Rob Eldridge works on the display window at his business Route 68 Vintage Toys and Collectibles during the Xenia s Hometown Christmas Saturday Nov. 23, 2019.
Photo: Marshall Gorby
Photo: Marshall Gorby

Xenia selected as semi-finalist for small biz reality show

Small businesses in Xenia could be featured in a reality show that airs on Amazon Prime and Hulu. 

The city has been chosen as one of 10 semi-finalists to be considered for the fifth season of the show “Small Business Revolution.” 

Xenia businesses struggle to bring life to downtown

Producers from the show are expected to visit Xenia next week, and city leaders are spreading the word to all businesses to try to be open on Monday and Tuesday. The star of the show, Ty Pennington of “Trading Spaces” and “Extreme Home Makeover” fame, is not expected to be among the visitors. 

If Xenia is chosen, small businesses in the downtown area and elsewhere in the city could be featured, according to Xenia Community Development Coordinator Ryan Baker. 

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us just to be in the top 10. Obviously, it will be great to be the one chosen, and we’ll do everything we can to make that happen,” Baker said. 

The pool of possible cities — which includes Brunswick, Ga., Spearfish, S.D. and two Oregon cities — will be narrowed to five in January 2020 after the “Small Business Revolution” team visits all the top 10 semi-finalists and talks with business owners and city leaders. 

The public will be asked to vote on the five finalists, and the winner will be announced based on the votes by the end of January 2020. 

Businesses in the winning city will have an opportunity to apply to be featured in the show, which will have a budget of $500,000 to help six businesses with store improvements, marketing growth, cost-cutting and other focuses to improve the business. 

It has been an active year for new businesses in Xenia. Approximately 14 new shops opened this year, and three are pending site and building inspections, Baker said.

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Downtown property owner Jennifer Dunn, who has led efforts to highlight downtown businesses, said she wasn’t aware Xenia had been nominated for the show, but there are more than a few shops that could use the help.  

“We all look at Xenia and we see the potential and the historic downtown. It’s a scrappy community, and we keep fighting our way back,” Dunn said. “The timing for us couldn’t be better for this kind of injection.”  

Other cities in the running are Benicia, Calif., Bisbee, Ariz., Fredonia, N.Y., Livingston, Mont., and Waseca, Minn.

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