Historic River Charm: 'Welcome to Alton' | Small Business Revolution - Main Street: S3E1
So. We just arrived, in st. Louis Missouri and we're about to drive to all the Illinois, about a half an hour way across the river and they don't know we're coming and I cannot, wait it's going surprising. Reporting. Alton you're listening to ninety 43 the Big Z and today we find out if we're the winner of the small business revolution Main, Street season three folks. Are already gathering down at the old bakery beer company for the official, announcement and, as you probably already, know unless you've been under a rock the last month there's, a five hundred thousand, dollar revitalization, on the line of. An out there going for the last week I know I have and today we finally get to find out if it was enough to push us over the top good luck Alton. Good, afternoon. Let's. Go. Hi. I'm Amanda briefing, from deluxe for the small business revolution it. Is hard to believe we are here again after another, incredible, year of small town nominations, town, visits and. Now without making, you wait any longer I am pleased to announce the winner of the small business, revolution reign Street season, 3 is. Small. Towns across the country are fighting for their survival with, the odds stacked against, them but what happens if we join that fight if we dedicate, a little money a lot of experience, and thousands, of hours of work into one small town focusing. On the businesses, that are the heart of their Main Street what started as an idea became, a national, movement with over 30,000. Towns nominated. For the $500,000. Makeover, and more than a million votes cast from. Now. In our third season the team is taking on its biggest challenge ever, the town is three times bigger than any we've helped before and the hurdles home faces, will put to the test the very idea of Main Street America, so Amanda brakeman, and her team of marketing experts, at deluxe are going door for the people Alton Illinois and, they're, not alone new, season, three co-hosts Ty Pennington will, be working with the team to rehabilitate. The town's buildings, while the whole cast of experts helps rehabilitate its, businesses, every, episode, we'll be working with a new small business to see if we can change the odds if together, we, can start a revolution. It's, the morning show here on the big ZW, b gz, all's and they'll help your bundle up this morning it's a cold one but, if you are downtown today throw on the heavy coating get outside anyway because you might just run into abandon Brinkmann answer season three co-hosts Ty Pennington well. We are certainly making an, entrance in this beautifully, large white, boats. New. Season new co-hosts. And this couldn't be a better fit any, show this out there trying to change lives was a big debt to tie for helping pave the way in his, background and construction, will be a perfect, complement, to Deluxe's financial, and marketing expertise. I've. Been a part, of project we built a house in less, than seven days but, this is a huge challenge, we're taking on literally an entire community, okay. So we're, looking at the town of all right now yep and it's looting across the river st., Louis eighteen miles on. A clear day you can see guards right we've. Put a lot of people at say their third or fourth generation all, Toni ins impose. Their. Fourth you. Know that the term all Toni ins. It, means the world the fact that you're not only recognizing. The six businesses. But, you're recognizing, our city, I think, we're a really like. A best-kept, secret, and when.
