November 30, 2018
Your-Type Brings #OurAlton to Life
Written by Cameron Potts
Small business owners are an industrious bunch. Seriously, it comes with the territory. You aren’t doing it right if you aren’t trying to market your product every day, every way you can.
To that end, I get a lot of phone calls, emails and texts from small business owners who want to be featured on Small Business Revolution – Main Street. They have great businesses, but they haven’t researched the fact that the show is about helping one small town. One year, I had one gentleman call me several times wanting to speak to Robert Herjavec so he could invest in his business. Nope.
For each one, I wish I could help, since every small business owner could use a boost. Just recently, one inquiry was different from the rest when Todd Hoffman reached out about his own idea to help showcase Alton, Illinois, and his own business.
Hoffman owns Todd Hoffman Design, Inc. and recently launched a new venture, Your-Type, where he creates oversized letters for parties, events and special occasions. Located in Winona, Minnesota, Hoffman was a fan of Small Business Revolution and noticed we were about to launch Season 3 in Alton, Illinois, winner of this year’s contest. An entrepreneur, Hoffman saw an opportunity.
“I’d like to bring some of our letters to Alton to help the town celebrate,” Hoffman told me over the phone. If they got into an episode, great, if not, he was happy seeing if they could further the overall exuberance in Alton for the launch of the series.
From Winona, the drive to Alton is about 11 hours. The letters, which in some cases can be over 11-feet tall, were packed into his shipping truck and taken to Alton in August, while our crew happened to be filming one last series in town.
During the voting campaign for Season 3, Deluxe encouraged the competing towns to adopt our #myTOWN campaign to share their stories. In Alton, the #myAlton campaign turned into #ourAlton after a great editorial lauded the way the town came together to celebrate their win. Hoffman took this lead in creating his Your-Type designs, setting up #ourAlton letters on Broadway (see photos with this article).
The concept is genius: during events, people stage themselves at the letters, taking pictures for their social media feeds and celebrating all that is great about Alton. On Oct. 4, when the series launched, the six featured business owners gathered by the letters for a photo.
Hoffman rents and sells the letters, which communities, individuals or corporations can use to any affect or purpose. In late August, during a community event in Alton, the letters were used constantly for photo opportunities. Over the course of the next few weeks, Alton kept them stationed on Broadway, one of the main drags in town.
As an entrepreneur, Hoffman took the chance that his work could be featured on the show, or if not, be part of the celebration in the town, thereby gaining free publicity. Local news outlets in Alton did stories on the letters and though originally, I said they likely wouldn’t end up in the show, Your-Type does appear in two episodes.