This is not Business as Usual – Small Business survival during COVID

Serving Small Towns and Businesses One at a Time

The Willson Company – Honesty, Reliability & Vision

Our Services

Our popular Sunrise seminar series include topics tailored to our clients needs, which combined with our trusted analysis, counseling and mentoring can help to launch your business to the next level.

Staying Relevant to a Changed Customer

Overview of today’s economic climate

Harvard Business school study on how consumers change their buying habits with technology

Differentiation and Defining Your Customer

Retailing 101

Restaurateuring 101

Marketing and Social Media

Competing with Big Box Retailers

How to treat your customers

Choose and position your products

Build on community involvement

Create and communicate your niche

Make your business a shopping destination

Out maneuver on social platforms

Create a memorable experience for the customer

Add to your services

Art as a Business

Dispelling the myths

Sell your art  without selling your soul

Define and engage your collector

Master merchandizing basics

Market and advertise your artwork

Build your brand

Create a social media presence

Embrace and understand the business side of selling your art

Artist statements

Business Plans

Make It Happen All Year Long

Local Events

Be authentic

Traditional verses new media

Why concentrate your marketing to new visitors on new media

Google my business

Yelp and Trip Advisor

Do the basics all year long

The big three to get customers into your stores

Do something special

Create a buzz

Restaurant tips

Rethink your business

Looking for More?

For a complete list of the various services we offer, click here.

If you already like what you see, and would like to negotiate a visit with us, we are just an email away! Or you can use the form below. We get back with you shortly!

Did we mention … we are affordable?

This is Not Business as Usual

This webinar will cover re-opening in Phase 1, 2 and 3 of the Pandemic. The materials and discussions are tailored to an audience of retail, restaurant and hospitality owners. If your concerns are with the loans and financing available now, please look to your local SBDC partner for guidance. This material focuses on safety, sales, marketing, community, best practices and everyday operations during this challenging time. This webinar will be a forthright discussion on how to handle this dilemma.


Years of Experience


Cups of Coffee


Hours Worked


Miles Travelled

We brought Marc to Eastern Kentucky 3 times to visit with businesses in our small towns.  We combined workshops and individual consultation with Marc to increase the impact of his experience with the retail and restaurant sector.  Business owners loved engaging with Marc and many community leaders have reported that Marc’s visit has provided the “spark” they needed to get people engaged and excited about growing their business.  We are planning to bring Marc back and work on more intensive workshops to reach more people.  Every business owner has asked me when Marc is coming back!

Ian Mooers

Economic and Entrepreneur Liason

- Testimonial

Informative and Enthusiastic

Our local businesses always look forward to a visit from Marc Willson. Informative and enthusiastic doesn’t even begin to describe him. The insight he brings is always effective and instills a great sense of working together. The collective efforts he encourages has made a world of difference in the attitudes and outcomes of small business owners, individually and collaboratively. They always want to know when he is coming back!

- Misha, Big Sandy ADD, KY

Business expert speaks in Onancock, VA

Local business owners are invited to attend a presentation by national retail industry consultant Marc Willson about how small town merchants can survive in today’s competitive arena with national chain competition and a lagging economy. Willson was well received by the business owners who were able to attend. There were over 50 attendees.

- Exmore, VA

In Agreement

Willson looked around and made recommendations on lighting, product displays and promoting products. “you’re just not competing with other gift stores”, he said. “You’re competing for everyone’s dollar.” Thompson nodded in agreement. “As a consumer, I know,” she said.

- Eastern Shore News – Keller, VA

I totally enjoyed your visit!

I just got off the phone with the Kilgore Economic Development Director, telling about you! In a town like Kilgore, being Economic Development Director comes with a busy schedule. You got us fired up! Patsy and I talked 4 hours after you left. Ways we can unify the merchants even more, training possibilities and getting you back. It felt so hurried. I still have so many more questions. I have such a big picture in mind for this town, just need a road map. I see so many possibilties for this place. You are completely delightful to work with. I understand why you do so well with this line of work. You won over everyone you met- they smiled when you came in the door. I really appreciate your enthusiasm, kindness and directness.

- Fallon Burns – City of Kilgore, TX

A Solid Foundation for Our Business

I have worked with Casey Willson in three different companies now, including Zipcar in Washington, D.C. and D.C. On The FLY. The strategic quidance, financial planning, and hands on training with staff has been invaluable in building a solid foundation for our bussinesses nand/or taking them to the next level. From reinforcing management basics, to human resource quidance, growth planning and more, this program has been key for me professionally.

- Gabe Klein, Former Director – District Department of Transportation, Washington D.C.

Training & Experience

I wanted to offer a few comments on the Community Walk-Through Inventory.  I think it is always helpful to hear perceptions from someone who does not live or work here.  This is particularly the case, such as with Marc, where he has the training and experience from other communities to make informed observations.  I found the form of value,  and I will use this in meeting with the city’s Department of Public Works as we develop a Master Downtown Streetscape Plan.

- Eddie Bumbaugh, Executive Director – Harrisonburg Renaissance VA

Extraordinarily Fortunate

I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have come to the attention of Casey Willson. His expertise, contacts, teaching skills and staunch support in placing my company in an exponentially better position to receive funding!

- BethAnn Lederer, LEED AP – Working Wonders LLC

Yankee Efficiency

Marc has Yankee efficiency with southern charm!

- Earnie Porta, Mayor of Occoquan, Virginia

Your partnership is invaluable!

Thank you for contributing to a sucessful toolkit. As always, you were well received. I know the VMS communities are pleased to have you back again for the merchant workshops. Your partnership, along with the VASBSC, is invaluable. Keep up the great work!

- Kyle H. Myer, CDP Administrator – Department of Housing & Community Development

His Tips are Gold

Marc Willson is a fabulous retail consultant. We have never in the past had such positive responses from a consultant as we had when Marc came to town. He gives an unbiased, real time assessment of the business and offers suggestions on improving sales. His tips are gold and backed up by years of retail experience. I highly recommend his services!!!

- Brad Bunt, Director – Kilgore College SBDC

Marc has been an wonderful addition to the Virginia program!

The Virginia SBDC has engaged Marc Willson as a retail business consultant since 2009.  He has been an incredible resource for our SBDCs and the independent retailers in downtowns and Main Streets ever since. Marc’s real world experience in a wide variety of retail organizations gives him immediate credibility with business owners.  His friendly nature puts owners at ease and open to hear his critique and recommendations — 86% reported they implemented his suggestions and they are better retailers.  The local SBDCs are quick to call on Marc for presentations, onsite consultations and retail industry trends and best practices.

- Jody Keenan, Director – Virginia SBDC Network

What's in it for You?

We are extraordinary people who have walked in your shoes for years. We made lots of mistakes, but we learned from them. Let us give you a candid, completely confidential assessment of your business's strengths and weaknesses from a different perspective. Oh, by the way, we are affordable.

Small Town & Merchant Program (STAMP)

Reserve a Visit

Contact us today for your complimentary consultation of your business and marketing plans or one of our small-town assessments guaranteed to launch your company or town to the next level.