Little Rock has a whole new look and feel. This newly revitalized community has a unified brand and story thanks to a little help
from the team at Deluxe. Visit deluxe.com/revolution to see how your town could benefit from the
power of rebranding. (upbeat music)

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