Tourism Does come here if they love it and they continue to come back it's. Very diverse there's, nothing like a little bit magical about it and we love all the, river, it's beautiful, you stopped the blast once in a great while just look out I almost run into somebody but look. Out and Wow, you know not, a lot of people have that, it's it's, just cool place opens. On the up-and-up there's something about this town that I just can't leave yet there's just something here that's gonna happen and won't, be cold a couple of months later you, know small business revolution comes, and you know changes the game for us. So, your, first generation, was, the town thriving, back when your grandfather and grandfather this was so now it's not quite thriving, it's not saying, what, do you think the cause of most of that was like. The steel industry folded boxboard they, went they went overseas. There's. Been many boom times at all if you go all the way back when. This was a huge lumber area then, we came into the Industrial, Revolution when. Manufacturing, went, down or left the country, we, were particularly hard hit we were about 46,000. People and, today we're approximately, 28,000. So, Alton struggled for many many many years to make that transition from, industrial. Manufacturing. Base to something. Else and, we're starting to see that particularly in the last four or five years when we found our way again the. End goal of this first trip to Alton is to choose the six small businesses, that will be working closely with over the next few months but. To make an informed decision we, really need to have a solid understanding of, the town so. We're meeting civic, leaders Jason, Sarah and Brent on the docks for our first official tour of all. So. Show sit down this is State Street right here and that's third okay, we, really should be packed, on the sidewalks, like it was back in the day because we have such a great you know antique, district. We have awesome restaurants. We, have the, River Road we, have beautiful scenery and we have history. On. Top of history it's, haunted. Community, so, they say. Miles, Davis was definitely born here and we own that. Barefoot. Historic. Oh this is great Lincoln laws this is actually Lincoln, and Douglas had their famous debates here this right, here. Abraham. Lincoln and Stephen Douglas were running for state Senate and they both arrived by steamboat here to argue. The, slavery, issue, Civil. War history is is huge here in Alton and people don't expect that you know the first anti-slavery, society. Was formed here in Alton. We. Are actually right on the line of Free State versus slave state Missouri, and, straight, West and, they. Had slave, pins. Over there, auctions. So, the battle lines were here, as well this, place really boiled up with a lot of tension during the time of the Civil War, what. A great, building and, behind, it is an underground railroad and stop they. Were organized. Routes in, the city proper, here, there.
Were Five to. Escape, they. Had to come across, the river but, you have to be daring, enough to do that just to see a light shine from that topcoat bluff that was a signal to come over here and they have a place actually that goes out under those streets where they could stay safe. Still. Down there intact really. History. Defines this region and will be a big part of how we sell this town to the world but, we also need, to get feel for what Alton is like today so. Give us a sense for the layout of the downtown erics I feel like there's a couple of downtown's. Throat, all right Alton's really made up of a number of different towns that began, separately. In the early 1800s and then all joined together so, alton became upper, alton and there was a north Alton Alton. Was, a city that didn't, grow through urban planning, it, grew through annexation. So Alton is a combination, of six different communities, that, over two hundred years we've all kind of grown together under, one flag of all so. When you say oppor Alton upper. Alton used to be its own city so, they have their own business district. This. Is the entertainment, district, so to speak this is about, 15, bars and restaurants within walking distance of each other or do you turn into a lot of entertainment don't. Have. That many it's, really, been over the last few years that so, much has started to pop up and new, businesses, are coming, to town and relocating. Down to downtown because they start to feel this is where the energy is this is where the action is all right so now we're on Broadway this is Lawrence comes the historic, downtown and, Broadway. Is a little bit more like the services and arts district. Yes right what are some of the concerns in this area of town I would, say one of our big things that we want to keep front of mind is that it's really awesome to get new businesses, coming in that's important for growth we want to make sure to retain the businesses, that are already here, is this, the problem that you see this everywhere is we're like empty spaces for rent yes, definitely. The vacancy rate that is one of our main goals Alton's. Population, back during the industrial revolution heydays, was twice, what it is now you know so many of our businesses, are maybe one or two bad weekend's away from shutting her doors and, we've, got to figure out a way to keep, that business retention to grow it stronger, and keep these businesses, here. This. Used to be more of a square right right this this area has like more than just this block it went around the whole block we had the old cameo theaters here like the one in theater then now this is kind of the most preserved spot on the entire block I. Would. Say Upper Alton is definitely, another one of those districts that is on its way and the, business owners up there willing to invest a turn it around we moved up here it was just the barbershop in this loan place next door now, you see all the, buildings are up here are feet. Everybody. We've talked to you says this is the place to, get fish, and snute, which is something I've never had if you like what Grimes you like to snoop okay. We're. So proud to have Lovitz but this what I was saying now is one more of the more flourishing, that business, that people know about as. It grow as a grown over the yes I mean as. Far as this, individual. Place. But, not not about, the entire community no not by businesses gotcha do you feel like this Harry gets us as much attention as, other, parts of town or not not. At all because we're we're not in the entertainment history we're not on the main Broadway. Strip. There you know we're we're in the lower-income, part, these were dominating.
