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REVOLUTIONARY Searcy effort shows ‘community is an attitude’ BY SHA JOHNSON

Searcy saw an “explosion of support” before voting ended Tuesday in the nationwide contest to be featured on the online reality show “Small Business Revolution — Main Street” after the city lost its lead in the standings Monday.  Four updates on the voting were released by Deluxe Corp., which produces the Hulu-based series that will feature six businesses receiving a $500,000 makeover in the top-six city chosen by public vote. Searcy was ahead of the other five cities in the final through the

first three updates before being overtaken by Durant, Okla. The winner will be announced Tuesday via a live broadcast on the Small Business Revolution Facebook page. There will be a #MySearcy Watch Party that evening at Benson Auditorium on Harding University’s campus from 5:30-7 p.m. Throughout the eight days of public voting, a multitude of Searcy supporters posted on social media encouraging others to vote for Searcy. The reach, however, seemed to drastically increase after Searcy lost its lead. Arkansas of-

ficials like Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge posted their support of Searcy, along with many businesses and organizations across the state. Some out of state support also was shown by Riverbend Growth Association in Alton, Ill., which was the show’s Season 3 winner. Another out of state supporter, Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame, posted a giveaway of an autographed duck call. Reactions to Searcy dropping into second place ranged from surprised to extra motivated.

“Knowing how this community is, I was a little surprised to see us in second place,” Searcy Police Chief Steve Hernandez said. “My heart dropped into the pit of my stomach,” said Jo Ellis, executive director and founder of MakeDo, a nonprofit in Searcy. “I had a visceral response that took me awhile to shake. But it also lit a fire to keep pushing harder into my extended circle of contacts. The final update definitely gave us all a not-so-subtle kick in the pants!” Please see ATTITUDE | 2B

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2B • Friday, February 22, 2019

Small Business Revolution

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Searcy first finalist to be announced BY SHA JOHNSON

It didn’t take long for the city of Searcy to find out Feb. 12 that it had advanced to the final phase of the competition to be featured on Season 4 of the online reality series “Small Business Revolution — Main Street.” Searcy was the first finalist to be revealed as a crowd at the Rialto Theater watched the Facebook live broadcast that narrowed the contestants from 10. The winner, to be chosen by public vote, will have six businesses selected to be part of a $500,000 makeover that will be shown on the eight-episode Hulu show produced by marketing agency Deluxe Corp. Searcy was among more than 12,000 cities that applied for the fourth season, making the top 20 and then top 10 before Tuesday’s announcement. A community watch party was held at the Rialto like in December when the top 10 was revealed. Prior to the announcement, Searcy Mayor Kyle Osborne said, “I’m so excited. I just want to hear Searcy!” Mat Faulkner, one of the organizers and chief idea officer of Think Idea Studios, added, “We are as ready as we’re going to be.” Please see FINALIST | 6B

Al Fowler/Special to The Daily Citizen

A crowd gathered at the Rialto Theater on Feb. 12 waits for the Facebook live announcement that the city of Searcy had advanced to the top six of the competition to be featured on Season 4 of the online reality series “Small Business Revolution — Main Street.” Searcy was the first finalist to be revealed by co-hosts Ty Pennington and Amanda Brinkman as the producers of the Hulu-based show narrowed the contestants from 10 for the final phase. Public voting ended this week and the winner will be announced Tuesday.


