Although Arlington won’t be advancing past the top 10 in the Small Business Revolution, local business owners hope to continue momentum and collaborate on projects for the community.
Out of thousands of candidates from across the county Arlington was one of 20 communities chosen to potentially be on the reality show Small Business Revolution: Main Street.
Each season the show looks at a few businesses from a small community around the U.S. to guide and help them.
The final six candidates were announced on Feb. 12 and, although Arlington had advanced in previous rounds, it failed to make the cut this time.
The decision was broadcast at 5:30 a.m. during a snow day, so Lisa Cisneros, president of the Downtown Arlington Business Association and owner of Arlington’s Olympic Escrow, said that many of the local business owners woke up early to watch the decision at their homes.
“I was a little bit disappointed, but I think it’s been a great experience so it didn’t matter what the outcome was,” said Cisneros. “We had a great accomplishment just getting into the top 10."
Other business owners agreed that they hoped to get farther in the competition, but were very happy with the experience.
“Well, it’s disappointing but I feel like we won anyway because we had made it to the top 10,” said Tina Richardson, owner of Reclaimed Heart.
“It’s sad, we’re bummed as a community. But at the same time it’s cool how many of us have connected more than we were before,” said Suzi Quillen, owner of Perfectly Knotty.
Many of the local business owners were happy with the amount of collaboration the project has inspired.
“It sparked and ignited all these businesses to do different things. They’re learning and becoming more aware of their neighbors,” said Cisneros. “I hope we continue with the momentum."
Quillen said that the local businesses are organizing to provide more to the community.
“At the last DABA meeting there was a lot we talked about, about how we want to up our game,” she said.
“I hope not just the business-owner community, but also the community of residents are taking something from it,” she said.
It was also good just to get to better know your business neighbors, said Richardson.
“I really think that it boosted morale and brought us together,” she said. “It got us more on a friend level where we can work together.”
The competition was also good simply for the attention it brought as well.
“It’s getting people more aware of downtown, and people may have not realized how much the small businesses need them,” said Cisneros.
The downtown is often an area that people drive through instead of trying to check out, said Quillen.
“One of the things that’s tough when you live in a small community is you drive past the small businesses on the way to the box stores and forget that they’re there,” she said.
“I have people that will ask me ‘how long have you been here?’ and I say ‘more than three years,’” she said.
Deluxe, the marketing company that runs Small Business Revolution, has also already helped local businesses through a variety of tools.
“I had the Deluxe Corp. help develop a logo for me,” said Richardson.
“Now they’re helping me trademark the logo, which I was completely intimidated by,” she said.
Camas, Washington, is one of the final six candidates and local business owners hope that Arlington residents will support Camas.
“We’re asking people to support our fellow Washington town,” said Quillen.
More information about Small Business Revolution or voting for Camas can be found at www.deluxe.com/small-business-revolution.