Black Areas, so, I think that's something we want to make sure we're addressing throughout, this entire process, and you guys know the town better than us but we want to make sure we have all the voices at the table because you want everything, we do here to be representative, of the entire community. Alton. Isn't just downtown it's. A relatively, big place I don't. Think we take full, advantage, of the, community, as a whole and I, don't think we take full advantage, of the, diversity that we have here, in this community we, tend to self-segregate that's, a natural phenomenon, in the world and, I. Think the thing I like that Alton, is, in. The divided, age who, could show the, nation, there. Are towns where, it works. With. Alton, winning, this. Gives us, an opportunity to, say hey we're, part of Alton too in. Our first two seasons we established that all the businesses we featured must fall within a 1 and a half mile radius from the center of town but, that's not going to cut it in all would. Be leading too many people out Main. Street is more than a place it's. An idea, and if. We're going to stay true to that idea we're, going to have to grow the pie I believe. It has to be showcase more, businesses, here and as we go from area. To area I believe that it's gonna really just open some people's eyes and say wow I can actually go there you know. The. Only downside, of growing the pie was that over 200, small business applications, suddenly, poured in from every, corner of all it, was incredibly, difficult but we managed to narrow that down to 12 finals and we've, asked each of those business owners to come in and pitch us on why they should be featured in season three. Well. First of all I just want to congratulate you for you guys to make it through to the final 12 is a really big deal and so I want you just to take a moment and just feel that sense, of pride so if you are not selective, it doesn't have any reflection, on your potential as a business, owner or potential, as a business, maybe it'll be that you're already doing too, great of a job with your marketing or your branding. All. Right so just be, honest with us we'll be honest with you and good, luck okay. The. Way it shook out we ended up with finalists, from all over all we got the most emissions, from Broadway it's a long street and Alton's largest, business district so, half of our finalists, hail from me salon, why Asha la salon have been open since 2015. One, of the things that I want to do this year is help, women that's going back to work do their hair and makeup to, get them prepare for a job interview I'm, unique, because I give, back, Aleksandra, Mateo luma, taya Luciana, is pastries, or european-style, bakery, it's, kind, of comfort food with panache is the way I like to describe it been married 20 years and she's. Been saying. We need to do our own thing, do our own thing and it was time to step, out in faith and do her own thing. Chad, Nelson, Felicia, Breen and we've had Mississippi, mud pottery since 2006. Being, in business for 12 years surprises. Even us we went to art school we did not get the business background we got married and bought the business in the same month and we've. Made it this far but we've never had stability, J. Stanley, Alexander. Saints in of lighthouse sound I wanted, to start a business and, then when my dad passed away I wanted to do something for my future, we're. In this together I don't care who gets the recognition I just want the, studio to be successful, Abby antis Wishon wear a dress rentals, people, are growing bigger at a younger age and, I don't want those girls to feel stigmatized because, there's nothing available for them so, this was me on my prom and it sits in my shop it's just a reminder of, the. Way that I felt, when I got to wear that dress you know I want every girl to be able to feel that way and I. Was making me emotional but I just. Want everybody, to feel beautiful for, a day with, the MacMurray's and weave own Bluff City outdoors since 2003.
