Frontenac Launches Community Website!

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September 14, 2015:

Frontenac, KS has launched a new community website on LoveSmallTownAmerica.com, an online network for small towns, at: http://lovesmalltownamerica.com/frontenacks.php

Love Small Town America provides another powerful tool for Frontenac to recruit new residents by providing a package of webpages to establish a community portal on www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com. This opens the door for other community attractions, including businesses, churches, schools, organizations, and more, to have a web presence as well.

Frontenac

Frontenac’s new website features community information, a community calendar, photo gallery, business pages, job listings, real estate listings, and more. The calendar will be updated weekly with new events and residents can subscribe to receive updated listings by e-mail.

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Run With Lisa – T-Shirt Orders

Run with Lisa t-shirts support Lisa's cancer treatment. (T-shirt front)

Run with Lisa t-shirts support Lisa’s cancer treatment. (T-shirt front)

Recently, we shared with you how the member of one of our LSTA communities is battling a cancerous brain tumor. The small town of Grainfield, Kansas has banded together to support Lisa Althouse as she battles this glioblastoma. Lisa is a vibrant young woman committed to health and fitness. The town of Grainfield has rallied around her and is raising money to help with the cost of Lisa’s treatments. 

T-shirt back.

T-shirt back.

You can buy t-shirts to support “Run with Lisa”. T-shirts cost $15 each and 100% of the profit will be donated to the Lisa Althouse Medical Fund. Download and print the order form below.

Order Form

Order Form

Run With Lisa

The outpouring of love and support from the small town of Grainfield has been tremendous. Photo credit: Brooke Ostmeyer Photography

The outpouring of love and support from the small town of Grainfield has been tremendous. Photo credit: Brooke Ostmeyer Photography

Small towns are known for their sense of community. Your neighbors are a group of friends you can celebrate with: Independence Day fireworks, block parties, joyful graduation celebrations, fall festivals. But, this network extends beyond cheerful exchanges; small towns offer a source of real support during the tough times, too.

Friends, family, and neighbors organized a send-off as Lisa left town to begin her cancer treatment.

Friends, family, and neighbors organized a send-off as Lisa left town to begin her cancer treatment.

Recently, the dear friend of our founder Nicole Godek was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. The small town of Grainfield, Kansas has banded together to support Lisa Althouse as she battles this glioblastoma. Lisa is a vibrant young woman committed to health. She’s a health and fitness advocate who walks the walk: Lisa loves running and has competed in numerous races, including marathons.

“We as her family and friends are committed to helping her through this race… We will help her every step of the way and watch as she crosses the finish line… a survivor!”

– Run With Lisa Facebook Page

Lisa’s chemo/radiation treatment will last a continuous six weeks in Kansas City. The Grainfield community – even those who don’t know Lisa – continue to organize fundraisers to help her young family cope with the impending medical bills.

Run with Lisa t-shirts support Lisa's cancer treatment.

Run with Lisa t-shirts support Lisa’s cancer treatment.

This weekend at Grainfield’s annual Memorial Day weekend event, Cruise, Shoes & BBQs, “Run With Lisa” t-shirts will be sold to raise money. 100% of the profits will be donated to the Lisa Althouse Medical Fund. The proceeds from the 5K run Sunday morning will also be donated to Lisa.

The outpouring of love and support our small communities have given Lisa is inspiring. It makes you proud to live in a small town!

Support Lisa’s treatment here: https://www.facebook.com/events/509009292536899/510505219053973/?notif_t=lik%20e%20&

Learn more about Lisa: https://www.facebook.com/runwithlisa

Celebrate 5 Years of Cruise, Shoes & BBQs in Grainfield!

Colorful cars line Grainfield for the "Cruise" heralded in Cruise, Shoes & BBQs.

Colorful cars line Grainfield for the “Cruise” heralded in Cruise, Shoes & BBQs.

