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Hit the Road With Renee: Barbecue and Small Business Make Lasting Impressions

Last week, I was invited to join the team from Independent We Stand on the Great American Red, White and Q Road Trip as a representative for the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA).

Over the span of a week, we visited independent businesses in well-known barbecue communities to see how small businesses and Main Street organizations across our country continue to provide new opportunities for their communities.

During the road trip, we traveled more than 1,000 miles and made stops in some of the best-known cities for barbecue, starting in Asheville, North Carolina, and finishing our trip in Kansas City, Missouri. Throughout the journey, we stayed in independent hotels, ate barbecue at local restaurants and spoke with independent business owners from a variety of industries, including hardware and home improvement.

As my fourth road trip with the Independent We Stand team, this trip helped confirm my belief and appreciation that small businesses reflect their communities and bring new potential to their neighbors.

The business owners I met were all passionate about the operations they run, the employees they work with, the customers they serve and the communities where they live. Unlike a chain store, which provides a sense of sameness no matter where they are located in the country, independent businesses have something that help them stand out and shine.

If you would like to read about all the businesses and restaurants I visited during this trip, be sure to read the daily summaries.

Day 1: Asheville Highlights Artists and Entrepreneurs

Day 2: Nashville Businesses Focus on Community

Day 3: Memphis Independents Embrace Growth

Day 4: Family and Community Unite in St. Louis

Day 5: There’s No Place Like Kansas City

About Renee Changnon

Renee Changnon is the retail outreach coordinator for NRHA. She meets with retailers in their stores and at industry events and introduces them to the services NRHA provides. Renee previously worked as a member of the NRHA communications team. She earned a degree in visual journalism from Illinois State University, where she served as the features editor for the school newspaper. After college, she implemented marketing and promotions initiatives at Jimmy John’s franchise locations across the country. She enjoys exploring books with her book club, Netflix marathons and hosting goat yoga at her apartment complex. Renee Changnon 317-275-9442 rchangnon@nrha.org

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