76 episodes

The future of small towns doesn’t depend on us finding more people; we need to better engage the ones who are already there.

Each week, join Rebecca Undem, small-town champion and rural entrepreneur, as she chats with people who are doing their part to grow their community. You’ll hear ideas and learn ways to better support your business community, create a sense of belonging for all, and foster a rich arts and culture scene in your small town.

If you live in a small town, care deeply about your community, and share the belief that “if you’re not growing, you’re dying”, this is the podcast for you.

The Growing Small Towns Show Rebecca Undem

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 22 Ratings

The future of small towns doesn’t depend on us finding more people; we need to better engage the ones who are already there.

Each week, join Rebecca Undem, small-town champion and rural entrepreneur, as she chats with people who are doing their part to grow their community. You’ll hear ideas and learn ways to better support your business community, create a sense of belonging for all, and foster a rich arts and culture scene in your small town.

If you live in a small town, care deeply about your community, and share the belief that “if you’re not growing, you’re dying”, this is the podcast for you.

    105. Storytelling for Small Towns (Part 1)

    105. Storytelling for Small Towns (Part 1)

    Storytelling is kind of having a moment: everywhere we go, we hear about “sharing your story.” The thing is that it’s really excellent advice—when it’s done well. This is part one of a two-part series all about why storytelling is so important for small towns, and why you should care.
    About Phil
    Phil Eich is the founder of Storyville, an agency born in Saginaw dedicated to telling the stories of our cities to cultivate community pride, support small businesses, and attract and retain talent and investment. Through interviews, writing, photography, videography, and podcasting, Storyville's human-centered approach to civic marketing shines a light on communities across the country and their greatest strengths: their people.

    In this episode, we cover:
    The meaning and power behind real storytelling The principle that makes successful storytelling work How warmth and competence are both necessary elements of trust How to convince people that storytelling is impactful, worthwhile, and has a place for small towns How storytelling can help provide the foundation for everything our small towns need to thrive Links and Resources Mentioned:
    The Storyville Website: storyvillesocial.com
    Storyville Newsletter: storyville.substack.com
    Otter.ai

    • 48 min
    104. Why Locals Need Our Love

    104. Why Locals Need Our Love

    Welcome back to the new season of the Growing Small Towns Podcast! Oh man, we are so excited to be back with a routine and a schedule and new episodes and new things in the works, we just can’t even.
    This episode is a solocast with Rebecca talking about loving on our locals—sure, we want to invite people into our small towns, but are we doing that at the expense of the people who already live there?
    In this episode, we cover:
    Why businesses that mean it when they say “Our people are our most important asset,” are the ones who are going to be the most successful, and why our small towns should think like those kinds of businesses Becoming tourism-focused at the expense of the small town’s culture and residents Why we need to reward the regular Joes (and Jolenes, obviously) for the amazing things they’re doing—big and small—that make our small towns better places to be How we can increase the “20” in the 80/20 rule How the rule-enforcing entities of small towns (necessary! We need those!) can become less roadblock-y and more set-the-tone-y.  
    Links + Resources Mentioned
    How to Combat Apathy In Small Towns with Jeff Siegler: https://www.growingsmalltowns.org/post/episode99
     
    Get In Touch
    Have an idea for a future episode/guest, have feedback or a question, or just want to chat? Email us at hello@growingsmalltowns.org
     
    A Note to Our Listeners:
    We are taking a break until mid-September because we are working on some big things behind the scenes that we can't wait to share with you. Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook or Instagram to get the latest news!
     
    Subscribe + Review
    Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of The Growing Small Towns Show! If the information in our conversations and interviews has helped you in your small town, head out to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Spotify, subscribe to the show, and leave us an honest review. Your reviews and feedback will not only help us continue to deliver relevant, helpful content, but it will also help us reach even more small-town trailblazers just like you!