Liz Howell, Harding’s vice president of Parent and Alumni Relations, felt dropping into second “was exactly what we needed!” “Searcy has touched many lives, and people voted from all over the world because this matters to us,” Howell said. Mat Faulkner, president and chief idea officer of Think Idea Studios, also thought the final update “ignited a fire that took everything to the next level. We are so touched by the outpouring of support across the state and nation for our community!” “No one was wanting to fall behind, but it is a blessing in surprise,” Faulkner said. “I don’t think we would have had near the participation if we had led the entire time. We saw an explosion of support and a rally to work hard to come back. We don’t know what the outcome will be, but we know the effort has been inspiring.” Amber Walker, director of marketing and social media management at Dalrymple Commercial, said dropping to second “doesn’t scare me at all.” “I’m actually grateful for it, because it proves that no one, not even the strong and successful, can become complacent with their goals,” Walker said. “If Searcy is going to rally

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together to do something, we have to do it right and we have to do it better than any one else. Second in final update doesn’t mean we’ve lost yet. It’s just further fuel to our Searcy fire!” For some, having to wait until next week to find out if voters did enough for Searcy to win is excruciating, while others said. it is just a part of the process. “It’s going to be a very, very long week waiting for the final results,” said Ben Braswell, owner of BCB Studios in Searcy. “But no matter what happens, just to get as far as we did is such an incredible accomplishment.  I think we can, and will, keep the momentum going even if we don’t win.” Searcy Mayor Kyle Osborne added, “The wait is excruciating ... but that’s just part of it, we are all very nervous and excited at the same time.” Ellis shared that she is a bundle of mixed emotions. “I’m trying to balance the tension between excitement and expectation,” Ellis said. “I don’t want to fall into the disappointing pit of unmet expectations; instead, I want to harness the excitement, this enthusiastic energy, to keep moving forward regardless of the outcome next week. Of course, that’s much easier said than done. Basically, I’m just a ping-pong ball of crazy emotion right now. Ha!”

• • • • •

Regardless of the outcome, many from Searcy and others have posted on social media about the synergy and camaraderie they’ve witnessed throughout the competition thus far. “This has all proven just how close Searcy is as a community,” Hernandez said. “I think as a whole, we have gotten to know our ‘neighbors’ even better. No matter what the outcome is, I hope we can continue the togetherness that we have shown these last few months.” “This is a once-in-a -lifetime shot,” Osborne said. “A lot of people have worked very hard on this project. I would like to recognize Mat Faulkner for starting the process by submitting the application that started this journey, and Amy Burton for getting ‘Main Street’ behind it. “Now we have thousands of people involved. I can’t remember ever seeing so many people get this excited over a project. Personally, I believe we will win, but if for some reason we fall a little short ... the city has already won, so many people with this much momentum ... all we have to do is continue moving forward.” Lashanda Owen, campus operations manager of Arkansas State University-Searcy, agreed that “this experience has brought Searcy closer together

and bridged some gaps.” “For me personally, this experience has helped me meet new people and become more involved in the community,” Owens said. Ellis said that “it’s undeniable” that the community has been brought together “in a tangible way!” “Everyone has spent so much time and thought into focusing about all the things that make Searcy a great place to live,” she said. “You can practically feel the positivity seeping in the air. It’s absolutely fabulous! “Personally, this experience is teaching me to be bold, to articulate my vision, to collaborate, to ask others for help and to support them in return ... it’s making me a better citizen and a better business owner for sure!” Howell said the community is “united and better by working together.” “Many men and women are working together to promote Searcy, and this is just the beginning of great things to come,” she said. “My family and I have lived in Searcy for 32 years. My role models are Wayne Hartsfield, Lott Tucker, Jimmy Carr, David Burks and Reynie Rutledge, who have shown me by their examples of what community involvement truly is. I know they are proud

of what is happening in Searcy. “‘At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve done with those accomplishments. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.’” Denzel Washington.” Historian Will Walker, owner of YesterYear in Searcy, said, “This experience has shown Searcy exactly what she is made of.” “Searcy was founded by people who pooled their money together to build the first Searcy Bank, because that’s what we needed,” Walker said. “And when the city needed street lamps, Israel Moore generously donated half the funds, and the people raised the other half of the money. And when we were bypassed by the railroad system, we didn’t take no for an answer and built our own wooden railroad into town! “From our start, we’ve been a town that meets needs without hesitation in a creative and resourceful way! I think since the late ’90s and the 2008 recession, Searcy really forgot who she was and this has reminded all of us exactly what Searcy is made of.” He said being a part of this has “shown me that: Community is not a geographical area. Community is an attitude.”

