There and back again.
From the artisan bistro where you get your morning caffeine fix to the corner gas station where you fill up your tank, small businesses play a vital role in our day-to-day lives. Their contributions are so important, in fact, that for every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing the celebration of National Small Business Week to recognize the efforts of mom-and-pop shops and Main Street entrepreneurs throughout the country.
Here at FetchRev, we live and breathe local business marketing—not only because it’s our work, but because it’s our passion. Helping a manicurist nail her first Facebook ad campaign or working with a trampoline park owner to get his Friday night attendance soaring brings us all immense joy. Why? Because we’re the children, friends, colleagues, and neighbors of local entrepreneurs with extremely personal connections to the small business community. In honor of National Small Business Week, we wanted to share a few of our stories with you.
Keeping It All in the Family
You could say that working with small businesses was in Marketing Specialist Jessica Kassel’s blood, starting with the fact that her family’s name is written all over Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Kassel’s Korner started off as a single gas station and convenience store, and expanded over the years into three thriving locations.
Perhaps growing up around the entrepreneurial spirit of her uncle was the driving force behind Jessica’s desire to assist her mother and aunt with launching their antique furniture business, LOT 26. “They have been going to Round Top for over 20 years,” she describes. “It’s a huge festival with miles and miles of antiques, junk and everything you never knew you wanted.”
By day, you can find Jessica strategizing with our small business clients about their marketing calendars, but when she’s off work, she prefers to get her hands dirty. “I go and help whenever I can,” she says. “They finally started their own business because they were out of room in their houses, so I helped set up their shop and they just did their second show.”
The Ultimate Learning Experience
Before starting at FetchRev, Software Engineer Jesse Novotny headed up the operations and sales at a local tutoring company owned by a young man with a dream of changing the way high schoolers prepared for college and the future. Todd Van Duzer started his business at the age of 16 and never looked back—mostly because he adopted a more personalized approach to test prep than the big names in the industry.
“One of the most notable takeaways is how much more dynamic and responsive small businesses can be in changes to education and culture,” Jesse recalls. “In addition to improving grades and test scores a small business like Student-Tutor can adapt to help students learn things they won’t in our current educational system.”
Like Father, Like Son
Marketing Specialist Aaron Gaskill grew up in the family business. His father started an automotive repair shop with a single desk, a few lifts, and one technician 27 years ago. Today, his father owns a thriving two-location shop.
Aaron is new to the FetchRev team, and says he is particularly excited to work with small businesses because, as he says, “I’ve seen the blood, sweat, and money it has taken to get my dad’s shop to where it is today. Whatever the industry, it’s the small business owner who has taken the risk to see their passion and dreams come true.”
Entrepreneurship Was Second Nature
The newest member of the FetchRev team, Lindsey Garrison, has been along for the ride as her close friend Jesse and his wife got their RV rental business off the ground. Jesse grew up in the outdoors—camping, fishing, and hunting whenever he could, but as he grew older, he felt pressured to get a “real, grown-up, responsible job.” He started working in construction, but although the new gig paid the bills, it left him feeling like something was missing.
On a weekend camping trip with his family, Jesse recognized a problem that there was no solution for—yet. “What if people like me who own an RV and equipment could rent it out to people who didn’t?” he asked himself. “We could even take it to their spot and set it all up for them.” By pure chance, he met his soon-to-be business partner, Robbie, who was fluent in technology (they now have an Instagram account), and the two got down to work.
Jesse decided to test his business plan on an unlikely customer: his father-in-law who had recently suffered a stroke. Months earlier, doctors told his family to start lining up end-of-life care, but after bringing his father-in-law on a camping trip, he was soon walking over a mile a day. Jesse came to a realization. “This is why we are going to build this business,” he declared. “So humans can live the life we were meant to.”
Talk of the Town
Director of Customer Experience Jack Smith may be calling some big shots at FetchRev, but growing up, he lived in a town thats economy depended on small businesses—in fact, it didn’t have a single traffic light! Up until high school, his family would take yearly trips to the city to shop, which were his only interactions with chain and department stores.
“Tiny beginnings combined with a love of solving problems” was Jack’s motivation for launching his own digital marketing and web development firm that worked specifically with small businesses to improve their online presences. He collaborated with the Tempe Chamber of Commerce and hundreds of local entrepreneurs to teach workshops on social media. Fast-forward 10 years, and Jack is still working with local businesses. “When I had the chance to take a leadership role in a great company that improves the lives of small business owners,” he says, “I couldn’t say no.”
Small Business in the Big City
In the land of big dreams, the city of San Francisco by contrast is actually quite small. Sizing up at just under 48 square miles, the Fog City is a constant boiling point for both the old and the new when it comes to space. Living through a boom, a bust, and another boom, FetchRev Digital Content Manager and San Francisco native Devin Pangaro has seen the city evolve through an ever-changing landscape of progress and occasional cultural strife. “I try to stay cognizant of both change and consistency, and I truly believe there’s a balance to be found in the Bay Area,” he says. “While there’s very little to prevent the city from building condominiums to accommodate the need for housing, I feel that it’s my civic duty to support small businesses whose very livelihood are challenged by escalating rent, property taxes, and situations beyond their control.”
Opting to shop and eat local, Devin is a frequent guest of Buffalo Burger located just blocks away from where he attended high school in the scenic Richmond District. Upon a recent visit, he noticed a visually impaired couple enjoying lunch and conversation together on a pleasant spring day. When their meal was finished, the owner personally thanked them for their visit and gently escorted them out the front door, ensuring their safe arrival at a waiting car outside of his business while inviting them back in the future. Simple tokens of hospitality and kindness even in the hustle and bustle of a city moving at light speed is something he will never allow himself to ignore.
Digital Content Manager