About sunrise on Thursday, November 16, 2017, there was report of strong smell of petroleum and a potential oil leak along the TransCanada pipeline that runs through Marshall County, South Dakota. The leak was identified by a farmer 10 miles west and north of Langford (where I live) and approximately 10 miles from Britton. By mid-morning Thursday, TransCanada had people on the ground planning for a long-term stay in Marshall County.
Early on Friday morning I received a message on The Front Porch (our local bar/restaurant) Facebook page from someone I didn’t know, which happens often. The person said they would like a catered meal for 50 people that evening at an offsite location. I called the restaurant manger with the information so she could be prepared. It turns out that man was a logistics director with TransCanada. By the time he made direct contact with The Front Porch manager he didn’t need an evening meal for 50, it had ballooned to 7 onsite catered meals for 120 oil spill workers from Friday until Sunday when their contracted food truck would arrive.
When we drove into the corn field that first evening with 7 roasters of hot food to set up on a table out in the cold winter air, I asked the logistics director, “How did you find the Front Porch?” He said he Googled us. That is also how he found access to portable toilets, hotel rooms, dumpsters, trucks, and other needed items to set up shop. This was good for us and the other businesses he accessed through Google, but bad for several businesses in nearby towns who also could have provided some of these much needed items. However, these other nearby businesses had never claimed their business location on Google maps, nor did they have a social media presence or website.
Because of that initial connection through Google, The Front Porch served a hot lunch onsite, Monday-Saturday to 80 workers from December through March. This is a financial boon for a small town restaurant especially during the slow winter months. Thanks Google!
Every month, as the social media manager for The Front Porch, I get a report from Google. On November 17, 2017 our activity skyrocketed! (see photo below) The red spike shows searches from Google maps.
Paula is a co-founder, investor, and agent of the board of directors for The Front Porch, a local community-owned bar/restaurant that also holds office space for three additional businesses in Langford SD. #Iamrural
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The Community Coach. Having a passion for community leadership and development is what drives Paula Jensen’s personal and professional life. Paula lives in her hometown of Langford, South Dakota, population 318+. She serves as a Strategic Doing practitioner, grant writer and community coach with Dakota Resources based in Renner, South Dakota. Dakota Resources is a mission-driven 501c3 Community Development Financial Institution working to connect capital and capacity to empower rural communities. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.