    • 36 min
    103. Keeping Your Fire Lit in a Small Town

    103. Keeping Your Fire Lit in a Small Town

    Rebecca is flying solo today with a podcast version of a recent blog post that took on a life of its own, and talking about how to keep your fire lit while you’re trying to do big things in your small town—the stages you’ll go through, the people you need, and how to prevent burnout (or getting snuffed out!) along the way. 
     
    In this episode, we cover:
    Why burnout is a symptom but not a diagnosis, and why burnout may not actually be burnout, but more of a “snuffing out.”  What it looks like to be a firestarter
    The stages of an idea, how certain stages are more vulnerable to that snuffing out The different kinds of people that are key during each stage  
    Links + Resources Mentioned
    How to Keep Your Fire Lit blog post: https://rebeccaundem.com/blog/how-to-keep-your-fire-lit
     
    Get In Touch
    Have an idea for a future episode/guest, have feedback or a question, or just want to chat? Email us at hello@growingsmalltowns.org
     
    A Note to Our Listeners:
    We are taking a break until mid-September because we are working on some big things behind the scenes that we can't wait to share with you. Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook or Instagram to get the latest news!
     
    Subscribe + Review
    Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of The Growing Small Towns Show! If the information in our conversations and interviews has helped you in your small town, head out to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Spotify, subscribe to the show, and leave us an honest review. Your reviews and feedback will not only help us continue to deliver relevant, helpful content, but it will also help us reach even more small-town trailblazers just like you!

    • 34 min
    102. How to Host a Community Clean-Up Event

    102. How to Host a Community Clean-Up Event

    Aaron Baker really loves small towns, particularly his small town of Atlanta, Missouri. He is an expert and community clean-up events, engaging help and funds, identifying creative ways to solve problems, and his enthusiasm and passion are infectious. 

    About Aaron
    If you know anything about Aaron Baker, you know he is obsessed with his small town. He’s also in constant motion to keep Atlanta, Missouri moving forward.
     
    Aaron will tell you his most important job is being a husband to Erica and father to their four children. Then, he’ll tell you about being the local 4-H Club leader. Aaron works form home in government affairs and crisis communications for several Fortune 500 companies. Aaron says his real job subsidizes his habit of loving his community.
     
    Aaron also helps organize an annual Sunday morning workday at his local church when the congregation leaves the church to be the hands and feet of Christ in the community. This year, around 400 volunteers served on 24 teams in two counties to do volunteer work outside of the church on a Sunday morning. This included more than 60 volunteers working in Atlanta on various projects.
     
    On this episode, Aaron talks about motivating people in “micro towns,” those communities that don’t have an Airbnb or a large employer, but have people committed to improving the local quality of life. Through small grants, fundraising and sweat equity, Aaron has worked with others to keep his small town alive; this includes about 100 locals that have volunteered for community workdays to paint, landscape, clean-up and more. The Bakers help organize annual events in the community to keep people connected to each other and the local K-12 school, where Aaron is a school board member. Each year, the Bakers also help organize and host events in downtown Atlanta, where thousands of people gather throughout the year for the area’s largest Easter Egg Hunt, the annual “Big Wheels” event, and the town’s Homecoming Festival. Aaron has also helped the city receive grant funds to demolish abandoned homes and commercial buildings that have resulted in new homes being built and young families moving back to the area.
     
    One century ago, areas like this in North Missouri had twice the population they do today; Aaron wants to reverse that trend.
     
    On weekends, you can find Aaron spraying weeds around town or mowing neighbors’ lawns that need a little help. Aaron will be the first to admit he doesn’t have it all figured out, but he’s going to keep working hard to keep his small town growing.
     
    In this episode, we cover:
    How tact plays an important role in community morale when you’re trying to move people forward. Managing liability and risk and weighing your options How practical things like a place for yard waste and clean fill in a small town can keep folks encouraged to keep up with properties. Why demolition projects are so important to keep a town moving forward and looking alive. Asking for help in a way that is specific, personal, and effective. 
    Links and Resources Mentioned:
    To learn more, email Aaron Baker at abaker@cloutpublicaffairs.com
    Episode 99 with Jeff Siegler: http://growingsmalltowns.show/99-how-to-combat-apathy-in-small-towns

    • 56 min
    101. Holding the Vision

    101. Holding the Vision

    Rebecca is solocasting about the mental and emotional side of the work she and so many of our listeners do. This episode is about knowing yourself and how you think, how to relate to other people who may think differently than you, and how to experience new things to help you learn and grow. 
     
