It’s been one year since the Small Business Revolution invested $500,000 into transforming the town of Bristol Borough, PA. In the spring and summer of 2017, marketing expert Amanda Brinkman and a team of small business supporters from Deluxe came together to revive this special town.
In this episode of Small Business Revolution ‒ Main Street, the team returns to Bristol Borough to see whether the Revolution has stood the test of time.
Business is booming in Bristol
The community of Bristol Borough has harnessed the energy of Small Business Revolution, and businesses are thriving. Four years ago, there were 26 empty storefronts in town. Today, there are only five. New entrepreneurs are starting up, and other businesses are investing in improvements to keep up with the competition. Better yet, housing prices are up.
Community leaders say the excitement and exposure that Bristol Borough received through Small Business Revolution has been a game changer.
Hem’s Truck & Auto is back from the brink
As one of six Bristol Borough businesses selected to receive a makeover last year, Hem’s Truck and Auto was contemplating closing its doors after a decade in business. The Small Business Revolution team stepped in to offer marketing expertise, financial advice and decades of experience. And today, owners Roland and Megan Hems have a renewed energy for the business. They’ve also hired another mechanic to take on the increase in clients.
“Business is so good that we’ve expanded … By Monday or Tuesday, we’re fully booked for the entire week ahead,” says Megan. “This was better than winning the lottery.”
Annabella’s doubles sales
Chef Robert Angelaccio opened Annabella’s in 2003 to share his love for Italian cuisine with his community. But like many restaurateurs, Robert and his wife Alison struggled to fill the dining room on a consistent basis.
To attract new diners, the team from Small Business Revolution made numerous changes to Annabella’s marketing and business plan. But the biggest change was to help the restaurant connect with local diners and visitors seeking a tasty meal. Their new mobile-friendly website and their listing on popular websites like TripAdvisor have helped them double their sales.
“There are more new customers every week, we have money in the account all the time now,” says Robert.
Discover Learn & Grow opens second location
When Small Business Revolution came to town in 2017, Discover Learn & Grow was a new business. Owners Ramona and Marcelous Jones founded the center to offer high-quality preschool programs to the families of Bristol Borough. But they struggled to spread the word about the business.
One year later, Discover Learn & Grow has reached their maximum capacity of students and is opening a second location to accommodate more children. The search engine optimization strategy has helped new clients find the preschool online: families who search for “daycare” or “preschool” on search engines like Google are coming to her website, learning more about Discover Learn & Grow and scheduling a visit to the center.
Miguel’s Riverside Barber Shop expands
After a few years in business, Miguel Velez III was ready to grow: Miguel’s Riverside Barber Shop was consistently bustling with customers. But the cramped shop prevented the busy barbers from accepting walk-in clients. The team from Small Business Revolution helped Miguel prepare his business for a big move, encouraging him to refresh his marketing, increase his prices and make room to sell styling products in the shop.
Since the move, Miguel has hired two new barbers and seen a significant increase in walk-in haircuts. The changes have certainly boosted his bottom line.
“It’s put me to that next level where I wanted to go,” he says.
Polka Dot Parlor increases foot traffic
As the only clothing retailer in downtown Bristol Borough, Polka Dot Parlor was a welcome addition to the community. But owner Paulette Kirk Kasmer needed help to attract a steady stream of customers to the shop. As part of her revitalization, she got a crash course in retail merchandising, social media marketing, email marketing and more.
“Deluxe looked at my business and showed me places where I can improve,” says Paulette.
Over time, the changes have attracted new shoppers and encouraged casual customers to return to the store. Sales have doubled since last year, and the future is bright.
Keystone Boxing & MMA Gym finds its footing
Jose Tilapa poured everything he had into making Keystone Boxing a reality. Eager to share his passion for boxing with his community, Jose did it all: offering self-defense courses, children’s programs, competitive boxing training and more. With guidance from Small Business Revolution, he narrowed his focus and positioned his business to better compete with big-name gyms. The most profitable program ‒ the Little Ninjas youth classes ‒ has doubled enrollment.
“As a business owner, I’m 1,000 steps ahead in such a short amount of time,” says Jose. “Business is doing amazing. I’m focusing on what I’m really good at, and making it better.”
The revolution continues
The Small Business Revolution team sparked a transformation in Bristol Borough. But the lasting impact comes from the community, who have come together to carry forward that momentum.
The revolution isn’t over! Join the team as they revitalize Alton, IL in season 3 of Small Business Revolution ‒ Main Street. The season premieres on October 4th, 2018. Subscribe below to get updates on new episodes.