Cruise, Shoes & BBQs – it’s the small town event that keeps people coming back for more. The small town of Grainfield, KS, population a mere 277, plays host every Memorial Day weekend to one of the biggest bashes in the region. Originally hosted by Grainfield’s Harvest Market, the event was taken over by Grainfield Community Development Committee in the 2nd year in order to grow it into a flagship event for the town. This year marks the 5th anniversary of CSBBQs – as it’s called by natives – and it promises to be another full 2 days of fun. This year, the event has been moved to Saturday/Sunday but promises the same fierce horseshoe competition, mouthwatering barbecue, and eye-catching car show that attendees love.

All aboard the Nex-tech express! Kids can enjoy a train ride from this popular attraction.

All aboard the Nex-tech express! Kids can enjoy a train ride from this popular attraction.

We’re going behind the scenes with two of the events original organizers, Dan Godek and Kay Hartman Haffner, to find out the secrets to CSBBQs’ success.

1.) It’s not every day you hear a name like, “Cruise, Shoes and BBQs” (CSBBQ). Where did the idea for this event come from?

Dan: “I had competed at my very first BBQ competition in Studley, KS at the Cottonwood Ranch and enjoyed it very much. One morning I was discussing it with “The Coffee Drinkers” at Harvest Market and said to them, “Why don’t we organize our own BBQ competition in Grainfield?” One guy said we should include a car show. Then, I added that we should get the horseshoe pits going again and highlight them that weekend. Next I was throwing together some names and scribbled down on a sheet of paper, “Cruise, Shoes & BBQs.” So let it be written, so let it be done. Just a few short months later, cars were rolling into the city park as smoke rolled out.”

2.) With a BBQ competition in the mix, food must be an important part of CSBBQ. Where can attendees find the best “eats”? 

Dan: “This year I highly recommend a slice of homemade pie from Ramrod Cooking Crew! Smokin Sprays team captain Roy Sprays makes his own fresh sausage, slow smokes it, then grills it, then puts it on a stick. And who doesn’t love meat on a stick! Of course, the BBQ buffet features all the competition teams’ meat… beef brisket and pulled pork.”

The mouthwatering aroma of BBQ fills the city park for two days.

The mouthwatering aroma of BBQ fills the city park for two days.

3.) Can you tell us where the BBQ teams are coming from?

Dan: “They’re descending on us from Grainfield, Grinnell, Gove, Hoxie, Selden, Oakley, Hays, and… Colorado Springs!”

4.) All the festivities at CSBBQs sound like fun. But, if you had to pick one event, what would you say is a “can’t miss”? 

Dan: “The GCDC held back nothing for this 5 year anniversary… Paramount is coming to Grainfield! Paramount is an ‘80’s cover band out of Hays & Salina. They perform in Kansas City, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina, Hays, Colby and of course the pinnacle of their careers, the piece de resistance, their crowning moment, their epic climax will be their one night stand in G-Town!!  If you liked the ‘80’s, you’ll love Paramount!

Kay: “I agree 100% with Dan, Paramount will be the best part of weekend. Nothing better then a slab dance to a live band!”

Pony rides in the park are a favorite event.

Pony rides in the park are a favorite event.

Photo opportunities abound at Cruise, Shoes & BBQs!

Photo opportunities abound at Cruise, Shoes & BBQs!

5.) CSBBQs is full of great events for adults, but what can kids look forward to at this year’s event?

Kay: “Saturday will feature the sand volleyball tournament aimed at older kids aged 15 and up. Then on Sunday, Bumpy Knuckles the Clown and Miss Rebecca the very talented face-painting artist will return for the second year. We will also have pony rides, games and prizes, and the Nex-tech train. A local boyscout troup will be selling delicious sno cones both Saturday and Sunday.”

A devilish pig got into many comical situations at a past CSBBQ event.

A devilish pig got into many comical situations at a past CSBBQ event.

