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great american river road trip

Hit the Road With Renee: Embarking on a New Journey

My bags are packed and I’m ready to begin a journey Mark Twain embarked upon many years ago. I’ll be traveling along the Mississippi River from Minneapolis all the way to New Orleans. Although my steamboat is a rental car, over the course of the next week, I will be eating, sleeping and breathing everything related to independent businesses.

My name is Renee Changnon and I’m the profiles editor with the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA). This is my third time joining Independent We Stand for its annual road trip as a representative for our association and I couldn’t be more excited.

This year, the trip is called “The Great American River Road Trip,” and it will take our team 1,400 miles along the Mississippi River with stops in multiple cities along the way. What makes this trip unique is that we will be staying in locally owned hotels, eating at local restaurants and visiting with independent business owners who run many different operations, including hardware stores, bookstores, tattoo parlors and much more.

The purpose of this road trip, and everything Independent We Stand represents, is to promote independently owned businesses and to share the economic impact America’s Main Streets have on local economies. Independent We Stand is a movement that encourages business owners to reach out to their communities and educate their neighbors on the importance of shopping locally.

In addition, the Great American River Road Trip will help promote the annual Main Streets Contest, which is presented by STIHL. Visit the Main Street Contest website until April 22 to nominate and vote for your favorite Main Street. The winning Main Street will be awarded a $25,000 grand prize.

Although I can’t fit all of you in the car with us, I hope you’ll join me along on this journey. If you enjoy social media, then you’ll want to make sure to like and follow NRHA’s Instagram and Facebook page for frequent updates. Search the hashtags #RiverRoadTrip and #LocalMemoriesLastingImpact during the week for more content.

If you’d rather learn about the trip each day in one sitting, be sure visit Hardware Retailing for my daily posts. Off we go!

About Renee Changnon

Renee Changnon is the retail outreach coordinator for NRHA. She meets with retailers in their stores and at industry events and introduces them to the services NRHA provides. Renee previously worked as a member of the NRHA communications team. She earned a degree in visual journalism from Illinois State University, where she served as the features editor for the school newspaper. After college, she implemented marketing and promotions initiatives at Jimmy John’s franchise locations across the country. She enjoys exploring books with her book club, Netflix marathons and hosting goat yoga at her apartment complex. Renee Changnon 317-275-9442 rchangnon@nrha.org

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