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4B • Friday, February 22, 2019

Small Business Revolution

Anticipation builds to eruption The Rialto Theater thundered Dec. 11 when Searcy was announced as one of the top 10 selections for the “Small Business Revolution -- Main Street” contest. Community members had packed the theater to hear the live announcement on Facebook by Amanda Brinkman, host of the reality show broadcast by Hulu and and chief branding officer at Deluxe Corp., which created the competition and show. Searcy had been chosen in November as one of the top 20 cities from more than 12,000 submissions in consideration to be featured on Season 4 of the show as part of a $500,000 makeover. Before the top-10 announcement, Think Idea Studios President and Chief Idea Officer Mat Faulkner,

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TOP 10

who submitted the application for the competition, said, “I’m at a 10 [on the excitement scale from 1-10], and it’s not just because we might be announced for the top 10 of the show, but it’s because you can see how many people have come together in support of one cause — to collaborate together, and that’s what’s exciting. “I submitted the application a little bit on a whim, but the more that we got involved, this is fantastic!” Faulkner said he is not aware of exactly how many Searcy businesses have been registered to be among six chosen for makeovers if the city wins the contest, but he believes the involvement is “pretty active.” Please see ERUPTION | 8B

Sha Johnson/

Amanda Brinkman, co-host of “Small Business Revolution — Main Street” and chief branding officer for Deluxe Corp., which produces the show, draws cheers and smiles at the Rialto Theater on Dec. 11 when she announces on Facebook that Searcy had made the competition’s top 10. The outcome was in doubt as Brinkman announced eight of the top 10 cities before Searcy.

TOP 20

Being part of competition ‘momentum-builder’ BY JEFF LEWIS The Daily Citizen

City officials and business leaders see being included in a contest where Searcy is vying for a $500,000 downtown makeover as a “momentum-builder.” A meeting was held a few days after Searcy was announced Nov. 13 as one of the 20 cities included in the “Small Business Revolution — Main Street” contest, where “small towns” compete to be featured on Season 4 of the eight-part, online series.  “As far as the process goes, where we’re at right now, I filled out an application maybe a month ago. I didn’t think much about it, and then all of a sudden got a phone call from a producer [for the show], and chatted with him for about half an hour,” said Mat Faulkner, with Think Idea Studios. “[I] just tried to be honest, and colorful, and all those things, then Tuesday (Nov. 13], they announced that Searcy made the top 20. I believe there are over 12,000 cities that applied, so to make it to the top 20 is a cool thing.” The series is produced by Deluxe Corp., which Cameron Potts, vice president of public relations for the company, calls “a growth engine for small businesses and financial institutions.”

According to Potts, Deluxe Corp. “started ‘Small Business Revolution’ in 2015 as part of our company’s 100th anniversary.” “Instead of shining a spotlight on ourselves, we turned the spotlight on small businesses, sharing 100 small business stories from across the country in videos and photo essays, ...” he said. “In 2016, to continue the campaign, we launched the ‘Small Business Revolution — Main Street,’ a contest where one small town and its small businesses can win a $500,000 makeover from Deluxe. Next year will be the fourth year of the contest. “We share this amazing content of small business

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owner stories on our website for people to watch and engage with these stories to learn why small businesses are so important, and to learn more about the services and products Deluxe offers. Why this is important is because we truly love small businesses and we are giving tips and tools to other small business owners through showcasing these amazing stories.” Potts said the competition is limited to small towns, which the company defines as up to 50,000 residents. “Anyone can nominate a small town during our nomination period, which this year was Oct. 4-26,” he said. “We then have an internal team that goes through the nominations to select towns that can move on to the top 20 phase. ... Once a winning city has been selected, “we select six businesses that are the major recipients of the makeover, and each business gets a complete marketing makeover and physical improvements to their business,” Potts said. “We also work with the city to determine what aesthetic improvements are needed.” Faulkner said when he got the call that Searcy was in the final 20, “at first, I kind of swallowed hard, then

