Bright Horizons: Save Your Town

I am following a website/blog post of two ladies Deb Brown and Becky McCray. Their website is  The following is a blogpost that they posted recently. If you are interested in following them, just go to their website and sign up for emails.

It used to be, in the 50’s and 60’s, downtown was the hoppin’ place to be. You did all your shopping there, took the kids out for entertainment, did your banking and went out to eat.  Then the 70’s and shopping malls came along, transportation was easier and women went to work.  Downtowns were now passe – everyone went to the mall and drove further for more.

Highways are bypassing towns, or go through the edge of town. Shopping online is giving serious competition to the smaller guys.

We’re not going to revert back to the past, ever.  Things have changed and now we have the opportunity to provide for the citizens that are living here now.  Studies reported this year during Small Business Saturday more people were shopping in small, local stores. There’s a move to supporting the stores that have unique, different, hard to find items providing serious love to the customers.  More people are also working remotely.  I just heard that 30% of the people who work for businesses in Washington D.C. live somewhere else in the United States.  Those numbers are growing.

There are many reasons to live in a small, rural town.

Cost of living is lower.

Housing is affordable.

Generally, the town is safer.

Lower classroom sizes in the schools.

You really can be a big fish in a small pond.

Did I throw you with that last one?  I simply mean that your voice matters, your opinion counts, and you are given a better chance to share it. There are advantages to that! You actually can have a say in what is happening in your community.  Run for city council, school board, chamber board … you are needed in those places. You can also take your idea and run with it – gather a crowd of like-minded individuals and see what kind of things you can create.

As we approach the New Year, think about ways you can become involved in your town.  It can be a small step, in fact that’s a great way to start.  Small steps are a great way to try out things.  Have an idea about starting a business?  Try a pop up first, or a business inside a business.  See if it will work before you invest a lot of money and time.  Talk to people, gather a crowd and start making connections.  Who’s got some good ideas?  See if you can get together and make some magic happen!

Small Business Revolution

by Jimi Coplen

Recently, our regional organization, Texas Midwest Community Network, put me on to an amazing opportunity for Haskell. It was a grant for $500,000 to be used to revitalize our downtown and the small businesses in the community. It was part of a program called the “Small Business Revolution”. It was the brain child of Deluxe, originally a check printing company, but now a full suite of small business services and marketing tools. sbr-logo

In 2016, Deluxe introduced the “Small Business Revolution on Main Street,” which will award a $500,000 makeover to one small town. Two finalists will vie for the chance to win half a million dollars worth of services and support. The winning town’s transformation will be featured in an online show debuting Fall 2016 at

The competition was stiff with 14,000 applicants applying. Unfortunately, Haskell was not in the top 8 communities who will be featured in the video series; however, Haskell did get a second nod and a request for “additional information”.  That was an honor and it allowed us to showcase more of the rich history of Haskell.

The final eight communities chosen were Marietta, OH, Wooldand Park, CO, Georgetown, SC, Frostburg, MD, Red Wing, MN, Kingsburg CA, North Adams, MA and  Bristol Borough, PA. These communities will be featured in an 8-episode online series, and in February 2017 the public will get to choose which town receives the grant.

Last year’s winner was Wabash, Indiana. Here is what the producers had to say:

“We spent the summer in the town of Wabash, Indiana, winner of the 2016 Small Business Revolution Main Street campaign. 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. 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.”

As you can see, it would have been a huge honor to be chosen. We will try again next year.  For more information on this program and to watch last year’s series, check out As always, you can reach the DCOH at 940-864-3424.