Sunday, November 24, 2013

Support local business this holiday season by riding the RelyLocal Small Business Shopping Shuttles in Racine and Kenosha, shopping locally will keep more money here in our local communities.....

Support local business this holiday season by riding the RelyLocal Small Business Shopping Shuttles in Racine and Kenosha, shopping locally will keep more money here in our local communities.....

The shuttles will travel between Downtown on the hour and west areas on the half hour continuously; you can get on and off the shuttle as you would like at the stops or parking lots to shop. There will be over 10 shuttle stops on the route (look for the shuttle stop signs) and 2 FREE parking hubs in each city.

New this year....we will be having local celebrities riding the shuttle at different times during the 4 week run, come on board and meet some great people.

Many of the shuttle route businesses will be offering super deals and give-aways during our Holiday Shuttle, each shuttle rider will get an ID sticker showing them as riding the shuttle, allowing them to get exclusive deals offered by local businesses....please join us to find out what you can get.....

Kenosha route map coming very soon.....

Monday, November 11, 2013

If You Don't Understand People, You Don't Understand Business

"We're not good at everything, we're not good by ourselves," says Simon Sinek at the 99% Conference. Our ability to build trust and relationships is the key to our survival as a race, and to thriving as ideamakers......

Monday, November 4, 2013

So what does a campaign like RelyLocal mean for a community like ours?

RelyLocal means Everything! The $20 Shift Calculator has begun to open our community’s eyes to the immense value small businesses bring to our community. The Shift Calculator, quantifies just how much money would be kept in the community if each resident over 18 shifted just $20 a month from a national chain to a locally-owned business. So, for example, if you were going to spend $20 on home decor items and instead of going to a major national craft store, you went to the local vintage upcycling shop instead. Multiply that one small, simple action by 12 months, and then multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of people in our community, and we could keep MILLIONS of dollars here at home.
When I ask people to guess how much we would keep locally, they often say, tentatively, “A million dollars?” They think, perhaps, that is too much to hope for. Imagine their surprise when they discover that our community of about 200,000 people could keep over $27 million here in our region each year!
It hits home even more when we look at what that means: 540+ $50,000/year jobs. Funding for hundreds of local non-profits. Increased home ownership. More local tax revenue to improve city and town services. Fewer children living in poverty.
That is the follow up question I ask people here in our community. “Can you imagine what kind of change in our local culture that might create if we had 540+ more families with a full time income?” Every single person has responded that it would be a revolution for our hard-hit community.
It all starts with making one small choice. One $20 shift from a national chain, online store, or (for our area) a “down-the-hill” competitor. Supporting local business is fun, feels good, but also makes sense for the community.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top 10 Ways to Go Out of Business....

