My name is Renee Changnon and I’m the retail outreach coordinator with the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA). On March 4-8, I’ll be heading out on my fourth journey with Independent We Stand for its annual road trip as a representative for our association.
This year, the trip is the Great American Red, White & Q Road Trip, and it will take us over 1,000 miles with stops in some of the best U.S. cities for barbecue, including Asheville, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Memphis, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; and Kansas City, Missouri. During the road trip, we’ll be staying in locally owned hotels, eating at local restaurants and visiting with independent business owners who run operations ranging from hardware and home centers to breweries, and of course, popular barbecue spots.
Taking off on the open road is a quintessential American experience, and I’m excited to journey through a new part of the country. As I finish packing my bags, I can’t help but get excited thinking about the people I’ll meet and the sights, sounds, smells and tasty food I’ll experience along the way as I go from one major American barbecue city to the next.
The purpose of the road trip, and everything Independent We Stand represents, is to promote independently owned businesses and share the economic impact America’s Main Streets have on local economies. Independent We Stand is a movement that encourages business owners to reach out to their communities and educate their neighbors on the importance of shopping locally.
The Great American Red, White & Q Road Trip will also help promote the annual America’s Main Streets contest, which is presented by STIHL. The three-month long web-driven contest helps consumers, small business owners and Main Street organizations reward a deserving Main Street with $25,000 in cash and sponsor-related prizes. Nominations and voting take place on MainStreetContest.com now through April 21. Semifinalist voting goes from April 29 until May 26, and the winner is announced on June 3.
While I would love to have a caravan of retailers tag along on this trip, I know you’ll all be busy running your businesses. But I’ll be sharing behind-the-scenes takes from our stops along the way, so make sure to like and follow NRHA on Instagram and Facebook for frequent updates.
For a recap of each stop, check Hardware Retailing for my daily posts from the road!