25 episodes

Join host Dr. Matt Wagner, Chief Program Officer at Main Street America, as he travels the country, taking a deep dive into the personal journeys of downtown and neighborhood entrepreneurs. Each week we showcase a small business owner, who will share the story of starting, maintaining, and evolving their business. These are stories that frequently go unheard and unnoticed but offer us valuable lessons as to how Main Street businesses have overcome adversity, and successfully made business model shifts in ever-changing economic environments.

Main Street Business Insights Main Street America

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 22 Ratings

Join host Dr. Matt Wagner, Chief Program Officer at Main Street America, as he travels the country, taking a deep dive into the personal journeys of downtown and neighborhood entrepreneurs. Each week we showcase a small business owner, who will share the story of starting, maintaining, and evolving their business. These are stories that frequently go unheard and unnoticed but offer us valuable lessons as to how Main Street businesses have overcome adversity, and successfully made business model shifts in ever-changing economic environments.

    The Art of Understanding Local Markets

    The Art of Understanding Local Markets

    In the last episode of season two of Main Street Business Insights, tune in as host Matt Wagner breaks down how to understand and synthesize local market data. 
    While market understanding can feel daunting, it’s not only a purely data-driven exercise. While data plays a crucial role, effective market analysis goes beyond just crunching numbers. It's a blend of science and art, requiring a deep understanding of your community, its needs, key drivers, and the broader context of how it functions as a place where consumers, visitors, locals and small businesses and organizations converge. 
    In the episode, Matt explains his philosophy for market analysis, how to transform data interpretation into effective strategy, and the importance of local contexts.  
    Further Reading: IRS Migration Data | Esri Data Mapping | Placer.ai

    • 34 min
    Creating Strong Start-up Communities with Glen Ellis, Sycamore Education and Milady Coffeehouse

    Creating Strong Start-up Communities with Glen Ellis, Sycamore Education and Milady Coffeehouse

    "In this episode of Main Street Business Insights, Matt sits down with Glen Ellis, owner of Sycamore Education, Dominion Catalyst Services, and Milady Coffeehouse in Fremont, Nebraska.  
    Glen started his career working in programming and software development for international corporations, but after around 20 years, was feeling unfulfilled with the work. From there, he started volunteering at his children's school, and learned the school system’s management software had problems to be addressed. He rewrote the program, named it Sycamore Education, and began implementing it in other schools. After two years, Glen and his wife decided to take a leap of faith and take on Sycamore Education full-time.  
    The first few years of business ownership were challenging for Glen and his family – but through hard work and trial and error, they began hiring employees and gaining new clients. After getting through the initial start-up phase, Glen gained a newfound passion for supporting other entrepreneurs.  
    “My desire was not only keeping my company going, but also giving back to what we went through and doing it better than we did,” said Glen. Out of this desire, Glen purchased a historic building in downtown Fremont with the goal of converting it into a business incubator space. On the first floor, they started Milady Coffeehouse to attract community and provide a space for discussion and creativity. The second floor houses a suite of affordable office spaces available for entrepreneurs to launch their ideas. 
    In their conversation, Matt and Glen discuss the importance of creating community, ways to support other entrepreneurs, why he chose to launch his businesses in a small community, and more. 
    Further Reading: Sycamore Education | Milady Coffeehouse | Fremont Main Street | Nebraska Main Street Network "

    • 32 min
    Forming Meaningful Partnerships with Shoalwater Seafood and Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe

    Forming Meaningful Partnerships with Shoalwater Seafood and Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe

    In this episode of Main Street Business Insights, Matt sits down with Derek King and Jaime Courtney of Shoalwater Seafood, and Shane Thomas, Tribal Council Vice Chair of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe. Located in Tokeland, Washington, Shoalwater Seafood grows oysters using a system that can stand up to the strong winds, rising sea levels, and difficult weather of the Hood Canal. In 2018, Shoalwater Seafood and the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe formed a working relationship that has led to the creation of an independent oyster nursery, beginning the development and certification of several hundred acres of Tidelands owned by the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe. 
    The Shoalwater Bay Indian Reservation is a participating organization in Main Street America’s USDOT Thriving Communities program. Through the program, we are working with local community leaders to develop an increased awareness of Federal opportunities, prepare community leaders to implement infrastructure and community development projects, and build lasting local capacity for carrying out projects. Given the partnership, the group discusses how transportation and logistics impact Shoalwater Seafood’s business given the remoteness of their location to tourists and markets. 
    In the episode, the group discusses the partnership between Shoalwater Seafood and Shoalwater Bay Indian tribe, their journey to oyster farming, insights on being a tribal enterprise, how tribal culture and values are reflected in the business, ways climate change has impacted the business, and more. 
    Further Reading: Shoalwater Seafood | Washington State Main Street Program | Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe | USDOT Thriving Communities Program