So It's a fishing store and. She. Does a customer they're charming. Smiles but caught my attention. We've. Got three businesses, representing, 3rd street home to many of the town's bars and restaurants, Mary, Van Kirk Katie, Ben Kirk Lisa, Morrison, from, Morrison's. Irish pub we. Sat down and we thought what is it we wouldn't, wanna do and it was work as a family and our, love was, this part of our culture and went Ireland and we thought God if we could just bring a little piece of that back to the states with us wouldn't that be cool, and, that being in our adventure. Janet. Kiefer Vicky Delaney of River, Bend yoga is the dream that this would be a full-time opportunity. For you for you both to work it, is a dream it has a dream I had. Always thought that maybe when I retired, this would we could have this built up but you know I will do it whether I own a studio or not because, it's it's that big of a part of my life and I'm sure Janet, feels the same way dr. Davies beamless and I'm Christine Bemis all chiropractic. Neurology, open, since 1998. I'm for, generation chiropractor, I've been in, chiropractic, for, 30 years and I've owned my own business for 20 years he's a chiropractor you, ban you been okay good so, you may be our guinea pig. Upper. Alton has seen some hard times but the community is on the rise and we found two great finalists, there Alicia, Jeffries Shyam futures grooming opened in 2015. I like, to build trust with all of my clients but I don't I don't mean you, I mean, your dog I want all of my dogs to trust me because I'm, doing personal, stuff with them I'm shaving, places. That you don't usually touch. On dogs and if they don't trust you it's not gonna work very well, branch. Divorce marry love it love it snoop fish chicken and more established. 2014. A lot, of the items that are considered soulful that's the food that the slave said and the thing is you know people, that make soul food it make it with love you, know if you don't have any love and your food is not so hopeful is this food and last. But not least central, it's, mostly a residential, area but there are a handful, of fantastic. Small businesses, tucked into the neighborhood and one, of them in particular, cata right Benjamin. Golly today's, Beauty Supply open since 2000. It, is a black hair care product, business big box stores, a lot of times they don't carry a large selection of african-american, products and I service a community, that has a higher level of property and one. Thing I know about that, is that even, if you're in poverty you don't want to feel like it you don't want to look like it, all. 12 of these businesses, have stories, worth telling but we have to cut the field by half one, of the biggest factors will weigh is how.
Badly Does this business need our help so, we need to get a better understanding, of the challenges each of them faces every. Year was going up and up and up. Till 2009, we went from our best year ever to our worst year ever back to back in the last two. Years I had another business that opened up that's a direct competition pricing. Is really a scary thing for us because this is our only job or only income we don't want to price ourselves, out we'd, like to pay her from. What she used to make to what she makes now I mean she doesn't even make a quarter, I mean, one year she made $9,000. I talked, to someone yesterday and he said huh my husband said no don't go to a chiropractor and. That's kind of what we, face, my. Bookkeeping, is horrible, my, budgeting, I try to do a budget every week and it, goes out the window cuz I had to buy more products, so you're answering the phone taking the takeout cooking, the food you're serving people will come in yes, you're, like you're literally doing every. Aspect of my business. Yes you forgot delivery, - what yeah, you know in our weekends, we couldn't ask for more business I couldn't handle more business through, the week it's slow. Big. Days especially our. Thing is yoga and, Technology, is not not really a way up there I know how to use Facebook, and that's about it so how much of the unique aspect, of your business is you guys, I'd. Say a large, portion I mean we're, the youngest, studio owners that I know of in, anywhere. So. Guys at, the end of this we're going to choose six, businesses, that you, know we're really going to invest the time and the money into so the simple question is why you, you. Know when I get tired I just think about my. Grandfather's, dream he. Told us how he picked cotton as a kid for 18 hours a day what does 14, to me you know I could, push through this you know being. A small business owner with a second job for income is challenging. But something, inside me won't. Let me give up that dream even, when it gets hard I'd like to see you to get a little bit bigger from. A family perspective for. When, we turn it over to our kids we, are a community place it means a lot to more than just us um but the other thing I could tell you is that. Too. Much prior to you guys actually. Showing up and all you, had a meeting just as three and we. Were basically, deciding, that we were gonna shut doors and we couldn't make it another summer. So. Then, you guys came in and we went you know what okay, this might be fill for the fire we might be able to figure something out we. Just don't know that we can rescue the way we have in the past. I'm. In a part. Of the community that don't. Get a whole lot of positive, attention but. There. Are some great people that's. In that part of the city and.
