We’re Ready for Our Closeup!

Introducing, the Love Small Town America video! We’re excited to share with you our new video presentation. We hope that this new tool makes it easier than ever for communities to share the LSTA advantage with their local stakeholders and get back on the map with a LSTA membership and website package.

Watch here:

Can you guess whose voice you’re hearing?

Help Bart and Rorie Discover the Best of Small Town America

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 11.15.48 AM

Bart Russell was called the “voice of small town America” by none other than Ronald Reagan. So, why does he need your help?

After retiring last year from a career in small town advocacy, Russell is taking his passion for small towns in a new direction – quite possibly, in your direction.

As leader of the municipal advocacy group Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST), Russell served for 18 years bringing small town issues to prominence. During that time, he also served as CEO of the National Association of Towns and president of its National Center for Small Communities.

Now, Russell is taking politics out of the equation and promising to shine a light on the 144 million small town residents in America and what they have to offer as part of a venture he calls “Everything Small Town.”

The mission: Everything Small Town™ shines a global spotlight on promising projects and programs designed to make America’s 30,000, plus smaller communities better places in which to live, work and do business.

Now, Everything Small Town™ is hitting the road for its inaugural “Discover Small Town America” tour this June. They’ll be heading to the west coast taking Route 40 to SoCal for 4th of July weekend and returning via Route 70 to the east coast in late July.

In between, they’ll be soaking up as much of small town America as they can.

Says Russell, “We’ve received invitations from wonderful people to check out wonderful towns, like Cloudcroft and Ruidoso, NM, Greenville and Dresden OH, Ligonier, IN, Grainfield and other [KS] towns. Some of you have said you’ll get back with your recommendations for experiencing the best of small town America on byways close to I-40 and I-70 in Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio. WE CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR FROM YOU…”

We here at Love Small Town America would love to show them what OUR great small towns have to offer. Have an idea on where Bart and Rorie Russell should stop on their Everything Small Town journey? Let them know, via their Facebook page.

“We’re really looking forward to meeting some new friends, visiting their hometowns and shining the spotlight on some amazing people and places. Thanks for all the offers of hospitality you’ve extended!” says Russell.

“We would love to have your thoughts, recommendations and your “likes” at Everything Small Town™.”

Let’s show Everything Small Town some “LOVE”…Small Town America, that is!

www.BartonRussell.com
www.facebook.com/EverythingSmallTown

New Features Coming Soon

Google

Image source: phandroid.com

We’re always working on ways to make Love Small Town America more responsive to our members’ needs and more engaging. That’s why we’re excited to announce a few changes coming soon that we think will make our members’ webpages even more fun and useful! Which of these ideas do you like the best? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Social Media Share : We’ve harped on how important social media is before. Now, it will be easier than ever to share content from Love Small Town America through social media. We’re adding a “social media bar” to every page so people can easily share the news from those pages.
  2. Google Calendar : We are transferring our current calendar system to Google Calendar. This will make updates easier and will allow people to sync their Google Calendars with ours. This will also allow us to integrate RSS feeds on the calendar pages so people are updated when events have been added or changed. Let that sink in for a moment. This means if you follow the calendar of your son’s school sports team, if they change the time of a basketball game — it will be updated on your personal calendar!
  3. Pop-up Boxes : For the events calendar and business listings, we’re adding pop-up boxes to share more information for those events and business listings. It will be easy to find the phone number of a local business, for example, or see at a glance important details about a church bake sale.

What new feature do you think you would use the most? 

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

 

LSTA & KS Dept. of Commerce Offering ROZ Communities Free Webpages

Love Small Town America and the KS Dept. of Commerce Have Partnered to Bring ROZ Communities Free Webpages

ROZs Can Join LSTA for FREE

ROZs Can Join LSTA for FREE

From now until Feb. 13, ROZ Communities (towns or counties) can apply for a free webpage and Love Small Town America membership. You get a great, worry-free web presence, free advertising and promotion, a listing in our directory of towns and/or counties, and connections to a growing network of small towns. It’s easy, it’s free, it makes a difference. The Kansas Department of Commerce feels so strongly that this is a vital step for ROZ communities to take, they’re footing the bill so ROZ communities can get in on this great opportunity. Scholarships are limited, so apply as soon as possible to ensure you are one of the lucky ones!

What is the ROZ Webpage Scholarship?

A one-year scholarship (valued at $225+) that covers the cost of a community webpage and membership in the Love Small Town America network to provide accurate, interesting information about your community, share events, post jobs and real estate listings, connect local businesses with publicity and affordable webpages of their own, and get your community noticed!

Check out a community webpage and click through the different tabs to see the many features. Visit: Grainfield, KS.

What Are the Benefits of a Love Small Town America Webpage?

Our members are part of a network of small communities. Every member gets a full-featured web presence that is completely hassle-free. We do all the work, from building the site, to writing the copy, to performing maintenance and updates. We also include free promotion as part of the deal to help you show the world why they should call a small town home and to showcase the best small towns in America. Learn more about the many benefits you’ll receive as a Love Small Town America member when you apply for the webpage scholarship.

How Do I Apply?

Fill out a scholarship application and return it to Chris Harris at charris@kansascommerce.com. Communities (counties or towns) participating in the ROZ program with a population of 5,000 or fewer can apply.

Or: Contact Luke Mahin at Luke@Lovesmalltownamerica.com or 785-374-3067 for assistance filling out your application or to ask questions.

Rural Opportunity Zones can get a FREE Webpage!