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Small Business Revolution

Friday, February 22, 2019 • 5B

Coming together

Fifty years from now, our kids and grandkids will reflect on this moment in Searcy’s history and will swell up with pride. Not because Searcy competed to be on a TV show and not because there was $500,000 at stake. History will tell the story of a community who experienced what is possible when we are unified for a common purpose. Two verses have set my focus during this effort “ … love your neighbor as yourself” and “ ... it is more blessed to give than it is to receive.” This has been a selfless campaign, with thousands of individuals, businesses, organizations, and other communities pulling for a reward they will never take part in. However, there is great joy in helping others. It has been overwhelming to feel the support and love from our entire state as well as those around our nation and even across the globe. It is now our responsibility to take this tremendous gift and do something special with it. We have never experienced anything like this before and will, likely, never experience it again. The responsibility falls to every single individual on a very personal level. How will “I” make a positive impact for my family, for my community and for the Lord? Unless the glory of success is reflected back to our creator, then there is no reason to gain success. The journey has been difficult and rewarding. Those involved have met new people, formed fresh relationships and fought for each other for the purpose of a greater tomorrow. All I can say is “thank you” for the opportunity to experience this with you. Now go make someone’s life better!

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6B • Friday, February 22, 2019

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Small Business Revolution


I thought, ‘OK, let’s do this.’ So I got excited. ...” “I really spoke about the passion that a small town has, that we’re already coming together to make improvements with our community, that we have a volunteerism base throughout our community that is just off the charts, that everybody has a heart for each other, that we want to pull together and see quality of life improve, not just for ourselves, but for each other,” he said. “I think that’s one of the things that makes Searcy special. “I think this is an opportunity for the community to all pull in the same direction. Of course, we’re going to think positive, that we’re going to win this thing, so we’re going to have a lot of attention on Searcy, and on the qualities that make Searcy special. Then, we’re going to be able to see some before-and-afters, with the makeovers of small businesses. And increasing the quality of life, so people know that you can make it in a small town, and there’s a great quality of life opportunity living in a small town, that Searcy is really something special, and I hope that it doesn’t stop there. “I hope this is just a momentumbuilder, that beyond just this program, business owners and the community departments, and all the different entities will continue pushing forward to make improvements, to work together to make improvements, and then just really create

a special place.” Main Street Searcy Executive Director Amy Burton said after the meeting, “Obviously, I was proud and excited. I was impressed that Mat pulled it together and did the application. He had sent me an email not too long ago, asking me some kind of random questions, and I thought, ‘OK, he’s working on some sort of an application.’” Burton said she believes the competition is “going to be great for the community as a whole. I don’t even look at it as a downtown thing.’ “I think that with the momentum that we’re seeing downtown right now, everyone’s minds gravitate toward what we can do downtown, but there are so many needs outside of the Main Street district,” she said. “I feel like we could make a huge impact on some of the more declining properties down Race [Avenue].” Liz Howell, Harding University’s vice president of Alumni and Parent Relations, called the news “incredible, absolutely incredible. It only makes all of us better. “When something matters to you, like ‘American Idol,’ Kris [Allen] from Conway winning ‘American Idol,’ small towns get behind this. ... We can win this. I’m

