Small Business Revolution: Frostburg Falls Short of $500,000
On Jan. 9, the team from the Small Business Revolution, a Hulu original series, made their first and only visit to Frostburg’s Main Street. The team consisted of Amanda Brinkman and Robert Herjavec from the ABC hit Shark Tank. The purpose of the visit was to interview the small business owners on Main Street and to find out what their hopes are for their businesses, what they struggle with, and how the money awarded could help them.
Amanda Brinkman made the visit to Frostburg, and talked to several business owners. The team was thoroughly impressed with the ambition of the young small business owners that were starting to establish themselves on Main Street. On the live Facebook videos, she consistently said praising things about the business owners, and the town of Frostburg itself.
Several efforts were made by the Main Street community named Frostburg First. The efforts were pioneered by Jessica Palumbo and Bethany Doyle. Upon getting closer to the day of the finalists being announced, an open forum was held at the Lane University Center in the Atkinson room. Both Palmubo and Doyle went over what the plan of action was after receiving news of being selected as a finalist, which would be announced on February 9. The course of action seemed promising with several other efforts being made by students and administrators attempting to help in any way possible. President Nowacyk was very engaged to do everything possible to help Frostburg win their own Main Street revolution.
On February 9, approximately 30 people filled into the Princess Restaurant on Main Street at 7 a.m. to hear the live announcement from Amanda and Robert through a Facebook live video. Frostburg First set up a projector for everyone in the room to be able to watch the announcement together. The Small Business Revolution team got straight to it and immediately went down the list to announce the finalists. Frostburg unfortunately did not make the list along with two other towns. The finalists that were named are Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania; Georgetown, South Carolina; Kingsburg, California; North Adams, Massachusetts; and Red Wing, Minnesota.
After the disheartening news, it was announced that the footage that was filmed during the January 9 visit would still have the possibility of being aired. During each episode of the upcoming season the Small Business Revolution wants to share bits of each town that was filmed to show their journey on how they came to the winning town.
The Frostburg First Community is not giving up on its efforts to improve the Main Street area of Frostburg. Simply because the town was not awarded the money prize does not mean the group is going to stop. At the announcement party on February 9 Palumbo said, “This is just the start of our revolution.”
After an email correspondence with Jessica Palumbo, in her opinion, Frostburg was not chosen as a finalist due to how savvy the business owners already are. “Businesses are collaborating with each other and using social media. I honestly think we are doing a lot already.” The Small Business Revolution looks to select finalists based on the need of the town.
The only thing Palumbo said that may have made Frostburg a finalist was the businesses reaching out to major media markets, but that idea also posed a problem with being so far from any major media markets. It was discussed that it also may have helped if students were in town the day of the visit back in January. The process could have been eased if students were involved throughout the entire thing. The advance of the hashtag for this specific promotion, and simply getting the word out would have been easier with the students.
Just because Frostburg First did not win the Main Street Revolution does not mean they are stopping there. “We are going to continue to enact our strategic plan, we will continue to engage students with the Frostburg 101 event in the fall, but I think most importantly, we have really created such a great and effective partnership with the university through this process,” said Palumbo.
The next event Frostburg First is planning will be in action on Saturday, April 29 for the Arts Walk. This event will take place from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Follow Frostburg First on Facebook for all the latest events happening on Main Street, and if interested in volunteering for any events contact the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org.