NPPD Partnership with GROW Nebraska has positive impacts all over the state
Last holiday season, Nebraska Public Power District’s partnership with GROW Nebraska put Nebraska-made gifts in the hands of almost 1,700 families.
In lieu of a 2020 holiday party, and to celebrate its 50th anniversary, NPPD decided to send out holiday gift baskets to each of its employees. By partnering with GROW Nebraska for the project, the power company also gave a gift to small business around the state.
Employees could pick and choose from a variety of different Nebraska-made items, from local businesses, customizing their boxes to their personal preferences. GROW employees then hand packed the boxes with those selections and sent them out to roughly 1,700 employees in time to go under the tree.
But the impact of those presents extended far beyond those who were given a package tied up with string.
GROW would like to share a few other numbers to consider:
This is the number of small businesses around Nebraska that got an extra boost in holiday sales thanks to these gift boxes.
Undoubtedly, 2020 was a difficult year for many businesses, particularly for small businesses whose products are typically gifts. But rather than being a life raft that helped these small Nebraska businesses float into 2021, for some, these boxes were a business boom.
“For some of these businesses, we sold more for them through this NPPD project than we have sold for them over a couple of years,” said GROW Nebraska CEO Janell Anderson Ehrke.
RCK Creations, located in Alda, sold around 1,200 tumblers. Nutt Family Jellies completely sold out of their inventory. The list goes on and on, and employees are even continuing to make other purchases on BuyNebraska.com.
“It made all the difference,” Anderson Ehrke said.
One of the many reasons to Shop Small and Shop Local is that more of the money spent there stays in the community. According to Local First’s 2008 “Local Works!” economic study by Civic Economics, $68 for every $100 spent at a local business stays in the community.
Comparatively, when that same $100 is spent at a non-local business, only $43 stays in the community.
Through this project, businesses in 23 communities were involved, meaning 23 towns across the state, most of which are in NPPD’s service area, saw an extra economic boost. By sourcing these gift items locally, 58% more money stayed in Nebraska cities.
And local businesses who support other local businesses compound this impact, like in how GROW chose to use Nebraska-based Brown Transfer to ship the gift boxes, or how the foundation contracted work from Computers All Around in Broken Bow in order to set up the system where gift-receivers could customize their boxes. Choices like that kept even more business in-state, and benefitted even more Nebraskans.
The number of people involved with packing the boxes themselves is difficult to count, but four full time GROW Nebraska staff, five part time employees who were hired specifically to help with this project, and half a dozen volunteers spent time carefully hand packing each box of gifts.
One set of volunteers, the mother and aunt of one of GROW’s part-timers, packed boxes from 6 p.m. to midnight one night. GROW’s newest full time employee, Clarissa Feldman, put in more than 50 hours of overtime her first weeks on the job to ensure the hundreds of packages reached families in time for the holidays.
There were so many boxes, in fact, that GROW had to rent out an apartment on the Younes Campus in Kearney just to have room for the gifts and people packing them.
“Although it was a lot of work, the reward was greater,” Feldman said. “Bringing joy to all thee employees during the coronavirus pandemic, plus being able to support these 28 small businesses and hear the stories of how it affected their business. Some of them were almost bright to tears when they described the year that they had and how the NPPD project helped them keep the lights on.”
It’s difficult to count the number of people impacted by NPPD’s generous gift box campaign this holiday season, but the impact is undoubtedly a positive one.
GROW Nebraska, its members, and all those involved in bringing this project to life want to thank NPPD for working with us. We all look forward to the opportunity to partner again and touch even more Nebraskans’ lives for the better.