Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 11, 2013

Smalltown tactics for small business

ASHLAND — People who own and operate small businesses in small towns may want to hear what Marc Willson has to say about remaining relevant to consumers in an era when online orders are replacing storefronts.

“I tell shop owners they have become the brand. I can get anything I want online, so I go someplace because I like the store or the owner or the employees,” Willson said Monday. “The goal should be to have the customer leave saying it was the best experience they could have and they can’t wait to tell their friends about it.”

Willson will offer his insights and guide small-business owners and managers toward affordable resources and strategies during a series of workshops across the state, including stops in Morehead and Grayson. Reflecting the different needs of different areas, the Kentucky Small Business Development Center’s Small Town Merchant Program will bring customized retail and restaurant business audit services to shop owners in several smaller cities. The special business audits will assess everything from curb-size appeal, merchandising and pricing structure to long-term planning.

Willson said he will speak about the impact of the 2008 recession “and consumer habits as we crawl out of it.” Willson’s presentation will also guide businesses toward low-cost strategies, including the use of social media. Ultimately, Willson said his advice boils down to “Get found and be open.”

The program will be conducted in two-hour sessions featuring Willson and his “staying relevant to a changed customer” presentation. Following each session, several participants will be chosen to receive a special, “at-their-business audit” by Willson.

The Morehead session will be Monday, followed by the Grayson session at the Super 8 Motel meeting room on Wednesday and another session in Paintsville on Friday. For more information about the program and to preregister for the Grayson event, call the Ashland SBDC office at (606) 329-8011. Registration is open until Friday.

Kim Jenkins, Ashland SBDC management consultant, said the program will offer insights for individual areas as well as universal strategies.

“Independently owned retail shops and restaurants are the heartbeat of main streets across Kentucky. Successful small-town business owners build vibrant downtown destinations, but they face unique challenges ranging from merchandising and staffing to advertising, inventory control and big-box competition,” Jenkins said.

“I worked closely with Pat Collier of the Grayson Area Chamber of Commerce to plan and coordinate the Jan. 16 Small Town Merchant Program. Although the event will take place in Grayson, we believe every small- town business owner can benefit from the seminar, regardless of their location.”

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

Text Only
Local News
  • Raising the roof

    Leaks will soon be a thing of the past at Star Elementary School, where workers are busy putting up a new roof.

    April 18, 2014

  • Fire at Russell care facility

    A care facility for the elderly in Russell was temporarily evacuated following a fire in the kitchen Wednesday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • Incumbent, newcomer vie for PVA position

    A longtime office-holder is facing a rare primary challenge in the Greenup County property valuation administrator race.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs: 4/18/14

    Inspections and roadway patching on Ky. 773’s twin bridges in Carter County will require daytime closures Wednesday and Thursday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Corps issues safety advice to boaters

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District, reminds boaters the areas immediately upstream and downstream of navigation dams on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers have been designated as restricted areas. 

    April 17, 2014

  • Police beat: 4/18/14

    The following information was taken from Ashland Police Department reports:

    April 17, 2014

  • Lana Bellamy: Waking up America's youth: 4/18/14

    I once read a quote by a man saying the reason today’s youth do not have the same “spunk” as youth in the past is because they do not have inspiration.

    April 17, 2014

  • 0418eggs1web.jpg Learning about life one egg at a time

    Something is hatching — or is at least about to hatch — in classrooms in Lawrence County.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Harmonica enthusiasts will get schooled

    From overblows and bends to vibrato and position playing, harmonica players will have an intense course study April 25 and 26 during HarmoniCollege 3.

    April 17, 2014

  • jeremymccombs.jpg Jeremy McComb enjoys Tri-State's limelight

    Jeremy McComb’s career has been a wild ride, especialy in the last week.
    The lead single from his latest album was released on iTunes last week and it was a huge success right from the start.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo