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Small Business Revolution selects Excelsior Springs as Main Street Series finalist

Lyndsey Baxter

November 24, 2017 – Out of tens of thousands of communities throughout North America, Excelsior Springs has made the top 20 for a contest whose winnings could mean a $500,000 injection into local businesses.

Small Business Revolution is a contest created by Deluxe, a company that specializes in small business solutions. In celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary, Deluxe showcased 100 small businesses in a documentary, which was the beginning of the Small Business Revolution — Main Street. The contest culminates in the award, as well as a film production that follows the chosen businesses within the winning community as they utilize the cash boost. This will be the third season of the series.

Lyndsey Baxter, executive director of the Downtown Excelsior Partnership (DEP), is excited about the opportunity. She knows Excelsior Springs is going places. In fact, she’s made a career out of it.

Baxter found out about the contest by chance. It was one of a bunch of emails sitting in her inbox, and normally she says she would have just deleted it and moved on.

“But I must have had a few extra minutes that morning and I read it instead,” Baxter said. The email was soliciting nominations for the upcoming contest.

“It was general information that was needed, the who, where, and why,” Baxter explained.

Believing that the nomination for a town would be more credible coming from someone who wasn’t professionally involved in the town’s development, Baxter reached out to a very reliable source to make the nomination: her mother, Carol Baxter.

The nomination was submitted and quickly forgotten by the busy director. But just a few weeks later, Baxter’s mother called her. She needed help answering more questions about Excelsior Springs because the Small Business Revolution was interested in learning more. And then, a few weeks after that, a representative of the contest called Baxter, wanting even more information. The two spoke for an hour, and it was then that Baxter started to get excited. Still, she wanted to keep everything a secret until she had something concrete.

On Monday, Nov. 13, the top 20 towns were announced, and Excelsior Springs made the cut. At that point, Baxter went public with the exciting news.

According to Baxter, this contest is more than just a quick facade makeover. In addition to cosmetic help, the Small Business Revolution winning town’s small businesses will benefit from a myriad of resources, including education.

The fact that Excelsior Springs has made it into the top 20 is indicative of its growth and successes.

“The program doesn’t come in to fix broken communities,” Baxter explained. “The communities selected are already moving in the right direction.”

Now, Baxter has enlisted the help of local businesses, who have their own detailed questionnaires to submit leading up to the next big cut, from the top 20 to the top 10, which will be announced on Dec. 12. If Excelsior Springs makes it, representatives of the contest will plan a town visit in January. At that point, the entire community’s help will be needed to promote the town.

“If we make it to the top five, it comes down to a national vote,” Baxter explained. And support from local citizens will be key to Excelsior Spring’s chances.

For more on the contest, and to see previous seasons of the show, visit smallbusinessrevolution.org.

By Samantha Kilgore • samantha@leaderpress.com

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