Maybe. With some positive light, other, people in this city can see that and not be afraid of it my. Little girls they, have seen me like, this maybe. See me think. About quitting and. They've. To beat me to work harder, push through and, I have. And. I feel like that being recognized. Is. More than any upgrade, but, I could ask you guys to do I. Hate. To ask us but is it a plan B No. So. This has to work this has to work yeah. So. What the deluxe team is busy with a hard job of picking the six finalists, I get, to go to local radio station, and chat with everybody to let them know that we're in town and this is gonna be awesome Carrie visiting this have to do with Ty Pennington and, talking about the small business revolution Main, Street and learning. About this whole process ty and getting you involved with the show what attracted, you to work with the small business revolution, nobody, wants Main Street to ever be for God and then I think what's great about this show is it shines light on how important it is is to get off the main highways and, get back on the small streets and the small towns and realize just how cool America, not only was but can be again and. In that spirit we hope to see all of you tomorrow night for the unofficial small business revolution kickoff where we find out which businesses, will be chosen to represent the town in season three. I don't. Know how. We're gonna only pick six out of these twelve these are amazing businesses. You know we'd love to help all 12 but there were clearly some that could draw tourists, to the community that give back to the locals so. I think that might be a deciding, factor I. Absolutely. Love. Benjamin and today's beauties to buy it he just had that competitor, move in and so I think we can help strengthen his business to, talk about Bluff City outdoors, we could help him sort, of rebrand, this area as, a place to trophy, fish and he talked about it's like you don't have to go to the coast right all. Right, Shampoo, cheese. Or. We could really, help her take. It to the next level pricing, for me was was a problem, her business will grow. Just by getting the pricing right okay. Mississippi, mud pottery they, have an inventory issue I think they could sell a lot more if they have the space they, could do a lot more if they had somebody else other than just the two of them they hand creating, each of these I focus in I don't think that we can solve that for them from production, aspect that's sort of something they need to address themselves I feel so. Since we're kind of in a retail vibe we talked about wishing where I. Just don't know how, much more, we can help her maybe it's just helping out with her social media strategy, we. Need to find a good mix of businesses service. Retail, restaurants. A town. Needs it all in order to thrive we're, also looking at how badly the, businesses, need help, can, we really move the needle there's. No right answer here they're, all deserving, morrison's, Irish pub I just saw their story how close they are to closing, their doors to. Challenges, they're firstly, the size their establishment, but also the, absent flows just, during a week you. Know so Thursday Friday Saturday and Sunday is very busy but Monday through Wednesday it's quite a bit quiet late, house sounds, I just, think it'd be really great to have one of the businesses represented, that younger millennial. Generation that. Is really, interested, in starting their own business, Luciano's. Pastries, from what we've heard it's that good and people are coming from that far away she could do as usually more commercial, and ship, things out further maybe. That's part of the advice we give yeah they, were too in here for me that we're, kind of in a really good spot Jalen salon and, Elton. Chiropractic. Yeah, I agree, she, is magnetic, like I want her to want to be my friends so River Bend to.
See The younger generation, and older generation, working together to grow a business for. The health the community I thought that was terrific I worried, that there's. Not gonna be ever enough clientele, to make a full time as I love it's it's, almost daunting, you know in terms of not only the marketing but the physical changes, that would need to happen but everyone. On the street said you got to go to love it and and a lot of people talked about how important. This. Restaurant, is to uphold and I, just, be so hard to pick let's, do all 12 let's just yeah let's make a fortune. It's raining, it's, cool and there, are still, more than a thousand, people out here from every corner of all they've. All come to root for their neighbors, we. Do this because we love small businesses, but. It sure is gratifying, to know that everyone must us. Oh. So. Without any further ado can. I get a big round raucous. Applause. Don't, you guys like to do with the six businesses, ha. You, can see. Other things all. Right. The, first innocent man owns is a great, business. Morrison's, Irish pub is a beloved gathering, spot in downtown all, I'm overwhelmed, by how much of a community is inside this, little pub but their busy nights aren't enough to keep them in the black you've got to turn the corner if things continue as they are there's no way that we'd be able to make it for another summer and time is running out things don't change the, doors are gonna close and we can't let that happen can the small business revolution rescue. This pub before it's too late I just, need to know about. The. Next episode of small business revolution Main, Street.