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Putting out the welcome mat

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Approximately 75 people showed up to help Durant put its best foot forward this past Saturday in preparation for a visit by an internet business makeover show.

“We actually finished by 11 because we had more people than we anticipated,” said Stephanie Gardner, director of Durant Main Street which is organizing the project.

The group cleared trash and debris, put out welcome signs, took down Christmas decorations, and delivered posters and stickers for “Small Business Revolution – Main Street.”

Show host Amanda Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer for Deluxe Corporation, which produces the show, will visit Durant January 15-16. Brinkman and her staff will meet residents and business and civic leaders. They will be welcomed to the city with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the Student Union Building on the Southeastern Oklahoma State University campus.

In the program, small business experts work with six local businesses. The producers commit to spending $500,000 helping the businesses and community effectively market themselves. The program airs on www.smallbusinessrevolution.org, Hulu and YouTube.

Gardner said the work went more smoothly than expected thanks to city crews who went out of their way to take down municipal Christmas decorations, so the streets would be clear for volunteers.

“We want to send a very big shout out to the city crews who made our work so much easier,” Gardner said. “They made it a lot easier for our volunteers.”

Gardner said there may be another work day. In the meantime, she encouraged business and property owners to consider beautifying their properties in anticipation of the visit.

“Anything will help,” she said.

Business or property owners who would like to purchase signs and other promotional materials can contact Sign Depot, Price’s Printing or R&R Signs.

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