Some of you may have heard this before, but we want to make sure EVERYONE hears the news today. Rural Opportunity Zones – those 50 Kansas counties offering awesome “recruitment bonuses” to qualifying new residents – are eligible for an absolutely FREE Love Small Town America website*. This is no gimmick – the Kansas Department of Commerce is actually paying for scholarships that provide webpages to ROZ counties or communities within ROZ counties so that they can help leverage the nationwide interest in these fantastic Kansas counties.

Did you know?

More than 600 people have already applied for the ROZ incentives. The ROZ program is working. Imagine if all these counties had full-featured webpages with all the information new residents wanted to know in one, easy-to-navigate spot. That’s what Love Small Town America provides. ROZ counties can plug into a dynamic network that showcases what their communities has to offer and opens the door to affordable webpages for local businesses, free promotion, and more. Signing up is easy, it’s quick, it’s free. There’s no reason not to take advantage of this opportunity! Scholarship applications are due Feb. 6, 2013.

How Can you Take Advantage of this Offer?

If you live in a ROZ county or town – share this information with your local economic development director, chamber director, or other community leader and let them know you want to see your community on Love Small Town America. Even if your community already has a website, being a part of LSTA gets your community listed in a vibrant network of small towns across the country and provides free publicity for town events, businesses, and more.

If you’re a local economic development director, chamber director, or other community leader, you’re in the right place! Contact us today to learn more and to get help filling out your community’s scholarship application. Hurry – applications are due Feb. 6, 2013 and there are a limited number of scholarships available.

Contact Us:

Luke Mahin, Sales

Phone785-374-3067

Email: luke@lovesmalltownamerica.com

*Package C: $225 value

Sustainability, Rural America, And Youth

Creighton

On the campus of Creighton University. Creighton University. Source: Creative Commons / Troy Johnson

In November, I was invited to Creighton University to speak in front of a group of students participating in an innovative course that directly relates to the work I am so passionate about – creating a new future for rural America through Love Small Town America.

It was an honor to be invited to speak to Barbara Dilly’s class: Sustainability and Rural America. I met an amazing class of bright, well-educated students. It is promising and exciting to know we as a society are teaching our youth to be leaders and to make a difference in our rural communities.

This class talks about why it is important to educate leaders to remain in small towns.  I could tell they were soaking in everything Barbara Dilly was teaching them – and they should be! She is a wealth of knowledge in this area.

I was particularly impressed with some of the projects they were working on. One of which was the task to find any small town in America, learn about the community and find something to do if you lived there for a year.

The class is currently reading “Hollowing Out the Middle: America’s Rural Brain Drain” by Patrick J. Carr and Maria J. Kefalas and comes highly recommended. It now sits on my nightstand waiting to be read.

More info on Barbara: http://www.creighton.edu/fileadmin/user/CCAS/departments/SocAnt/docs/Vitaes/CV_Barbara_Dilly_Updated_August_2012.pdf

Nicole Godek, CEO of Love Small Town America, presented at Creighton during November 2012.

Land of Opportunity – The Rural Opportunities Conference in Review

Conference booth

LSTA joined Kansans from across the state at the Rural Opportunities Conference in November.

This is the 2nd year I’ve attended the ROC and I enjoyed it this year as much as the first year. Governor Brownback has an impressive way of setting the tone for the entire conference. He is a true believer in rural Kansas and has demonstrated his commitment to rural America by introducing the Rural Opportunity Zones, of which LSTA is excited to be a part. His letter to conference participants resonates with my ideals for sustaining rural Kansas, and America.

“There’s no doubt that rural Kansas has faced some serious challenges in recent years, from declining populations to communities facing the loss of businesses and young talent. However, I am confident that the fortunes of rural Kansas are changing in a positive way. The state has become the No. 1 location in the nation for wind farms under construction, which has helped bring jobs and investment to rural Kansas. The state could see another oil and gas boom, much of it taking place in rural areas. Rural Opportunity Zones are attracting young, talented professionals from all over the country to our small communities. Major tax relief enacted earlier this year will spur small business growth and put more money back into the hands of Kansans.”

Kansas is doing some amazing things for our rural communities and I believe we have a very bright future. We can all make a difference in our small towns, even if it’s one tiny step at a time. As our slogan goes:

Take Part. Make a Difference.

Nicole Godek, CEO of Love Small Town America, attended the Rural Opportunities Conference Nov. 7-8, 2012 in Junction City, Kansas.

Double D Family Mat Shop Thrives in Small Town

Double D's Non Slip Mats

Weather-resistant, Non-slip Double D Mats™ can be used inside or outside to provide sure footing and a quiet, firm, but resilient surface for livestock. Each tire tread woven into the mat is secured on both ends and fastened with stainless steel bolts in two places. Source: http://www.ddfamilymats.net/products/

Love Small Town America is the online home for some of small town America’s best businesses. We’re giving them a chance to share with the world just what makes them so special. Please welcome this month’s featured business to the Love Small Town America blog: Double D Family Mat Shop, Inc.! 

This year, Double D Family Mat Shop celebrates 17 years in business with a brand new website and branding overhaul that show this time-tested family business is growing and thriving in the 21st century. After nearly twenty years in business, the company has learned a few secrets to success. Continue reading

Fall 2012 Contest Winners!

First of all, we’d like to sincerely thank EVERYONE who entered our two contests. We’re always learning and growing and this was the first time we had tried a giveaway! The good news for all of you is that we LOVED it! So, keep your ears open for your next opportunity to enter to win some great small town goodies (like the fabulous Country Sudz gift basket!) or a chance to join Love Small Town America!

Now, without further ado, we’d like to announce our lucky winners! One will be receiving a luxurious spa basket from one of Love Small Town America’s great small town businesses and the other will join us in showcasing the best small towns in America!   Continue reading

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