6.) This is CSBBQ 5th anniversary. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve seen during the past 5 years of CSBBQ? 

Dan: “The Dancing Pig!  Two years ago I busted out my full body pig costume and got a little jiggy with it. Several friends and relatives took turns in the pig suit and things got crazy. Long story short, Nicole [Godek, Dan’s wife and LSTA CEO] has promised we’re never doing that again.”

Kay: “Last year one of our BBQ teams camped out in an authentic Native American teepee. The wind that night reached over 50 mph and the results were tree limbs down, fences broken, destruction to buildings…. but, the teepee stood the storm!  I couldn’t believe it.”

An authentic Native American teepee sheltered one BBQ team from devastating winds - and attracted quite a bit of attention!

An authentic Native American teepee sheltered one BBQ team from devastating winds – and attracted quite a bit of attention!

From the Grainfield Community Development Committee Webpage:

Cruise, Shoes & BBQs – May 25 & 26, 2013
2013 marks our 5th year and we have a lot of exciting things happening! To accommodate our event-goers and make the best of the holiday weekend, we are moving our 2-day event to Saturday/Sunday. Including our unique car show, horseshoe tournament and fierce bbq competition, we’ll also have:

  • Paramount – 80s Tribute Rock Band playing live Sunday night. So join us as we rock to the 80s (big hair optional)
  • Lots of kids activities available including a repeat appearance from Bumpy Knuckles the Clown.
  • A co-ed sand volleyball tournament will bring fun in the sun
  • And so much more!

Click here to learn more.

We are always growing our network of small towns, organizations, and businesses. If you’re interested in joining Love Small Town America and getting an affordable home on our small town network, e-mail us to get started or learn more here

Small Town, Small Business Saturday

The post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza has grown over the years from Black Friday to include Cyber Monday and our favorite, Small Business Saturday! We’re joining other small businesses across the country to encourage you to shop local this Christmas season, starting with small business Saturday and continuing on through your gift-giving list!

Every dollar you spend locally goes further to support your local economy – your neighbors – your way of life. The economic ripple you create by spending even a single dollar locally (instead of at a chain store!) can create up to $15 dollars worth of impact. (Read more about reasons to shop local.)

So when you shop local, you’re doing more than shopping. You’re being a good citizen! A job creator! An architect of America’s future! Are you pumped to spend some money? Alright! Let’s go! We’ve got 8 killer gift ideas to share with you after the jump! Continue reading

Picking the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business

This infographic, from MDG Advertising, helps make some sense of the Return on Investment (ROI) small businesses can expect from the resources they devote to social media.

Last month, we started a conversation about social media (“What’s So Great About Social Media“). Understanding what social media means in a professional context is crucial for success these days, but navigating the waters of instant, online marketing can be tricky. We’re breaking down a few of the basics to help you get a jump on social media for your small business or organization so that you can make the most of being online with Love Small Town America.

You’re still reading, so that must mean that you’re curious. The first step after deciding that you’re going to poke your toe in the water of social media is to pick a platform. In the simplest terms possible, all these fancy names floating around (Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. etc. etc.) are different places you could engage. Think of them as businesses on main street. The best ones aren’t necessarily the biggest, or the newest, or even the busiest. The best ones are the ones that are right for YOU. Think about it. If you sell fish food, you’re not going to reach many people by starting conversations about fish at the mechanic’s. You might catch someone’s interest – but it would be by chance, not design. Since most of us have limited time, we can’t be everywhere at once. We have to choose. Narrowing down your social media platforms is much the same – it’s about thinking through who uses those avenues and then finding the right fit for who you are and why you are online.

For small businesses, there are a few platforms that are too big too ignore, and are almost always going to start a few conversations.

Facebook: Facebook pages for businesses and groups are essential. Everyone is on Facebook, and you and your business need to be on there, too. Claiming your page isn’t just important for developing your online presence – it keeps imposters, spammers, or competitors from nabbing your spot! Facebook can take some time to learn – and requires more frequent updates than some social media platforms, but normally, if you can devote time to perfecting only one social media presence – this is the one you want.

