Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 8, 2013

Reality TV's new stars: Small businesses

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His name is on a line of cake mixes, kits and pans sold at Michaels, the arts and crafts store. His face is on cartons of Blue Bunny ice cream that have pieces of cakes mixed in. He teamed up with Godiva, the chocolate maker, to create limited edition cake truffles. In January, Goldman designed a nine-tiered cake for President Barack Obama's inauguration.

Last year he opened a bakery in Los Angeles, called Charm City Cakes West. He says he is "strongly" considering a return to reality TV.

The publicity is hard to give up. The shows are essentially a free weekly national commercial for a small business. "There's no better way to increase exposure," says Jai Manselle, the founder of Manselle Media, a brand development and public relations company that has clients in the entertainment industry.

Manselle says that entrepreneurs considering reality TV should make sure the show will portray the business in a positive light. "If the show makes you look unprofessional, that may not be good," he says. Manselle turned down an offer to turn his marketing business into a reality show last year because it didn't feel right, but he is still open to the idea.

"If it's not going to benefit the brand, don't do it," says Manselle. "The whole reason you're doing this is to make money."

Lynnae Schneller is hoping her family-run pickle business gets the green light. Schneller was approached by a production company to film a five-minute pilot that is being pitched to networks.

"I've never had a desire to be on reality TV, but from a business standpoint I can't turn it down," says Schneller, who started Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles in Tacoma, Wash. in 2011. "We could never afford that kind of exposure."

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