not kidding, we can win this.” Potts said there are a “number of factors” that Deluxe Corp. looks at to pick the top 20 “including size of the town, overall need expressed in the nominations, look of the ‘Main Street’ area and small business community connection. That last one, is there an active business development community, chamber of commerce, etc. Those are among the factors we look at.” He said that after a winner has been select “in the past, towns have done things like new banners, new benches, lighting, billboards, paint projects, small parks, etc. But overall, the biggest impact is how the community comes together. In the towns that have won and even in the ones that haven’t, community leaders have rallied their downtown areas to talk about ways they can celebrate their businesses. You can’t put a dollar amount on that.” He said that in the three communities that have won, “downtown vacancy rates have been reduced, property values are up, businesses are busier. The winning town also receives millions of dollars in free publicity as we share the stories once they have launched.” Potts said that the company is “looking

for need” with the six businesses, “but also do the business owners have a good story to share?” “We also try to pick businesses that mirror the makeup of the community and we look for different types of businesses,” he said. “For example, this year we chose a recording studio, which is something you don’t often find in a small town. “In the winning town, we invite businesses to nominate themselves and they fill out a form to tell us about the businesses. We will try to interview as many as we can, and then we interview 12 on camera to make our final selections. As I mentioned, we try to get a cross-section of businesses as well. We aren’t going to choose six restaurants or six retail shops. We will pick businesses that help reflect the community while also having compelling stories to tell.” Potts emphasized that each of the cities under consideration will likely benefit. “Nowhere are small businesses more under siege than in small towns. We are putting a spotlight on these communities that hasn’t been there before,” he said. “Even the top 20, this is a chance to celebrate what you love about your community and share it with others across the country. Only one town will win, but the chance to say why you love your town and why your small businesses are so important is invaluable. “Some town leaders have told us their communities have changed forever for the better.”

until a few minutes later, and technical difficulties froze the screen for several seconds. But, once all things lined up, hosts Ty Pennington and Amanda Brinkman, who is also Deluxe Corp.’s chief branding officer, appeared on the screen for the live reveal. “Today, we are here to announce the top finalists that are moving on to public vote,” Brinkman said. “We love small businesses and we feel like they are the backbone of this country. And we feel like they make their towns unique and special.” Brinkman said Small Business Revolution “is more than just a show, it is truly a movement. This is our love letter to small businesses.” She added, “In about 60 seconds some of you are going to be elated, and some of you are going to be disappointed. I want you to take a moment and recognize what a big deal it is that you got to this stage of the process.” Pennington said choosing the finalists for the voting phase “was like trying to

pick your favorite child.” Brinkman agreed and added that “the Small Business Revolution is a specific program, and some communities are just in a better position to take advantage of this program. The real prize is what your community just did. All 10 communities can use this momentum. So keep going.” Just as the duo was about to announce the towns, Pennington said, “I thought there were five. I can’t do a lot of things, but I can count. I’m pretty sure I’m looking at six cards.” Brinkman confirmed, saying, “This is the first time in Small Business Revolution history we just couldn’t narrow it down to five. So there are six towns this year, moving on to the public vote.” When Searcy was revealed by Pennington and Brinkman, after holding up a card with Searcy’s name and state outline on it, Pennington said, “I love that name. Congratulations Searcy, Ark., you guys are one of the finalists!” The other cities that made the cut into

the top six were Canon City, Colo.; Cosicana, Texas.; Camas, Wash.; Washington, N.C.; and Durant, Okla. Faulkner addressed the audience after the announcement, saying, “Everybody breathe real deep. It is going to be a long eight days.” “We will not win without a bucket load of votes,” he said. “We need to annoy the fire out of everybody you know for these next eight days. We’ve got to connect.” Voting started after the announcement and ran through 10 p.m. Tuesday. After the top six was revealed, a video was shown to the audience depicting some of the things the community believes make Searcy special. In the video, Faulkner encouraged viewers to “go to and cast your vote right now.” “Bring it on Searcy!” said Mandy Hefner, one of the attendees at the watch party. Cori Vehlies said she was “really excited. My mom actually owns a small business so I’m really, really excited.”

“Some town leaders have told us their communities have changed forever for the better.” Cameron Potts

Vice President of public relations for Deluxe Corp.


