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Fredonia’s ‘remarkable’ story

OBSERVER Photo Amanda Brinkman promises that “Small Business Revolution” will be back to celebrate the village.

July 16 was the day. We had our flights booked, our hotel rooms set, the rental cars at the ready. Our entire Deluxe “Small Business Revolution” team was prepared to make the long-awaited return trip to Fredonia to finish the final week of filming our Season 5 series.

Like everything else in 2020, our plans had to change. The COVID-19 pandemic once again blocked our travel plans, leaving our team and the amazing seven business owners in Fredonia with another series of online interviews.

My goodness, how the world has changed since our last visit to Fredonia the first week of March. We usually would have been back in town two, even three times and in normal circumstances, our Deluxe team would have finished all the work and filming by the end of May. Now here we are, the end of July finalizing plans to capture some amazing content both from a distance and close up.

In our previous seasons of “Small Business Revolution,” our team spends anywhere from 20-30 days over the course of filming in town, getting to know all the businesses and community. The circumstances of this global pandemic have not worked in this season’s favor and as a company and team, we’re saddened we didn’t get to spend time in person getting to know your town better. But, we are still so excited to share the story of your community and businesses, even if it looks a little different this year.

This week, we will be filming final episodes in Minnesota, with our marketing professionals from Deluxe, our industry experts and my co-host Ty Pennington. We will be meeting via internet video with the business owners and one of our small film crews, based in New York City, will be in Fredonia to capture the business owner’s side of the conversations and the physical transformations nearing completion.

What will be remarkable about this season is that the story of Fredonia’s small business community will be the first series showcasing the struggle to make it through this pandemic, with shut downs and shelter-in-place orders, with the sprint to online ordering to the camaraderie of business leaders and community members coming together. While it will certainly not look like any of our previous seasons, it will indeed be perhaps the most influential in helping other small business owners.

Your stories and how this time has affected you will be a guide to small businesses and small towns everywhere on how to survive and persevere through the toughest of times. The spotlight will shine bright on your community and we plan to be back in Fredonia as soon as we can to celebrate not only your spirit and drive, but the incredible fortitude all businesses in your community have shown this year.

From our first visit to Fredonia, you touched our hearts. Overall, as a company, we want you to know we stand with you and are rooting for your town even though we can’t be there. In a perfect world, we would have filmed the finale already and been hard at work editing episodes waiting for the premiere in the fall. Our timeline may have changed, but the mission behind this work — the very reason we do the “Small Business Revolution” has not. We started this series to create a movement around inspiring people to support small businesses. This season featuring Fredonia will certainly be inspiring to all.

Small businesses across the country have taken on the burden of this pandemic, doing all they can to survive in the face of incredible obstacles. Fredonia and the Fredonia business community will be the guiding light for all other small businesses around the country, sharing your stories, your insight and your guidance. We are humbled to be part of your journey and we look forward to sharing what I know will be a remarkable Season Five of “Small Business Revolution.” And we promise that when it is safe to do so, our team will be there in Fredonia to celebrate your amazing accomplishments.

Amanda Brinkman is chief brand officer for the Deluxe Corp. and co-host of the “Small Business Revolution.”

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