Executive Director December Update

AREA News, News - 12.20.18

During this holiday season, I have an assignment for you. When you have children or grandkids coming to McCook, or if you know people coming back, ask them a question, “What would it take for you to move back to this area?” After you ask them, let us know.

The MEDC board has identified three priorities through our strategic planning. They include business expansion, retention, and recruitment (with an emphasis on retail), workforce development and attraction, and housing. As a part of workforce development, we want to expose students to the opportunities available and also recruit those who want to move back here if the right opportunity was available. For this to happen, we need to know the opportunities people are looking for and help make the matches happen.

One area we plan to help make matches is with successful business owners that are retiring and individuals who want to purchase a business. In the last half year, we’ve had a handful of business owners visit about exploring business transitions and we wish we had a list of a couple people who are looking to purchase and work in a successful small business. If this would be you, or if this would be someone you know, let us know.

Our major area of focus is the recruitment, retention, and expansion of businesses. When businesses are exploring new sites and when franchises are considering opening up in a new location, one of the first things they want to know is what sites and properties are available. In the past, this happened by sending a request for a proposal to multiple communities. Today, the proposals don’t get sent out, but businesses are still exploring on-line. We’re working to update the commercial and industrial properties we have listed on-line in the community. If you have available properties, let us know so we can get it out through the on-line portal used by communities in Nebraska to get exposure.

Along with the recruitment of new businesses, we’re also busy helping new businesses get started. We’re excited to be partnering with McCook Community College for this year’s Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition. We had 21 strong applications this year and the judging panel narrowed this to 15 semi-finalists. Orientation for this group was help earlier in the month. It is exciting to get this group together and to hear about their new businesses or idea they have for the area. I left excited to see the growth I know will happen for these individuals as they start the business plan class in January.

We’ve also had three new tenants in the Keystone over the last couple months. Nebraska IT is a startup providing IT support for organizations that don’t have IT support. Karen Ackermann has opened an office that provides Reiki, a therapeutic healing modality that helps relax and balance the energy systems in body. Home Instead, which provides in home senior care, has had a presence in McCook and now has a location in the Keystone on the first floor in the southeast corner. We still have two office spaces available and reduced rent for business startups.

The third area we are looking at is to improve our housing stock. It is a challenge all of rural Nebraska is facing and we’ve begun discussions with other communities in Southwest Nebraska to figure out how we can work to come up with regional solutions.

Enjoy the holidays and after you’ve done the assignment I asked in the start of the article, let me know what you learned. Feel free to e-mail me at andy@mccookne.org or call 308-345-1200.