- Associated Press - Saturday, January 14, 2017

MARIETTA, Ohio (AP) - There was a revolution in Marietta last weekend. A Small Business Revolution that is.

The Small Business Revolution team came to downtown Marietta to film, interview and find out more about Marietta, one of eight small towns in the running for a $500,000 prize and a Hulu series.

The SBR put out a call for nominations looking for one special small town that would benefit from a half a million dollars’ worth of services and support to help boost its small businesses and downtown area. After nearly 14,000 nominations, Marietta is one of eight small towns still in the running.

The “Small Business Revolution on Main Street” is championed by the Deluxe Corporation, a company celebrating over 100 years in business and originally well known for check printing and business forms. Deluxe now also is a leading provider of marketing services and products for small businesses.

“Their team arrived around 4 (p.m. on Jan. 6) and they enjoyed our First Friday Fire and Ice event,” said Cristie Thomas, executive director of Marietta Main Street.

Thomas added that the entire SBR crew has been wonderful. She was proud that the local community was so excited to have an audience to share how much they love the community. Thomas said the SBR crew was really warm and inviting which made it easy for the small business owners to talk with them during interviews and filming.

“It’s an incredible honor to have the Small Business Revolution visit Marietta,” said Thomas. “The best part for me is having the community come together and show their support and to see how much opportunity there is.”

The person responsible for Marietta being entered in this opportunity is Laura Pytlik, the owner of Wit & Whimzy.

“It came across my Facebook feed,” said Pytlik. “It said to nominate your favorite town online to possibly win $500,000.”

She filled out a simple nomination and wrote a few paragraphs about what it would mean for Marietta to win and why the town is special. The Small Business Revolution responded wanting more information and now Marietta is in the running.

“In Marietta we have a mix of experienced small business owners that have been in business for a very long time and have been through all the ups and downs and we also have some small businesses that are new and still learning,” said Pytlik. “Working together, we help each other. The diversity of our businesses creates a very good energy downtown.”

Pytlik said everyone is working together for the same goal.

“We’re a quaint, charming, historic river town that is trying to draw visitors by offering unique shops, restaurants and venues,” she said.

“We’re looking for small towns that really support their small businesses in their community,” said marketing expert Amanda Brinkman of the Small Business Revolution. “We truly believe that small towns are special because of their small businesses. We want to see towns that agree with us and is ready to help their small businesses thrive.”

Brinkman said she enjoyed meeting the people downtown and finding out about the perseverance that is here. She said Marietta has some really great small businesses.

“Marietta is very beautiful and the rivers are wonderful,” said Brinkman. “I love the aspect of continuing the real opportunity of capitalizing on the adventure possibilities such as kayaking and biking. It’s also neat to hear that people come to Marietta to go to college and end up staying as residents. That’s a wonderful thing. Marietta must be very hospitable to the college students.”

Brinkman said SBR had 14,000 nominations and it was narrowed down to eight to determine who the finalists will be. The finalists will be put up online for vote on Feb. 9.

“Marietta has always been a persistent town,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R. Ohio. “Every time this town has been devastated by floods, fires or whatever, they have always picked themselves up and got back to work. This is a great place to live with people that understand how to survive in tough times.”

“I think the Small Business Revolution visit is great. Somebody has to win. It could be Marietta,” said Rob Schafer, owner of the Schafer Leather Store that has been in business for 150 years.

Schafer liked the SBR crew and said that they were a lot of fun to talk with.

“They really know what they’re doing.”

The Twisted Sisters Boutique has been in business for 16 years and is owned by sisters, Becky Pritchett and Debbie Cline.

“Having the Small Business Revolution team in Marietta is awesome,” said Pritchett. “It rocks. It’s exciting and it’s an honor.”

“The Small Business Revolution visit is a shot of energy,” said Cline. “It has kind of rallied the whole town.”

“I’m absolutely excited about SBR being in town,” said Bill Ruud, president of Marietta College. “I love our community. It’s fantastic. Marietta is a hidden gem on the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers.”

Ruud was at the new Pop-up Marietta College Book Store on Front Street. He added that they were selling Marietta College items and giving shoppers hot chocolate to stay warm.

Ryan Smith, owner of the Marietta Adventure Co. was optimistic about the attention.

“Just the prospect of Marietta being in the running for this has gotten people excited. I met with the SBR crew this morning and they are a great bunch of people, super nice and friendly.

“We got a chance to chat a bit and do an interview,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing if we make the cut to the next group and hopefully all the way to winning it.”

Smith said he believes that SBR could help Marietta a lot with its branding, individual businesses and helping to elevate the community overall to a higher level.

Bobby and Sara Rosenstock, of the Just A Jar Design Press, were also upbeat about the Small Business Revolution weekend.

“It was great. Their crew was nice and down to earth,” said Bobby Rosenstock. “The interviews were very casual. We’re excited about their visit and the possibility of being chosen for the final award. It’s been great seeing everyone from the town rallying around this.”

To help out Marietta and show support for local small businesses, go onto Facebook or Instagram and use the hash tag “MyMarietta” and share stories about the town. Also, mark the calendar for Feb. 9 because if Marietta gets selected as a finalist, there will be a one week period where the entire nation can vote online at smallbusinessrevolution.org.

Whoever gets the most votes during that week will win the award. For information about Marietta Main Street and events, visit mariettamainstreet.org.


Information from: The Marietta Times, https://www.mariettatimes.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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