My friend Johnita Crawford is a county commissioner in Cloud County, Kansas. When we talked about “what is a small town business?” she sent me this note about what several towns under 800 in population in her county are doing to promote small business:
“We have a special fund from our Wind Farm that we cannot use for regular county expenses so we give it to groups for making their towns a better place to live. In the last 2 years we have given to 3 small towns to put card-operated fuel pumps in their towns where there was no access to fuel. In Clyde where I live, a group of us ladies decided 4 years ago to work on putting new street lights in our downtown to enhance the look of the town and also to save the city some money because they rented the light poles from the electric company. Our group raised over $100,000 and the county gave us $80,000 and now we have wonderful new street lights in our downtown that makes Clyde really stand out.
“Last Monday the last small town in the county–Miltonvale–came to the commissioners with their request which they have been working on for 2 years. With the help from the county they are going to refurbish 3 buildings in their community and lease the buildings to 3 small businesses. They have the people ready to go they just needed the buildings brought up to code. I am so excited for this town because it will bring employment and a face lift to 3 buildings. It is amazing what people can accomplish with a little help and lots of questions being ask.
“I believe that anything is possible to accomplish with thought and perseverance. Small towns are my passion and I know it’s also yours. Glad we can connect and see what is happening in the world.”
I love to hear these stories and examples of what small towns find important enough to invest in. I’m sure that if outside experts had been given a say, completely different projects might have been selected. But the best solutions always come from within.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.