Amy Burton, executive director of Main Street Searcy, had a little bit more to say. “We’re confident,” Burton said. “We’ve done everything we can. The community has really rallied around this. We’ve seen engagement that really has surprised us all. “We’ve done a great job, but there are nine other cities that have also done a great job. So now, we’re at the mercy of Small Business Revolution, and if we make it, we’re ready to move on for the voting. We’ve done ourselves proud in Searcy.” The anticipation became tangible as the crowd awaited the news. Will Walker, historian and owner of Yesteryear, was in charge of broadcasting the live Facebook feed. He refreshed the page so much that Faulkner said, “I think you’re going to break the refresh button.” Although the announcement was scheduled to begin at 7:30, it didn’t start


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8B• Friday, February 22, 2019

The Daily Citizen

Small Business Revolution


Heather Kemper, Harding University’s event and project director for Alumni and Parent Relations, said she also was excited about how the community has responded to Searcy being in the contest. “The energy and excitement of seeing the people from the community coming together, working together towards a common project has been really exciting,” Kemper said. “I just think hearing our name and seeing it, and seeing everybody at the Rialto all together to experience this together is going to be like winning the lotto.” Main Street Searcy Executive Director Amy Burton said she was looking forward to getting to the next round. “I think the anticipation has really gotten everyone motivated and enthusiastic about the process,” she said. “I think we’re ready to find out if we get to that next round so that we’ll know how to tackle to get to the top five, and then win the whole thing.’ “I have seen this bring so many community members into the fold, the promotion and benefits of Searcy. There are hundreds of people that are making social media posts [to promote Searcy’s campaign] that I don’t know. I love that because it really is involving the community.” Leading up to the announcement, Faulkner encourage the audience to not let the momentum die, regardless of the outcome.” The outcome was in doubt as Brinkman announced eight of the top 10 cities before Searcy as the crowd erupted with cheers and smiles. Those spearheading Searcy’s campaign sent out a news release afterward to detail what the next step is for the city.

“I wasn’t born and raised here. I was raised in a bigger city. So to see a small community come together for one goal is really neat.” Mike Parsons

Searcy Parks and Recreation Director “Visiting the towns and hearing from community members on social media will help ‘Small Business Revolution’ producers determine the towns in which they think they could make the biggest impact,” the release said. “In mid-February, they will announce the top five finalists that will be up for a weeklong public vote to see which town will be featured in Season 4. “The winner will be announced at the end of February, at which time small businesses will be invited to apply to be featured on the show. Filming for the series will run from March through August of 2019.” After the announcement, Faulkner said, “We’re going to start rallying the troops. We’re going to get our heads together and figure out how we can present the best welcome to our community that we possibly can.” In the news release, Faulkner said, “I have never witnessed such unity and swift comprehensive engagement as what the ‘Small Business Revolution’ has brought to our community in an incredibly short period of time. We are ready to see this all the way through.” Burton said at the event, “Our next process is to kind of come up with a game plan for when this production crew comes to Searcy the first of January.” “This gives small business owners an opportunity to have some interaction


with the crew, highlight their business,” Burton said. “We want to let them know that we have so many great, positive things going on, but we need their help to go to that next level.” According to Burton, a win for Searcy will benefit the whole community, not just the six businesses that are chosen. “If we win, they’ll come and do small business workshops for everyone in the community,” she said. “There’s opportunity for hundreds of businesses to benefit from this. So now, what we need to do is figure out how we are going to put on our Southern hospitality when they come down and sell them that Searcy is the place they need to come.” Kemper was ready after the announcement to get the site visits started. “Let’s skip Christmas and just go straight to the site visits!” she said. Liz Howell, vice president for Alumni and Parent Relations at Harding, said impressing the production crew during the site visit will be easy. “We have so many great people. The hospitality is going to be incredible. And we are going to knock their socks off,” Howell said. In the news release, she added, “As the only city in the competition in Arkansas, we have gained the support of the Natural State. In 2013, Harding won the ‘Best Road Trip Destination for College Bas-

