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Program Aims to Bring Economic Growth Back to the Town and Inspire Communities Across the Country
LINCOLNSHIRE, IL--(Marketwired - Jan 5, 2015) - Marcus Lemonis, entrepreneur and host of CNBC's hit reality series The Profit, announced today the aquistion of several buildings in the city of Horton, Kansas and the launch of a small business incubator program to bring new businesses into these storefronts. This announcement follows the formation of a committee earlier this year, Reinvent Horton, after the City Council and community members of Horton teamed up with Lemonis to make several renovations to their downtown business district in an effort to ignite much needed revitalization and economic development.
"The awareness of a small town in middle America that was failing reminded me of the bigger picture across the U.S.," says Lemonis. "Horton is no different from any other community across the country that is filled with great people but lost its way through the years, and I hoped that if I could motivate one town, maybe others would become inspired to help their own communities and even themselves."
Lemonis' involvement dates back to December 2013, after a story went viral regarding an 88-year-old World War II veteran and business owner in Horton that was fined due to his inability to make building repairs. After speaking with the Mayor of Horton, Lemonis toured the small Brown County community on January 22, 2014, in order to provide advice and devise a plan to help the town once again flourish.
"Horton's Central Avenue is the heart of their community, much like Main Streets across the country," continued Lemonis. "I believe that small communities along with small businesses are the core of America's business structure, and I saw the potential for Horton to become prosperous but I made it clear to the community members that they had to be devoted to the process of rebuilding, or I would walk away."
Following Lemonis' initial visit to Horton in January, shown here in this video,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ArHoyYfqJQ, members of Horton begun efforts to clean the town and have since completed picking up trash, clearing brush, removing dilapidated structures and re-painting historical businesses throughout the community, bringing an updated, fresh look to the streets of Horton. The community also recently completed a downtown lightpole project after successfully raising the $50,800 needed to erect the 22 new fixtures, which also display memorial plaques honoring the donors who assisted in funding the project.
The Reinvent Horton committee has also developed plans seeking outside support for the town's recovery from major metropolitan areas and donors, and has set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding page for the city of Horton at http://www.gofundme.com/fnxyag. Interested parties can also mail donations for the revitalization plan to Reinvent Horton at 205 East 8th Street in Horton, Kansas 66439.
"We have laid the groundwork for the community to rebuild itself, but we still desperately need volunteerism and financial support in order to continue living out our future," says Mayor Tim Lentz. "I'm optimistic that the reinvention of our town will inspire communities, businesses and families to reach deep inside themselves to make necessary changes that build better communities and ultimately stronger tomorrows for people everywhere."
With the launch of Lemonis' Small Business Incubator Program, Lemonis is asking that entrepreneurs and aspiring small business owners from the Horton area and across the country alike, write to him with a business plan regarding ideas for the newly acquired buildings. The business owner will be responsible for submitting a proposal toHorton@marcuslemonis.com on why the business will be a fit for Horton, and will then be reviewed by Lemonis and the members of the Horton community to ensure a mutual fit. The chosen businesses will also have the opportunity to gain up to $25,000 in microlending from Lemonis, in order to help fund the startup of their business. Based on a survey provided to residents of Horton seeking information on desired downtown additions, top responses included delicatessen and fast food chains, fine dining restaurants and a bowling alley to name a few.
In addition to Lemonis' investment of the downtown Horton buildings, he is reviewing other properties for potential purchase and plans are in place to develop a park complete with benches and a jungle gym for children's enjoyment and outdoor entertainment for movies and festivals. For more information regarding the revitalization of Horton, Kansas and theReinvent Horton committee visit http://www.cityofhorton.com/reinvent-horton.html or on Facebook www.facebook.com/ReinventHorton
Founded in 1886, Horton is a small city in Brown County, Kansas and is known as the "the electric city." After years of economic decline, volunteers in the community are gathering to clean, rebuild, assist residents and business owners who need help with yard work, and brainstorm on future plans to better the City of Horton. Mayor Tim Lentz is leading the "Reinvent Horton" committee which is seeking financial support to revitalize the community. For any info on projects, sales or donations please contact the Mayor's office 785-548-5028. #ReinventHorton
About Marcus Lemonis
Marcus Lemonis is an entrepreneur, investor, television personality, and chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises. Camping World is the nation's largest RV and outdoor retailer, and Good Sam is the world's largest RV owner's organization.
Lemonis is also known as the "business turnaround king" and host of CNBC's prime time reality series, The Profit, in which he lends his expertise to struggling small businesses around the country and judges businesses based on a "Three P" principle: People, Process, and Product. The Profit airs on CNBC Tuesdays at 10PM ET/PT.