In our premiere season, we received nearly 10,000 nominations for towns from all 50 states. We narrowed it to two finalists, and the public cast more than 180,000 votes, naming Wabash, Indiana, the winner.
We rolled up our sleeves, dug into the town’s needs, and captured the transformation. These eight inspiring episodes illustrate how small businesses and town leaders came together to overcome challenges and build a better future – and each episode includes powerful lessons for small businesses and communities everywhere.
Meet Wabash, Indiana, winner of the $500,000 Small Business Revolution – Main Street makeover.
In episode one, we get a glimpse into the community, its businesses and its leaders, who portray what the community is about and where it is going. And, we learn how Deluxe plans to help them revitalize their town and its small businesses, so that together, we can create a Revolution.
Meet Harry and Judy Kilmer, owners of Harry’s Old Kettle Pub & Grill, a long-standing Wabash institution.
In the second episode, we learn about the challenges Harry has faced in turning this bar into the restaurant of his dreams, and how we tackled them with some physical improvements, marketing solutions and a few special surprises along the way.
Meet Lisa Ellen Downs, owner of Ellen’s Bridal & Dress Boutique, a small-town shop with a big-city experience.
In episode three, we learn about the challenges Downs faces getting the word out and sustaining sales seasonally. The Deluxe team shows her how the right branding and a little community collaboration make a big difference.
Meet Matt Haynes, a former pastor who opened Filament Tattoo Co., a clean and reputable tattoo shop in Wabash.
In episode four, we learn about the seasonal challenges of the tattoo industry along with the need to draw a more regional market. The Deluxe team shows Filament how to better market their story. Along with a few physical improvements, we help Filament change perceptions about tattoo shops.
Meet Kent Henderson, owner of Schlemmer Brothers, a metalworks and retail hearth business. He and his employee Kris White keep this Wabash institution afloat.
In episode five, we see how the retail business struggles to hold its own without a clear strategy and little marketing expertise. The Deluxe team arms them with the marketing knowledge they need to endure for another hundred years.
Meet Tracy and Aaron Griffith, grade school sweethearts and co-owners of Thriftalicious, a vintage resale shop in Wabash.
In episode six, we see the uphill battles the parents of four faced after leaving home and having children at a young age. The Deluxe team shows the Griffiths how the power of an articulate curation strategy, a sharp website and thoughtful retail design can increase their customer base and bring sales to the next level.
Meet Maria and Mike Smyth, co-owners of Eclectic Shoppe, a décor, art and gift store in Wabash that features distinct art by local artisans.
In episode seven, we see how this startup’s pricing strategy challenges threaten the life of the business. The Deluxe team helps them create a branding strategy that can support healthier pricing, allowing them to carry out their passion and keep their doors open for years to come.
In the Wabash finale, we see the momentum of the Revolution and the trickle effect on the entire community.
In episode eight, we get a final tour of the town, showing off the physical enhancements Wabash and Deluxe worked on together. Deluxe is so inspired by the progress and energy that they have a few surprises to give before they leave, and take pride knowing that a groundswell has begun and Wabash is just getting started.
How it all Started
We spent the summer in the town of Wabash, Indiana, winner of the 2016 Small Business Revolution – Main Street project. We not only invested $500,000 into the community, we got to work side-by-side with small business owners and community leaders to help Wabash fulfill its potential. This town and its challenges and opportunities are reminiscent of what you’ll see in small towns across the country. In this eight-episode original series, we tell the story of this small town and its tireless work to survive and thrive against the odds.