Going out of business is all the rage these days! In this economy, many small business owners are going out of business. Here’s a few tips to keep up with this growing trend…
10. Act like you’re the only shop in town. If you’re serious about going out of business, you need adjust your mindset; denial is a powerful tool in going out of business. Ignoring the fact that there are other small businesses like yours in town gives you a sense of entitlement to local residents’ business and makes you less apt to listen to customer feedback. What’s that you say? You really are the only one in town? Don’t worry. With your bad attitude, someone else who wants to succeed in business instead of fail will replace you before long.
9. Treat your customers badly. People expect a superior experience from small businesses because, let’s face it, you can offer it. But should you? Not if you want to go out of business! If you treat customers badly, they might come in, but they won’t be back. With fewer and fewer customers coming to you, you’ll be well on your way to going out of business.
Watch this great example on how to treat customers badly. This couple, featured on the reality TV show Kitchen Nightmares uses customer reviews to their advantage. They ignore negative customer feedback which, especially in a customer service business like a restaurant, is a roadmap to failure-town.
8. Don’t show up during your posted hours. Treat your business like a hobby. A hobby is something you do for fun, whenever you feel like it, for pleasure and relaxation. If you consistently ignore your posted hours, there’s a good chance you will miss customers who show up when you said you would be there. Will they be back again to bring you business? Not likely.
7. Keep your business a secret. If people don’t know about you, they can’t bring their business to you. Small businesses are naturally harder to see than big businesses because of their physical size and smaller advertising budgets. Why spoil this natural advantage with bold, visible signage, smart locations, and attractive window displays? Small, unattractive, and subtle = virtually invisible. Losing!
6. Community schmommunity. You might have had help starting your business, but you can get out of it. All. By. Yourself. Other small businesses in your immediate vicinity create synergy and foot traffic that help everyone stay in business. Don’t get sucked in to helping other small businesses and local charities, or they might help you! Certainly don’t cross promote other businesses. Again, that will lead to more business coming in your door which will delay going out of business.
Don’t be wooed by the siren song of small business communities, such as RelyLocal, and the like. These only serve to strengthen the voice and presence of small businesses in the community, thwarting your efforts to go out of business.
Along these same lines, try to manage all aspects of your business alone. Disregard other small businesses with services that would help you be more successful, and save you time and money. Our goal is to NOT be successful. Stay focused!
5. Don’t pander to customers’ laziness! Customers can be so lazy. They don’t want to work for anything! If you make customers work to find what they want, they certainly won’t be back. With any luck, they won’t find what they’re looking for at all!
Consider each aspect of a customer’s experience from the time they walk in your door:
  • Showrooms should be over-crowded and difficult to navigate.
  • Shelves should be disorganized.
  • Menus and signage should be vague and unreadable.
  • It should be difficult to pay.
I know these changes may take some effort at first, but just remember, who wants empty shelves? You’re much too busy to constantly stock shelves. You’re going out of business.
4. Fuel your business with wishes, not a business plan. This is especially easy if you’re newly in business. New businesses close all the time without even trying, simply because they didn’t account for all their ongoing expenses, or thought customers would magically come to them in droves. On the other hand planning ahead by saving enough money before you go into business may delay going out of business…indefinitely.
3. Never change. The customer is not always right People need to adapt to you. This is YOUR business. Put your foot down and tell your customers how you see yourself: perfect as you are. If they have the audacity to show up two minutes before opening time. Turn them away, with a little shaming for good measure. They don’t like the service you provide? Excellent. They can find another service provider. Whether they know it or not, they’ll be assisting you toward your goal of going out of business.
2. Remember, you ARE the victim. Three words: blame, blame, and blame. Blame the city, the weather, your customers, your location, the economy, the Chamber of Commerce… anything but yourself! I don’t mean to harp on this, but going out of business starts with your mindset. If you accept responsibility for lagging profits, you will spoil your blissful ignorance of changes you can make to grow. On the other hand, shifting blame to things outside of your control is a surefire way to go out of business.
1. Act like the internet doesn’t exist. The internet is everywhere nowadays. Going back to point number seven, if you’re trying to go out of business it’s important to keep a low-profile. Don’t have a social media presence. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, Instagram, etc. are all ploys to get customers to connect to you, follow you, understand what you do, and eventually BRING BUSINESS TO YOU.
If you are already on the internet (sorry!), apply the first nine tips to your online presence as well. For instance, criticize people online who rate your business poorly, make your online presence ugly, confusing, and free of pesky facts such as open hours and location, and help your website maintain a degree of secrecy by hiding it from search engines! If your potential customers can’t find your website, it’s as if it doesn’t exist to them. Whatever you do, avoid effective tools, like RelyLocal, as they serve to help more people in your community (e.g. your target audience) see your website, and again, bring you more business.
Finally, if you’re confused about how to act like the internet doesn’t exist, remember this mantra: if it was good enough twenty years ago, it’s good enough for today.

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 26th, 2013
In envip, at envi ultra lounge
316 Main St. Racine, WI 53403
7:00pm showing
Featuring four comedian’s stand-up:

Mario Robinson is one of the founding members of CoK, and the host of Jokerz cc, Mario has opened for Eddie Griffin, Carlos Mencia, and John Witherspoon.

