'Small Business Revolution' TV series to focus on black-owned businesses in St. Paul, Minneapolis

Nick Ferraro, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.
·3 min read

Mar. 2—Deluxe Corp. on Tuesday announced that the sixth season of its digital TV series, "Small Business Revolution," will focus on Black-owned businesses in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

In the series, business and marketing professionals with Shoreview-based Deluxe Corp. will revitalize one neighborhood's Main Street by working with small businesses through marketing makeovers and financial and operational advice.

Season six will focus on St. Paul's Rondo, Frogtown and East Side neighborhoods and the West Broadway, Lake Street and the South Side communities in Minneapolis, said Amanda Brinkman, Deluxe Corp.'s chief brand and communications officer and the creator and co-host of the series.

Each neighborhood will be featured in an episode, which airs on Hulu, Amazon Prime and smallbusinessrevolution.org. Filming is expected to start in late April.

"For the past five seasons, we have had the privilege to help small business owners in small towns across the country improve their businesses," Brinkman said in a company statement. "Through the series, we share our expertise and highlight the critical role small businesses play in our country and in our communities. In Season 6, we are pleased to bring the series and what we have learned to Minneapolis/St. Paul neighborhood business owners and entrepreneurs, with a focus on Black-owned businesses."

Businesses to be featured in season six will be selected with the help of community leaders, according to Deluxe Corp.

Deluxe Corp., which prints checks and provides small-business services, is a $2 billion publicly traded company based in Shoreview. But the company is quick to tout its small-business cred, founded in 1915 by W.R. Hotchkiss in St. Paul with a $300 loan and a vision of portable flat-pocket checkbooks, according to its history page.

Focusing on neighborhoods within two big cities is a change from past seasons, which were centered on small towns — many that have seen better days. The program's first focused on Wabash, Ind., followed by Bristol Borough, Pa.; Alton, Ill.; and Searcy, Ark. Last year's series was in Fredonia, N.Y., where businesses fought to not only survive during the pandemic, but thrive.

Deluxe launched Small Business Revolution in 2015 to celebrate its 100th anniversary. It partnered with a Texas-based documentary film company, which in turn brought in photographers and journalists to tell the stories of 100 small businesses around the country.

Some of the stories were be told in short, 3- to 5-minute videos, posted one a month for 12 months on the SmallBusinessRevolution.org website. Others, like the one on Bogart's Doughnut Co. near Uptown, were in photo essays on the site. In 2016, the show evolved into its current TV format.

Retired NBA all-star Baron Davis will co-host season six with Brinkman.

"I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing project, using my skills to help businesses and the community thrive," he said in the statement. "I'm also pleased to bring attention to businesses and communities that don't always get the spotlight."