Agriculture Fuels Central Nebraska Business Success
While Grand Island is now officially a metropolitan area, its strength still comes from agriculture.
All three of the big award winners at the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce 2013 Annual Meeting have direct ties to agriculture.
That includes a pair of retailers fueled by farming.
"We just needed the room, basically doubled our square footage," Manager Brandon Kleier said of Western Edge.
They're scooting' lots of boots these days, after the store underwent a major overhaul.
Kleier said, "Opening up the store and giving it a facelift made a big difference - everyone's coming in and seeing what we're doing."
And it has increased sales to boot.
"And it's so mainstream, so much more than just boots and jeans anymore, so much ladies stuff," Kleier said.
The same's true at a store for those who bleed John Deere green, who can find about anything they want in the huge new showroom at Green Line Equipment.
Greg Rerucha said, "With all the lines John Deere carries now, multitude of Gators to the number of lawn mowers, to clothing to home and workshop products to toys plus ag stuff with bolts and mud flaps and tool boxes to meet farmers needs."
Green Line invested around $4 million in a 65,000 facility, possibly the biggest John Deere dealership in the state.
"As far as a farm store goes, it's not what you'd expect," Rerucha said.
For those efforts, Green Line has been named the Grand Island Chamber's "Partner in Progress", while Western Edge is the "Small Business of the Year."
In both cases, agriculture fuels their success and powers central Nebraska.
Rerucha, of Green Line praised farmers for being "progressive," and said the store had to follow their lead.
He said, "They've had a good run the last three years. They're very good at what they do and we felt our old facility wasn't holding our end of the bargain, wasn't being held up at that building."
The third honoree is the Children's Groundwater Festival. The event was founded nearly 30 years ago in Grand Island and has been duplicated in 40 countries around the world to teach kids about natural resources.