As much as Ryan loves talking about himself, he has always found the idea of a bio kind of silly. But when you want people to take you seriously as a "professional" comic there are some things you must do. He (still talking about Ryan) started doing stand up at the end of 2010, people laughed at his jokes, which was nice, so he decided he would keep telling them. As you can see it is now 2013 and he is still telling them and that is why you are reading this information. He also produces 2 monthly comedy & music shows in Milwaukee, one at Cactus Club and the other at Sugar Maple with his production company Inventing Situations.  He has had the opportunity to open for acts such as Ari Shaffir and Johnny Beehner, but today he just wants to make you laugh. So please do. 

Josh Ballew is a Milwaukee comedian with a big heart and bigger hair. A man of many hats and wearer of none, Josh takes inspiration from his own life offering a lighthearted view on some of life's biggest questions. A member of Milwaukee's Caste of Killers Comedy Collective, Josh hosts the bimonthly Open Mic Killer Mic at The Art Bar in Riverwest in addition to being a co-host of Levity Radio which can be heard every Tuesday at 8pm on

Greg Bach will be your MC for the evening. He has been performing improv, standup and sketch comedy since 2007. He has performed at Sherman Perk, Karma Lounge, ComedySportz and the Alchemist Theatre.

Make your reservation today, tables available only to the first 40 people (per showing), limited standing room available thereafter. Please call 262.770.4297.

envi is an environmentally conscious 3 story ultra lounge featuring a modern dynamic cuisine, specialty drinks made with fresh juices and herbs, and dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. Please visit envi’s website for additional information;

Sunday, September 1, 2013

JENGA: Playing Games With The Local Economy

Get Involved, Local Business is our foundation
Have you ever played the game JENGA? It’s a fun-yet-terrifying game, the one with the small rectangular blocks of wood that are stacked in perpendicular rows to create a large tower while your job is to take turns at removing blocks from the lower tower in order to stack them on top to create an even taller tower. Of course, the fun (stress) of the game comes from knowing that you can only build a tower so tall before it all comes tumbling down in a deafening and messy crash on the dining room table.
The moral of the story is, the local economy is a lot like JENGA. It’s human nature to always want things BIGGER and BETTER! The problem though is that, by removing blocks from the lower structure, we are eating away at the foundation of our communities. Sure, we can put another new Target, Amazon, or Home Depot at the top of our local towers, but – at what cost? What is left in our community’s foundation but a wobbly lattice ladder? Will we be left with one Wal-Mart sitting atop the rubble of unique independent local businesses?
My point is simply this: There are only so many consumers in a town looking for (and able to consume) so many products and services. As we continue to choose which businesses our communities just can’t live without, I just ask that we all give a little thought to which critical pieces of the framework of our own towns might have to be removed in order to make room. Character, independence, community, diversity, innovation – these are all building blocks that our cities can’t be without.....

Saturday, August 24, 2013

RelyLocal and SweetEats Traditions are calling all LOCAL business owners to come join us and make Local Fest 2013 the biggest and best local event of the year! 

RelyLocal & SweetEats Local Fest happening September 14th 2013 on the SE Corner of the Regency Mall property (Old CHI CHI's lot) Discover great local businesses, enjoy wonderful foods and have fun.....
A healthy community depends on a healthy economy, and both completely depend on the local businesses in Racine & Kenosha! There are a number of great studies out there that illustrate how shopping locally will stimulate the Racine & Kenosha economies.

Entry Fee $25 per Vendor (you may rent more than one space)
Space size approx. 15 x 15
You supply your own tables, tents and trash receptacles.
No electricity is available, bring your own generator if needed.
Set up begins @ 8 am. (Please check in at SweetEats booth)
Lot needs to be cleaned up by 5 pm
Deadline for entries is September 12th
All proceeds from entry fees will be donated to the children and daycare at HALO, The Homeless Assistant Leadership Organization. Please register today!

