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Ready for TV

Fredonians asked to get excited about show

OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford Part of Fredonia’s Main Street business district is seen Monday evening. Fredonia is one of 10 finalists for a spot on “Small Business Revolution.”

Fredonia, get ready for your close-up.

That was the message from the Fredonia Chamber of Commerce’s Ann Eckman, who attended the village board’s meeting Monday to whip up support for the upcoming visit from the “Small Business Revolution” team.

As reported by the OBSERVER, Fredonia was named one of 10 communities to be considered for the latest season of the Web-based program. “Small Business Revolution” will award businesses in the winning town $500,000 for revitalization and renovation and then create a season of the series based on the community’s efforts.

“Next Wednesday and Thursday (Dec. 11-12), two people from the show will be coming to visit the village,” Eckman said. They will want to see “what makes Fredonia Fredonia,” she said.

The duo, which will travel here after a visit to a competing village in Ohio, wants to visit at least 20 businesses in Fredonia, Eckman said. She said there are plans to take them to sites such as Russell Joy Park and SUNY Fredonia, as well.

On Wednesday, Dec. 11, they will be welcomed to the village at the Fredonia Opera House at 2 p.m. before starting their business tour later in the afternoon. “We want hundreds of people … to be at the Opera House at 2 p.m.,” Eckman said.

She made it clear that if Fredonia wants to win a spot on the show, its residents will have to show enthusiasm and excitement.

“They are watching us,” she said of “Small Business Revolution” showrunners. “They want to know that we want this. They want to know we are excited about it.

“They’re not going to hand half a million dollars to an apathetic community,” Eckman added. “They want an excited community.” She asked residents to make sure they regularly mention “Small Business Revolution” and its interest in Fredonia on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Fredonia Trustee and Mayor-elect Douglas Essek said if the village wins, the money would go directly to its businesses.

“The village does not administer or get anything at all, just to make it clear,” he said.

Essek asked businesses in downtown Fredonia to make sure they are open for the show representatives’ tour, which is expected to last from 4 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 11 and from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Dec 12.

After visiting all 10 communities, the “Small Business Revolution” team will announce their top five on Jan. 14. The public will then vote on the winner. Voting closes Jan. 21 and the winner will get announced Jan. 28.

Trustee Roger Britz asked Eckman if the village streets department could do anything to beautify the village for the Dec. 11-12 visit. Eckman suggested they sweep leaves from Main Street’s sidewalks, but noted that the visitors do not expect perfection — and are not necessarily coming here to seek it out.

“They’re going to see the empty storefronts. They’re going to see the peeling paints,” she said.

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