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Small Business Stories: Ellen’s Bridal and Dress Boutique

December 21, 2016

Lisa Ellen Downs had the fashion expertise, the quaint small-town location and the willingness to go the extra mile to help clients plan for their special events.

What she didn’t have for her Wabash, Indiana, bridal and formalwear salon was the big-city panache needed to attract clients from outside the immediate area. That was before Deluxe stepped in with a comprehensive rebranding program featuring a more compelling website design, elegant new signage, eye-catching new collateral and effective new mail and social media marketing campaigns.

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Small Business Stories: Filament Tattoo Company

As tattoos have become an increasingly popular form of self-expression, demand for great work has grown — and competition has ramped up among skilled artists nationwide.

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Embracing the inner entrepreneur in all of us

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Kris White comes across as quiet and unassuming, but his story is as deep and rich as any entrepreneur I’ve chronicled over the last few years. The retail manager of Schlemmer Bros. Hearth and Home in Wabash basically created his own position and through determination and a complete lack of fear and brought the 113-year-old company into the digital age by forcing himself to learn mobile marketing.

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Want to be a great marketer? Sometimes you’re just born that way.

Matt_Haynes_Filament_Tattoo_Small_Business_RevolutionPast the bald head, the huge, bushy beard and the copious tattoos, you can see the twinkle in his eyes. There is something more going on there, something deeper that belies the shell he wears.

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Getting yourself prepared to be a small business owner

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During Deluxe’s summer in Wabash, Indiana — winner of the Small Business Revolution – Main Street contest — we saw a lot of empty store fronts. Even though the town is making great strides toward revitalization, small business owners there are struggling just as they are all over the country. Main streets and downtowns in small towns want to remain relevant – no one wants to see closed up buildings and empty storefronts. But sustaining a small business is hard, especially for the owners who invest their time, talent and dollars into keeping them afloat.

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Marketing that Matters: Small Business Revolution Lessons Learned from the Road

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After packing so much into one year, I still find it hard to believe 2015 is over. From launching the Small Business Revolution documentary series to celebrating Deluxe’s 100th year in business; from building a massive social following from scratch to conducting two national media campaigns with Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec, we truly accomplished a great deal in 365 days. I am exceptionally proud of our team.

Of course, those four milestones do not even do justice to all that was achieved and learned in 2015. This time last year, when the Small Business Revolution first kicked off online, we were thrilled with each new follower, with each news story about our love of small business. Personally, I was humbled and gratified that the public was resonating with our “big idea” – creating a movement to celebrate the importance of small businesses in this country.

We knew that celebrating our 100th anniversary at Deluxe was an opportunity to do something bigger than just celebrate ourselves. We wanted to do something purposeful…and meaningful to honor the kinds of businesses we love working with every day – the small businesses that make up the rich fabric of our communities. Turning the spotlight away from ourselves and onto the small businesses we support through mini-documentaries and photo essays gave us the chance to share authentic content that truly celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit.

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What military service teaches small business owners

When I see a military member in uniform in the airport, I’ll walk up and shake his or her hand. “Thank you for your service,” I say.

I do it as a sign of respect for the sacrifice the individual has made so my family can be safe. I do it because I have never served my country and that commitment deserves respect. Yet over the years, that simple gesture, while possibly meaningful to the service member, perhaps has lost its meaning when it becomes rote. Do I really mean it? Am I really thankful?

It is at this point I remember the years I consulted for the US Army Medical Department, when I think about the incredible men and women who fought for the country and cared for the wounded. I think about the literally dozens and dozens of Soldiers and Marines I came in contact with who struggled to regain their lives after being wounded in the line of duty.

You’d better believe I really mean those words because I am thankful, and we should all be thankful for their commitment.

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Deluxe Surprises Four Small Businesses with $25,000!

25K Small Business Revolution Awards from Deluxe

Deluxe surprised four incredible small businesses with a $25,000 Small Business Revolution award.

Four different times this fall, I was blessed to wake up knowing I was about the change someone’s life that day.

In our 100th anniversary, Deluxe launched an incredible documentary series called the Small Business Revolution (www.smallbusinessrevolution.org) celebrating the importance of small businesses in our country. As a part of this celebration, we asked the public to nominate their favorite small business to receive a $25,000 Small Business Revolution award from Deluxe. It was my honor to represent Deluxe when surprising (and delighting) each deserving owner with this windfall.

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Small Business Revolution Launches Feature Documentary

Every Revolution Has Its SparkOn Sept. 23 Deluxe launched the long-form documentary for the Small Business Revolution – the capstone of our year-long celebration of small business in America. The Small Business Revolution is our way of celebrating Deluxe’s centennial, turning the spotlight on entrepreneurs and small business owners who live the American Dream.

Like any professional, I think the most we can hope for in our careers is to find a job or a project that we can believe in and be passionate about – and for working parents, to have something that makes leaving your kids each day worth it.

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Why Mozzeria Believes in the Language of Food

Mozzeria Owners Melody and Russell SteinThe sounds of a professional kitchen have a rhythm and language all their own. From chopping of ingredients to the sizzle of a cast iron pan to the swirl of a spoon in a pot, you can visualize the state of a meal by the pace of the sounds a chef makes.

When exceptional food is brought to your table, often words take a backseat to our most primal sounds, the simple “mmmm,” “ahhh” and “ohh” associated with the satisfaction a perfect blend of favors elicits on your palate.

At Mozzeria in San Francisco’s Mission District, the language of food takes on a meaning beyond the exquisite flavors associated with their signature Peking Duck pizza or the Hosui Pear Pizza.  Owners Russell and Melody Stein are both Deaf, as is their entire staff. But in an industry defined by taste, flavor and nuance, their circumstances are secondary to the superiority of their food.

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