SEARCY, Ark.– On October 8, the Rialto Theater lights will be a beacon signaling Searcy’s national debut as the town comes together to watch the premiere of season four of Hulu’s “Small Business Revolution” (SBR).
Earlier this year, voters across America selected Searcy from a run-off of six towns to receive a $500,000 revitalization for six of its small businesses, which is documented in the show’s upcoming season. On Tuesday, a season four marathon will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Rialto.
“The Rialto is home for a lot of people,” Amy Burton, executive director of Main Street Searcy, said. “It’s an iconic building. It’s in the heart of downtown. It just made sense.”
Season four will tell Searcy’s tale, including the stories of the six businesses chosen: Whilma’s Filipino Restaurant, ARganic Woodwork, El Mercado, Nooma Mind Body Experience, Zion Climbing & Event Center and Savor + Sip Coffeehouse.
“Since Searcy is a small town, we have to work hard on making sure our small businesses are supported,” freshman Searcy native Anna Westbrook said. “Getting to see these businesses broadcasted nationally is wonderful because these businesses have done so much for our community.”
Although Searcy is not home base for many Harding students, SBR leaders said that the small business scene is relevant to those on campus. Burton encouraged students to leave Searcy better than they found it because the future can be surprising.
Some students, like Searcy SBR leader and Harding alumnus Mat Faulkner, made the town home for their family. Others will remain tied to Searcy through alumni events and even their children’s Harding experience.
In addition to future benefits, there are also benefits for students taking an interest now in Searcy’s small businesses. As Burton said, the season four marathon at the Rialto is one way to keep Searcy viable by encouraging small businesses locally.
“We want to continue to invite and include the Harding students off the campus into the community to have fun, to eat, to shop and then also to volunteer,” Faulkner said. “The more that they get to know people in the community, the more they can be a part of the community while they’re here at Harding.”
Seating at the Rialto opens at 5 p.m. on Oct. 8. Admission is free, but seating is limited. Although the marathon will run continually with brief breaks between episodes, residents and students are encouraged to come and go as their schedules allow.