Small Business Revolution web series premieres

By Joseph Slacian

About 150 people filled the Historic Eagles Theatre on Tuesday evening, Sept. 27, for the premiere of the first two episodes of the web-based series about Wabash.

The series, which was filmed over this summer, was one of the prizes the city received for winning first place in Deluxe Corporation’s Small Business Revolution.

The first episode looked at the City of Wabash and some of the problems it faces. The second was a look at the former Harry’s Old Kettle Saloon, now known as Harry’s Old Kettle Pub and Grill.

Before the screenings, Amanda Brinkman, Deluxe’s Chief Brand and Communications Officer, had a Skype conversation with the crowd. She was in New York City on a media tour to promote the web series.

“I’ve got to say, people are loving them already,” she said. “So, they’re falling in love with Wabash the same way we did. It’s so exciting.”

Brinkman apologized for not being in Wabash for the premiere, but said it was important to be in New York to help spread the word of the series.

“Times Square is fun,” she said. “But you guys are more fun.”

Brinkman said she would be in Wabash in October to watch the last two episodes of the series.

“You’ll see it the night before the rest of the world,” she said.

Cameron Potts, ‎Vice President of Public Relations and Community Management at Deluxe Corporation - ‎Deluxe Corporation, told the crowd that Brinkman and series co-host Robert Herjavec, conducted 52 media interviews with outlets from around the United States.

“Also, the Wall Street Journal’s doing a story,” he said. “Entrepreneur magazine is doing a story. Money Magazine, so it’s getting all sorts of public attention. Your story is going to be all over the United States in the next few weeks.”

Kilmer, who had watched the program online earlier in the day, sat surrounded by family and friends, eyes fixed on the Eagles’ big screen.

“Unbelievable,” he told The Paper of Wabash County following the event. “It was emotional. Everyone I’ve talked to who has seen it said it brought them to tears. I fought back tears a couple of times. It’s awesome. I can’t even begin to describe it.”

The program looked at Kilmer and his wife Judy’s efforts to purchase the Old Kettle Saloon, put their own brand on it and eventually bring food to the establishment. The couple has faced numerous hurdles and each have full-time jobs in addition to their work at the bar.

The Deluxe team helped rebrand the establishment, changing its name to Harry’s Old Kettle Pub and Grill, giving them new business cards, a new menu, a new Facebook page, helping them finish installing cooking equipment and presenting them with a new smoker.

One question that kept cropping up from customers, the Kilmers admitted during the program, was when were they going to begin serving food.

“The last piece of the equation is that I’ve got some signage that had to be hung, an electrical relay that had to be put in place for emergency shutoff for my electrical equipment,” he said, noting the relay was to be installed the following day. “Now I’ll be able to call for all of my inspections. I’ve been holding off getting my inspections. Once that’s in I can call for the fire marshal, building inspector, health inspector. … So I’m hoping (this) week we’re up and running.”

Among those watching the program with Kilmer was his mother, Mona.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “I’m so happy and anxious for him. I know he’ll just do a great job. He always has when he was in these cooking ventures he’s been involved with.”

Wabash Marketplace Inc. Executive Director Steve Downs said following the screening that he was pleased with the first two episodes and is looking forward to the remaining episodes.

“I am very impressed and very gratified with the product that has come out,” he told The Paper following the screening. “I think they made Wabash look wonderful. I think they made Harry’s Old Kettle Pub and Grill look magnificent. I’m very, very happy.”

The next two – one featuring Ellen’s Bridal and Dress Boutique and the other featuring Filament Tattoo – can be seen Tuesday, Oct. 4, at

Filament owner Matt Haynes said he was anxious to see his episode.

“After seeing this, I’m very anxious,” he said. “I didn’t watch it. I knew it was up this morning but I decided I was going to wait and watch it with my friends and my kids here and watch it on the big screen.

“They did such a great job, kind of laying out our struggles as well as our successes. I’m very excited

Haynes talked briefly about what Deluxe officials did to help his business, but noted he didn’t want to give away too much.

“You can see looking at my building some of the things that they did,” he said. “We got a new front door, awnings. We have a new website. Some of the other things I think they want to keep secret. It’s been such a pleasure to work with the team from Deluxe. …To see that this is not just a gimmick or marketing ploy; they really do care about people and the love and care and concern that they constantly expressed to the people here in Wabash.”

Lisa Downs, owner of Ellen’s, also is anxious to see the next episode on Tuesday.

“Again, seeing the quality of the first two episodes, I know I’m in good hands and am really looking forward to them telling the story.”

Like Haynes, she didn’t want to disclose too much of what Deluxe did for her business.

“They worked with our website,” she said. “We do have a beautiful, new storefront. They gave us a lot of marketing ideas and packaging. We feel like a real bridal shop now. It’s been very encouraging to all our staff.”

Posted on 2016 Oct 04