The Small Business Revolution is a unique series, led by the talented team at Deluxe marketing who have partnered with ABC Shark Robert Herjavec. Together they bring their talents and expertise in marketing to the city of Wabash Indiana to help boost many of the businesses on Main Street. In episode 2, Robert and Amanda meet with Harry and Judy Kilmer, the owners of Harry’s Old Kettle and help them make their restaurant dreams a reality. I had the privilege of catching up with Harry and hearing about the experience and how his business has been doing since then. Here’s the story!
Jay: After watching your episode of the Small Business Revolution and seeing all the improvements you’ve made to your business, what’s business like today?
Harry: The biggest change we made was getting our kitchen up and running. Now we can finally give our customers a great meal along with a great experience. Thanks to Amanda and the entire Deluxe marketing team, we’re now listed on trip advisor, Google and other search engines and business has been growing ever since. Just recently a couple came in for a bite to eat and told me how they made a road trip from Chicago which is over a 2-hour drive to check out Harry’s Pub & Grill. They saw the show and were so inspired that they drove in to check it out. When people watched the Small Business Revolution, it wasn’t just a cool show, it inspired people to work at their dreams and make them a reality. That has been why we’ve seen so many new customers who want to come in and see it for themselves.
Jay: On the show, we saw how Robert was able to set you up with an accountant the he personally recommended. What have you learned since working with him?
Harry: It’s really amazing what feedback can do! I was using an accountant who was proficient in his work and everything was done correctly. But what was missing was the feedback. My accountant now, who was recommended by Robert, really cares about my bottom line and constantly sends me tips and ideas on ways to cut costs, he also reports on my numbers being up or down from previous months etc. In fact, his rates are lower than the accountant I was using previously and the advice he provides is priceless. No matter what business you’re in, having an accountant who can help you understand your numbers is key to long term growth.
Jay: What were some of the other techniques you learned from a social media perspective?
Harry: We’ve done a lot of work to our web site to give it the edge it needs to really stand out. Another thing we’ve done is to really maximize Facebook, which has shown us the power of old fashion word of mouth. In fact, there are so many people who send me pictures every day of the food they’ve eaten at Harry’s that I just keep sharing those pictures on our Facebook pages. On Facebook you’re able to create a group that helps you spread your message to your community. All the food I make is made from the highest quality ingredients and you’ll never get a frozen burger at Harry’s like you’ll get in other places. It’s not the cheapest hamburger in town, but you can be sure it’s the most delicious hamburger you’ll get anywhere.
Jay: What were some of the results you’ve seen from the website optimization you’ve done?
Harry: The results are staggering and they’ve happened pretty quickly. Every day we get new customers who call because they found our site on trip advisor, Google or other sites. There were so many things we took advantage of that we didn’t even know about. For example, aside from our menu we wanted to come up with something that would make Harry’s not just a Pub, but a destination. In Wabash, people will travel half an hour for great food so we knew it was important to create that one dish that we’d be most known for. We created our most delicious item which is a Philly cheese steak which we call, the Judy. It’s a juicy Boston style cheese-steak and it has become our brand item and our #1 best seller. As soon as people eat it they say it’s the best steak they’ve ever had! That’s kind of results we’ve gotten and I couldn’t be happier.
Jay: Looking back at everything that Robert, Amanda and the entire team at Deluxe marketing group have given you to help your business, what are your thoughts?
Harry: You know Jay, from the moment they walked in the door I kept asking myself “What’s the catch? It just can’t be real”. I was waiting for the moment where they’d present me with the bill, or tell me that I’d have to pay for this service or something like that- and it never happened. When the filming for the Small Business Revolution was complete Robert, Amanda and the Deluxe team together with all the entrepreneurs got together for dinner. I approached Amanda and asked her in tears why I was chosen, it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me. She replied, that’s exactly why we did it, to help small businesses succeed. They not only helped me improve, but they’ve brought business to the entire town, and inspired millions of people across the world!
In early 2016, The Small Business Revolution put out a call for nominations looking for one special small town that would benefit from a $500,000 boost for its small businesses and downtown area. After nearly 10,000 nominations and 180,000 votes were cast, the winner was Wabash, Indiana. The web series tells the story of the inspiring people we met and the challenges they faced – with insights and lessons we hope will help other small business owners facing similar challenges.