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Lots of Facebook likes and looks for meat in the raw

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How about we make a run to Bemidji and load up on some bacon wrapped stuffed chops, pictured above?

Stittsworth Meats of Bemidji is turning heads and teasing appetites among thousands of new Facebook friends. The mom-and-pop meat market routinely posts luscious looking pictures of roasts, chops and steaks – mostly in the raw.

As of Monday afternoon, the shop’s Facebook page had 16,330 likes. Forum News Service puts the number in context by noting the number of followers exceeds the entire population of Bemidji by more than 2,500.

The shop’s owner, Mychal Stittsworth, fired up the page to boost foot traffic, and it's worked.

“I didn’t really realize the following we were going to get,” he said.

Stittsworth's business was one of a dozen businesses profiled in a report by Impact 20/20, a group connected with the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. The Bemidji Pioneer reported that the Impact 20/20 project was designed to show how rural businesses have expanded because of their access to high-speed Internet access. The report showed how even seemingly low-tech businesses can benefit from high-tech tools and an inexpensive social media strategy.

“Stop for just a moment and think of one of the lowest-tech businesses you can think of: a man with a cleaver,” said Nancy Vyskocil, president of the foundation. “Every business can benefit from using these tools. Just get creative. Be who you are, and present yourself that way."

“A Study of Business Broadband Use in Northwest Minnesota” argues that broadband is as important to today's rural communities as the railroad was a century ago. Rural businesses are still less connected compared to their urban counterparts. Among Minnesota's rural businesses, 58 percent have their own websites and 69 percent say they have employees who use broadband. Among urban businesses, those numbers are 79 percent and 75 percent.

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