Begin building a Facebook Page for your business.

LinkedIn: Think of LinkedIn as a resume for your business. It’s the ultimate professional networking site. The great thing about a presence on this platform is that it takes less time than some of the others. You can be more active (say, starting a group and posting discussions) but establishing a professional presence on this network helps legitimize what you’re doing – and may even pave the way toward future success. Have trouble finding qualified employees? Looking to develop a new market? This is a great spot to explore.

PinterestThis one is up for debate – but retail businesses especially should take note of Pinterest. Its purpose is still hazy, but this virtual pinboard connects with the visual nature of human beings – and the internet. Share, organize, and repin images that link to their website source in this open platform. Get top traffic (and repins!) by mastering keywords to make it easy for the right people to find your images. It works like a charm for retailers, especially if you sell something that photographs well!You don’t have to sell something tangible to make Pinterest a part of your social media strategy, though. Small towns could become internet sensations by sharing tourist attractions. The local church could share photos of prize-winning recipes from their cookbook. Be creative, seek inspiration as much as you offer it, and challenge yourself to stay abreast of trends and the newest ways to communicate and advertise.

Now, this isn’t an exhaustive list. You  may notice we’ve omitted Twitter, for instance, as well as some other heavyweights. That’s not to say that the other platforms aren’t influential or aren’t appropriate for *you*, but we feel for beginners, they can require a higher investment and offer more risks/fewer rewards than some of the other platforms, like Facebook.

Next time, we’ll delve into some dos and don’ts for your first profile on some of giants in the social media game.

What’s your favorite social media platform for small business?

Infographic Source

What’s So Great About Social Media?

You’ve probably heard a lot about social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube… the list goes on and on – and on! Maybe you even use on or more of these platforms personally. But if you represent a business or organization, it’s imperative you understand what social media means within a professional context and more importantly – what it can do for you. Over the next few months, we’ll be diving into the topic of social media and sharing with you simple explanations, step-by-step instructions, and easy tips to help you decide what to do.

What’s So Great About Social Media?
Social media may seem confusing. Businesses often wonder if they should have a social media strategy or how to “do” social media. We’re going to tell you a secret that may help you understand exactly what social media is and what it means for your business. Social media is a way of communicating. Just like newspapers, telephones, and televisions revolutionized their own societies by creating a new way to share ideas, social media is making waves by helping people talk to each other in a different way. This is the first key to understanding the power of social media and engaging online in a way that positively impacts your bottom line.

The REAL Advantages of Social Media
1.) Real time – share your thoughts instantly. One great example of how to rock this concept is restaurants who share their daily specials. Add an enticing photo taken with your mobile device and time your news so people see it in time for lunch and you’ll have locals banging down the doors. Over time, this can create demand farther and farther away. If you visit Kansas City once a year, but every day see delicious photos and menus from a barbecue restaurant on Facebook – chances are they will earn your business next time you are in town.
2.) Real people – social media feels more real than traditional marketing. This means people are more likely to read and trust what you say – because we care about and trust people more than we do corporations. There are dangers inherent in this, too, and the transparency of social media doesn’t mean you can be sloppy, rude, or inaccurate, but the power of talking with real people behind the businesses and groups you might like to shop at, visit, or join creates buyer loyalty, more sincere engagement, and — more return business if you do it well.

3.) REAL-ly fun – it may feel like work at first, but trust us, social media is an arena where you can really have fun. The lower costs mean you can try new things and be creative. Learning what “works” and gets attention online lets you play mad scientist in the social media world. Take photos, make videos, share funny puns about your products – the sky is your limit! Playing with your social media presence may breathe a creative spark back into your enterprise that you never knew you had lost.

Next month: Picking the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business