Contact Robyn or Jenny at 262-598-0616

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

RelyLocal on The Racine & Me TV Show 7/13/13

Nick Christensen owner of RelyLocal Racine & Kenosha appears on the Racine & Me TV show talking about the RelyLocal program working in Racine, WI. Discussing RelyLocal's impact on the community, helping local businesses, Rewards Card Program and connecting the public to the local buying RelyLocal movement.....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

10 Tips to Promote Your Small Business: And How RelyLocal Can Help

Between big competition and smaller budgets, small businesses face unique challenges on a daily basis.  Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to mitigate these challenges and grow your small business, like taking advantage of social media and banding together with other small business owners.  What’s more, you don’t have to do it alone.  With these simple tips and the support of ‘buy local’ organizations like RelyLocal, your small business can tackle any challenge, big or small.
Establish a Web Presence
An impressive 97 percent of Internet users look for local goods and services online. Make sure those customers find your business by promoting it online. If you don’t have the time or resources to create a website, be sure to list your business in online directories, so that customers can easily find and support your business. Check out for more ways to increase your web presence.......
Celebrate Your Independence
Consumers understand the huge impact of independent businesses on local economies and are willing to go out of their way to support them.  So celebrate the fact that your business is independent and locally-owned. Engage with RelyLocal for signage to display in your store front and let shoppers know that your business is locally owned.
Get Mobile
According to comScore, more than 57 percent of U.S. consumers own a Smartphone and three out of four have contacted a business they found on their phone. So make sure your business can be easily found by mobile phone users. If you are a member of RelyLocal, your business is automatically included in our mobile app.
Be Social
As social media continues to grow, along with it grow opportunities to market your small business. Not only can you reach new customers via social media, but you can do so for free.  The only cost to your business is the time you spend posting. RelyLocal offers members the opportunity to engage with customers on social media by sharing posts and links about the benefits of supporting local businesses.  Our posts reach thousands of people every day, but by “liking” our page and sharing our posts with your fans, we can spread the word about small business even further.
Join a ‘Buy Local’ Group
There is truth in the old saying, “strength in numbers,” and joining a buy local organization is no exception. According to the 2013 Independent Business Survey by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Independent businesses in communities with an active “buy local first” initiative run by a local business organization reported average revenue growth of 8.6% in 2012, compared to 3.4% for those in areas without such an initiative. Connect with RelyLocal to increase your "Strength" right here
Be Vocal
Small business owners are the first to step up when their community needs them and the last to take credit for their goodwill. This is because these mom and pop businesses are not looking for bragging rights or credit for taking the moral high road. They are doing what comes natural, and offering their assistance whenever and wherever possible. So let us brag for you! We love nothing more than to toot the horn of a deserving small business. We’ve even created a series of “Real Indie Stories” to recognize those indie businesses that do exceptional things for the community. Send us your story and we’ll share it with our fans, because every small business owner deserves to be celebrated!
Find a Niche
Maybe you’re a co-op bike shop whose employees are the owners; maybe you’re an indie coffee shop that found a way to use recycled coffee grounds to grow produce. Find what it is that makes your business unique and different from any other business out there. Consumers want to try new things and that’s part of what sets your business apart from the big boxes and national chains. So embrace your weird, fun, quirky attribute and go with it!
Build Relationships
Get to know your fellow small business owners and find ways to work together to accomplish a common cause.  Small business owners share common challenges, regardless of niche.  They also share common benefits, such as quality products, vast expertise, and stellar customer service.  By connecting with your fellow small business owners throughout the community, you’ll develop long-lasting allies to support the ‘buy local’ movement in and around your community.
Practice What You Preach
Get in the habit of buying local whenever possible. As a small business owner, you know better than most the benefits of shopping at independently owned businesses.  Therefore, small business owners are in the best position to support other small businesses, both professionally and personally.  Be a role model for your friends, employees, and customers by shopping local in your day-to-day life. To find other local businesses in your area, use RelyLocal's local business search engine.
Engage the Community
Encourage members of your community to take action in support of the ‘buy local’ movement by participating in small business events like RelyLocal's Calender of eventsNational Small Business Week and Small Business Saturday. These events teach people the benefits of buying local by encouraging them to do so in large numbers.
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