Small Business Revolution visits Spearfish

Spearfish has been selected as one of the top 10 towns to be visited by representatives from the Deluxe Corporation, the company that produces the hit Hulu series “Small Business Revolution.” Show representatives were joined by Spearfish city officials Wednesday as they visited the town. From left are, Jennifer Amundson, director of communications and social media with Deluxe; Kory Menken, executive director at Spearfish Economic Development Corporation; Dana Boke, mayor of Spearfish; Mike Harmon, city administrator; Julie Gordon, director of marketing and partnerships at Deluxe; and Melissa Barth, executive director of the Spearfish area Chamber of Commerce. Pioneer photo by Alex Portal

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SPEARFISH — The hit Hulu series “Small Business Revolution” is considering Spearfish to be featured in its fifth season as it continues its mission to revitalize small town America one business at a time.

In November, the show announced that Spearfish had been selected as one of the top 10 towns to be visited by a team from Deluxe, the corporation, which produces the series. 

On Wednesday, Julie Gordon, director of marketing partnerships and Jennifer Amundson, director of communications and social media for Deluxe were joined by city officials as they toured the town.  

“We’re not looking for the town that’s perfect and has everything under control and is doing it all perfectly because we can’t provide an educational show from that situation,” Amundson said.

Each season of “Small Business Revolution” centers around a select number of small businesses in a town, the team from Deluxe spends time talking with local entrepreneurs about the aspects of their businesses they feel are lagging the most, then the team springs into action to work with the owners to build short-term and long-term business plans to help improve the marketing and promotion of the business.

“And then of course we have (co-host) Ty (Pennington) who likes to look at the physical renovations, and he’s a riot,” Gordon said.

Deluxe invests $500,000 into the businesses they feature with some of that money also going towards improvements to the town to help generate foot traffic through small business districts. 

Amundson and Gordon said they received 6,000 nominations for cities throughout the country hoping to be in the running for the upcoming season.

The production crew at Deluxe takes those nominations, and does some preliminary research on the towns, once they’ve refined the list down to the top 10 towns; the crew splits up and visits each of them to get a better sense of the community.

“It takes a community and business owners working together, working hand in hand with organizations that are there to support them to really make it work,” Gordon said. “There’s definitely that collaborative feeling here.”

Both Amundson and Gordon said they were very impressed with the sense of community in Spearfish as well as the variety of businesses it supports. 

“You’re not just catering only to the tourists you’re serving the people here in the region of Spearfish,” Gordon added.

The next step of the process will be for the crew to collaborate and compare notes about the towns they visited and narrow that list down to the top five; after that, it’s put to a nation wide vote to find out who the lucky winner will be.

“It is a relief when we get to that vote part,” Amundson said with a laugh. “It is hard, we get invested in the communities that we visit.”

Although the decision will ultimately be decided by a vote, Gordon and Amundson said there are plenty of steps the people of the Northern Hills can take to help insure Spearfish stays in the running.

The Deluxe crew monitors social media to keep track of how invested the community is in their local businesses. They said they like to see pictures and videos of patrons enjoying the fruits of their local businesses. They said to use the hash tag #MYSPEARFISH when posting on social media to help attract their attention. 

“We do love to see that the community is behind the movement,” Amundson said. “Talk about the owner, or talk about something that they get from the business.”

Amundson and Gordon said they enjoyed their time in Spearfish, and are looking forward to tracking the community’s enthusiasm throughout the selection process.

“It was so fun just to see everybody waving, welcoming, and showing their spirit. It’s really alive here,” Gordon said.

The final five towns will be announced on Jan. 14 on the “Small Business Revolution” website at Voting will also be open for one week after the announcement, and the winner will be announced at the end of January.

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