Ty Pennington and Amanda Brinkman are pleading with people to shop small this holiday season after seeing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the small businesses of Fredonia, New York, during Season 5 of Deluxe's Small Business Revolution, streaming now on Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and at smallbusinessrevolution.org.
In an exclusive PopCulture @ Home interview, the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition alum and chief brand and communications officer of Deluxe Corp. opened up about their experiences revitalizing the main street of Fredonia, which took a hard left turn just a few months into the season when the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S.
"It was crazy," Brinkman told PopCulture.com, revealing the production had to pivot quickly to capture the small business' journey safely. "But what we love about it is, even though we had to make different changes to the actual production of the show, the actual mission of the work and the connection that we make with the small businesses every season, that part didn't change."
Partnering with the small business owners of Fredonia was "amazing," Pennington gushed. "I mean, Fredonia's such an awesome town ... then [to] meet the business owners, see how charming they are, see how awesome the town really is, knowing that it is going through some struggles like all small businesses do on Main Street, then to see [the pandemic] happen, like unfold literally in front of our eyes ... I'm just truly blown away that we were able to pull this thing off," he said. "Not only film it, but then really give the businesses the transformation they needed. And then now seeing them succeed, like in the middle of a pandemic. It's wild and it's crazy, and it's passionate. It's awesome."
Working with everything from a floral shop to a pizzeria and auto detailing shop this season, the duo worked nonstop with the local business owners to help them find a way to make operating during a pandemic safe and profitable, despite the "really intense" pressure on their business models. Pennington used his design and construction expertise to help transform the physical locations to allow not only for social distancing. "To be honest with you, really we didn't add any square footage, we just re-utilized what was there for most episodes," he explained. "And I think that's what's so special about this show, is that a lot of times, people don't have the luxury of adding any more square feet. They just have to maximize what they have."
With how much of an impact spending your money within your own community can have on the local economy, Brinkman and Pennington urged people to shop locally heading into the holidays, suggesting shopping for gift cards and gifts from the people in their own town, as well as signing up at smallbusinessrevolution.org to win a Deluxe gift card that can be used at any small business in your neighborhood.
"Let's face it, the holidays is the one season that keeps some of these small businesses afloat for the rest of the year," Pennington shared. "So, I mean, we want everybody to do what they can to support local businesses in their community, and their neighborhoods. ...Let's face it, this is the holiday season, and nobody could use a little giving more than small businesses."