    Ideas for Holding the Vision, Even When Others Don’t/Can’t:
     
    No story, no problem!  Along the same line, assume good intent.  Recognize the immense difference between a strong preference for sensing v. intuition.  “It’s hard for us to imagine something we’ve never experienced.” Know thyself. Personality tests can be so helpful here!  
    Links Mentioned
    A Free MBTI: www.16personalities.com
    HBO Documentary: https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GYC1puQhu1cLCwgEAAAA0
     
    A Note to Our Listeners
    Thank you for listening to this show and for helping us remain in the top 25% of podcasts according to our listener stats. That is actually just incredible and proof that our small towns NEED each other! 
     
    So if you know a great person to bring on the show, shoot me a text at director@growingsmalltowns.org. We just want to continue to elevate the great work being done in pockets of rural places all over the country. 
     
    Subscribe + Review
    Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of The Growing Small Towns Show! If the information in our conversations and interviews has helped you in your small town, head out to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Spotify, subscribe to the show, and leave us an honest review. Your reviews and feedback will not only help us continue to deliver relevant, helpful content, but it will also help us reach even more small-town trailblazers just like you!

    • 37 min
    100. Why We Can’t Shame People Into Shopping Local

    100. Why We Can’t Shame People Into Shopping Local

    We are so excited to have Charlie Birch on the podcast! She is small town born and bred, and is kind of a shopping local expert. Charlie joins us to talk about making a web presence work for a brick-and-mortar store.
    About Charlie
    After living the digital nomad life later popularized by Instagram, our founder Charlie returned home to South Jersey in 2016. Not long after, she founded a web design studio, Charlie Birch Consulting, to help small brick-and-mortar businesses build their online presence. In 2020, this business transformed into Third Eye Web Strategies, which continued to focus on brick-and-mortar businesses while expanding to help entire Main Street communities.
    As a millennial consumer with a multidisciplinary background and 10 years of real-world experience helping online businesses with branding, content creation, and website design, Charlie is in a unique position to help brick-and-mortar businesses and Main Street communities uplevel their online presence.
    “I intend Third Eye to be a first stop shop where Main Street leaders - who want to convert more web traffic into foot traffic - can access legit website strategy advice and services, backed by research, delivered in plain English, and customized to meet their unique needs!” 
    ~ Charlie Birch
    When she is not geeking out on Main Street web strategies, Charlie enjoys spending time with her family. Her interests include food, travel, live music, nature, fashion, dance, group fitness, and snowboarding.
     In this episode, we cover:
    Why not all businesses need a website (but why some do) How websites and an online presence help stores that DO NOT have any eCommerce Why no one is entitled to a successful business What the biggest threat to small town businesses is  Why every small town needs to intentionally help small businesses thrive Links and Resources Mentioned:
    Charlie’s Website: https://thirdeyewebstrategies.com/
    Schedule a call: https://thirdeyewebstrategies.com/meeting
    The best place to connect with Charlie online is inside the Clubhouse community the SMB Think Tank. They do a free networking group T&Th at 2pm EST and two monthly special events a Thought Leadership Forum the 1st T of the month and an Expert Panel the last Th of the month. People can register for the newsletter here, or email Charlie at Charlie@ThirdEyeWebStrategies.com to find out about upcoming events.
    Charlie’s LinkedIn is here.
    Charlie’s link tree

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

WE photos ,

Such a great ideas for small towns!

So many great ideas for small towns no matter what size your town is! I share with our leaders with our small town all the time!

LauraLHG ,

Awesome podcast

It really dives deep into problems facing small towns today. And living in North Dakota too, I can definitely relate to the content.

OARFan5 ,

Big Fan

Such a gracious host!
Such great info for small towns!

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