By Joey McWilliams
DURANT – It was a display of city-wide unity.
Thousands came out to Southeastern’s campus on Tuesday afternoon and evening to welcome to town Amanda Brinkman and some of the production team of Small Business Revolution – Main Street, championed by Deluxe to Durant.
The crowd started gathering not long after school was released for the day and waited on an overcast and chilly mid-January day for the team to arrive for the pep rally at the Student Union, put together to show the guests they should consider #MyDurant as they prepare for the next season of the show.
The team from Small Business Revolution is visiting Durant as part of a tour to stop by the 10 cities throughout the United States that have been named semifinalists to be featured on Season 4 of the online makeover show. The group will be visiting many small businesses around Durant on Wednesday.
Many lined Fifth Avenue as it becomes part of the ‘horseshoe’ loop on the central part of the Southeastern campus. Bands, cheerleaders and organizations from SE and from Durant High School came out and free food was provided for those in attendance by Shamrock Bank and First United Bank.
The crowd cheered on Brinkman and her team, escorted by Durant Main Street director Stephanie Gardner, as they made their way into the Student Union building. Inside, they were met by hundreds more on the first floor and every balcony possible, celebrating their arrival to Durant.
Many people wore #MyDurant T-shirts as another sign of the community spirit. Black and white #MyDurant shirts were all around, along with some other personalized colors, still promoting the #MyDurant theme.
The guests then walked across a ceremonial orange carpet (orange, not red, because it is the theme color of the show) to the stage where Brinkman and her team were formally introduced.
Just before she took the stage, though, Durant Mayor Jerry Tomlinson read a proclamation declaring Jan. 15, 2019 as Small Business Revolution Day in Durant.
Brinkman said that was new.
“This was a first, as well as many other firsts tonight, like that entrance – that was incredible,” Brinkman said.
“We are so excited to be here. We see all your posts. You guys are on fire on social media and I feel like I know so many of you already.”
She said the walk up to the building brought tears to her eyes and she congratulated the city on making it to the final 10, as there were 16,000 nominations when the process started.
“We are in Durant, you made it to the Top 10, because we heard your passion for small business. You recognize the importance of supporting those local businesses and that’s exactly the spirit of the towns that we are after.
“So thank you for supporting the small business within your community.”
The production team stayed and visited with many of the small business owners in a reception that followed.