ketball’ over big Division I universities. We can do this again because it matters, and we are proud of our hometown.” According to the release, a video created in support of Searcy’s campaign using #MySearcy had gotten more than 50,000 “and generated excitement as evidenced through thousands of social engagements on Facebook and Instagram.” It said that Searcy’s effort has received the support of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, state Rep. Les Eaves, state Sen. Jonathan Dismang and multiple state and area agencies and leaders, including Searcy Parks and Recreation Director Mike Parsons. “I wasn’t born and raised here. I was raised in a bigger city,” Parsons said. “So to see a small community come together for one goal is really neat.” Other attendees at Tuesday’s watch party had similar comments Rowena Marrs said, “I would love to see this downtown area, the whole city grow. Let’s put Searcy on the map.” Bobby Wright of Quattlebaum’s Music said, “I’ve been there for seven years, and I’ve never seen this much excitement for downtown and just the town in general. So this has been exciting for me.” According to Wright, this nomination could leave a lasting impact of Searcy on the minds of people that have never heard of it before. “Hopefully, this will put the word out that there’s a nice little town here with the good-hearted people,” he said, adding that people will say, “Hey, I know where Searcy is at. It’s close to that big town that’s the capital.” In the release from event organizers, Hutchinson is quoted as saying, “I am proud that Searcy is taking the initiative to invest in its culture and economy to create opportunities for its city and its citizens.”

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The Daily Citizen

Small Business Revolution

Friday, February 22, 2019 • 9B


200 W. Mulberry Searcy, AR (501) 268-1115 SEASON 4 TOP 5 TOWNS FINALIST

Tuesday, February 26

I am so proud to live and work in Searcy. Even more proud of how well we have done in The Small Business Revolution competition. We all win when we shop locally. Doing so helps grow are locally owned businesses, keeps tax dollars in Searcy and has a positive affect on property values.

The Small Business Revolution has been an incredible ride that has just begun. We have already won no matter the final results that will be announced on Tuesday, February 26. We made the top six out of over 12,000 other communities through out the United States. The question is what are we going to do next to keep this momentum going?

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The Daily Citizen


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The Daily Citizen

#MySearcy social shoutouts

Friday, February 22, 2019 • 11B

12B • Friday, February 22, 2019

The Daily Citizen

Celebrating COMMUNITY

Christmas Lighting Display

ASI Distinguished Lecture Series

Speech Clinic

Special Olympics


imes were hard in 1934 when residents welcomed Harding College to Searcy, but that did not dim the enthusiasm of either party — Searcians going so far as to help with the move from Morrilton to the former Galloway College campus. Accustomed to its role as a college town, Searcy had yearned for the return of the energy, excitement and culture students give to a town while Harding was thrilled to begin its next chapter in a new home. From its modest beginnings with only 300 students to the flourishing campus of today, Harding has grown alongside Searcy, each promoting and supporting the other, which is made possible only by mutual respect and a spirit of cooperation.

Today, as the third largest employer in White County and with students’annual spending of $31 million, Harding is a significant contributor to the local economy. Most importantly, mutual benefits abound for all members of the community, both city and University. The American Studies Institute’s Distinguished Lecture Series has brought 17 heads of state to Searcy to visit and speak in the largest auditorium in Arkansas — at no cost to attendees. Additional campus facilities such as First Security Stadium and the Ganus Activities Complex have enabled the University to host the state Special Olympics for the past 25 years. From affordable concerts to free and low cost medical services to the annual Christmas lighting, Harding opens its doors to our community as we work and serve together. Eighty-five years later, Searcy and Harding add up to a powerful partnership and the true embodiment of community. The best is yet to come. We are ready for a revolution.


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The Daily Citizen: 2019 Small Business Revolution - Searcy Style  

The Daily Citizen: 2019 Small Business Revolution - Searcy Style