TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

September 3, 2013

Small town merchant program Wednesday

Southern Ky. Chamber, KSBDC event features training, speaker


TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

The Kentucky Small Business Development Center says, “Small town restaurant businesses are the heart of our communities, therefore keeping them thriving is vital to our economy.”

That’s why they’ve teamed up with the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to hold a program to help those businesses grow and prosper. And they’re bringing in a national retail specialist to evaluate some of those businesses.

The Small Town Merchant Program will take place Wednesday at the Chamber office on Depot Street in Corbin, starting with registration at 9:30 a.m. The program itself runs from 10 a.m. until noon, and provides free training on how to stay relevant and improve retail and restaurant businesses. Lunch will be provided courtesy of the Chamber.

A free 90-minute business audit by retail specialist Marc Wilson will be provided to a limited number of retailers, with Wilson coming to their location. Wilson’s audit will assess everything from merchandising, pricing structure, curbside appeal and a lot more. Business audits will be scheduled at Wednesday’s training session.

Wilson’s retain career started in 1975 as co-owner of the largest distributor of Earth Shoes in the U.S. He later joined Britches of Georgetown as a salesperson and spent 12 years with the company, finishing there as vice-president of operations after growing the company from nine  to 109 stores. Wilson also worked with Circuit City, Crown Books and later became president and CEO of the Bicycle Exchange.

He then explored the Internet and became vice president of merchandising for Storetrax, an online college bookstore specializing in textbooks and emblematic apparel. While at Storetrax, he managed an online site dedicated to landlords and developers leasing retail space. Later, he traveled to Dallas, Texas to open the world’s first energy efficiency store for Current Energy, a company founded by Ross Perot Jr.

The Kentucky Small Business Development Center provides consulting and training services that help existing business owners and potential entrepreneurs succeed. Based in Lexington, KSBDC has been assisting the state’s small business community for over 25 years. The organization is co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and is administered by the University of Kentucky in partnership with regional universities, community and private colleges, and the private sector.

The deadline to register is Monday. To register, or for more information, call 606-678-3042, 859-622-1382, or go online at http://goo.gl/HIBJc.