    • 43 min
    How Main Street Leaders Can Drive Economic Development with Casey Woods, Emporia Main Street

    How Main Street Leaders Can Drive Economic Development with Casey Woods, Emporia Main Street

    In this episode of Main Street Business Insights, Matt sits down with Casey Woods, Executive Director of Emporia Main Street in Emporia, Kansas. 
    In their conversation, they discuss how Casey’s journey to becoming a Main Street director, his focus on entrepreneurship, how he creates new opportunities for local business owners, and how other Main Street leaders can drive economic development in their communities. 
    Further Reading: Emporia Main Street | Emporia Main Street Fab Lab | Kansas Main Street

    • 36 min
    Continuously Improving & Adapting to Change with Nicole Fleetwood and McKinzie Hodges, Scratch Made Bakery

    Continuously Improving & Adapting to Change with Nicole Fleetwood and McKinzie Hodges, Scratch Made Bakery

    In this episode of Main Street Business Insights, Matt sits down with Nicole Fleetwood and McKinzie Hodges, co-owners of Scratch Made Bakery in Amarillo, Texas. Scratch Made Bakery was selected to be featured on the podcast through a nomination from Beth Duke, Executive Director of Center City of Amarillo, an Accredited Main Street organization. 
     
    Nicole Fleetwood opened the bakery in 2012 on historic Route 66 in downtown Amarillo. She came to Amarillo with her family soon after she had won an episode of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Since that time, she added her bakery partner, McKinzie Hodges. Together, Nicole and McKinzie have had to pivot the business several times: When the cupcake craze peaked, they started selling macarons, cookies, and decorated cakes. In 2016, they added a brunch menu to grow their business. In the years since, they pivoted away from offering brunch items to focus more on what they love: providing baked goods and decorated cakes to their community. 
     
    In their conversation, they discuss Nicole and McKinzie’s path to entrepreneurship, how they support one another, and ways they’ve had to adapt to unexpected changes.

    • 36 min
    Creating Accessible and Welcoming Spaces with Tiffany Fixter, Brewability

    Creating Accessible and Welcoming Spaces with Tiffany Fixter, Brewability

    In this episode of Main Street Business Insights, Matt sits down with Tiffany Fixter, owner of Brewability, an inclusive craft brewery and pizzeria that employs adults with disabilities based in Englewood, Colorado. Brewability was also awarded a Backing Small Businesses grant in 2023 through American Express and Main Street America.  
    As a former special education teacher, Tiffany has a heart for creating welcoming, inclusive, and fully accessible spaces for people with disabilities. Coupled with a passion for wanting to make a difference in her local community and a strong work ethic, she developed the concept for Brewability back in 2016 with the intention of providing employment opportunities and a welcoming gathering space for those with disabilities and the community as a whole. 
    In their conversation, they discuss Tiffany’s path to entrepreneurship, how the Backing Small Businesses grant funding has impacted the business and community, and her advice for how all business owners can create more accessible and welcoming spaces.  

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

madelynfur ,

A Must Listen for Small Businesses

I love this podcast! Each episode has so many good tips and ideas that small businesses can incorporate into their strategy. I also just love hearing the stories from small business owners and their journeys. Truly shows how innovative they are and how they overcome adversity every day.

If you have a small business, this podcast is a MUST listen!

SweetPeaAliciaMarie ,

Awesome Conversations

Great conversations sharing the stories of small business owners and their journeys as entrepreneurs. I just listened to the first episode and am looking forward to more! Great conversations sharing the stories of small business owners and their journeys as entrepreneurs. I just listened to the first episode and am looking forward to more!

JanJanJMoney ,

Very Exciting!

Sounds like a great podcast, can’t wait to hear the first episode!

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