Gary’s QuickSteak named 2021 Best Local Product by Russ’s Market

Gary’s QuickSteak named 2021 Best Local Product by Russ’s Market

Gary’s QuickSteak named 2021 Best Local Product by Russ’s Market 

Baker's Candies Nebraska box

Kearney, Neb. — GROW Nebraska is thrilled to congratulate Glenn Valley Foods for receiving Russ’s Market’s Best Local Product Award for 2021! The award was presented on July 15 at GROW’s annual MarkeTech Conference in Kearney, Nebraska.

The Best Local Product Award was established in 2018 by 501(c)3 nonprofit, GROW Nebraska and Russ’s Market — an employee-owned grocery fixture in the state of Nebraska — in order to highlight what they consider to be an exemplary local business in the state. These award winners display dynamic marketing strategies and diligent promotion of their products, which can also be found on the shelves of Russ’ Market.

This year’s winner, Glenn Valley Foods of Omaha, Neb., might be better-recognized by its top-selling product: Gary’s QuickSteak.

“Gary’s QuickSteak — they do a great job of promoting their products in our stores,” said Director of Marketing for Russ’s Market, Marty Jarvis. “They work with us on advertising support, and give us bunkers with videos that talk about the product. On Facebook and other social media, they spread the word that their product is in our stores. They’ve also been at the Russ’s Wine and Food experience with their samples. They don’t let their product just sit on the shelves.”

Gary Rohwer, a restaurant industry veteran, has been active in Nebraska’s restaurant landscape since the early 1980s when he created what he deemed a “quicker cooking and higher quality steak” for his cheesesteak restaurant chain in Lincoln. Eventually creating the popular PepperJax Grill and forming Glenn Valley Foods, Gary’s extensive contributions have culminated in Gary’s QuickSteak, a top-quality beef, chicken, and corned beef offering that cooks from frozen to ready-to-eat in minutes.

When asked about Glenn Valley Foods’ approach to promotion, VP of Marketing Jeff Bell said, “Really it makes my job easy — the product stands on its own. It’s high quality, cooks from frozen in minutes, and provides incredibly versatile meal choices.”

Because the company is relatively new, however, Jeff explained that, “Our goal is to get it out there to the marketplace. We’d like our product to become a household name, and so we don’t just get on the shelf and think our work is done. We’re going to the grocery partners and introducing our product, sending samples, telling them our story; we’re a family-owned business right here in the Midwest.”

GROW Nebraska and Russ’s Market are proud to partner on this award, and continue in their dedication to support and promote the local businesses and business owners who enrich life and the economy of our state.  

Russ’s Market has been a member of GROW Nebraska since 2009. B&R Stores, Inc., was founded in 1964 by Russ Raybould. During the past 55 years, the company has grown to include 20 stores under several banners including Russ’s Market, Super Saver, and Apple Market located in Nebraska and Iowa. 

GROW Nebraska is a nonprofit membership organization, serving over 400 Nebraska small businesses. The organization provides market access, education, and training to launch and connect Nebraska businesses to the global marketplace. GROW Nebraska’s educational programs and scholarship opportunities are funded in part by federal and state funding, along with generous support from foundations and individual donors.

Story by Lauren Bonk, owner of the Curtain and Pen Copywriting Services, a GROW Nebraska member. Lauren hails from Kearney, NE, where she works as a freelance copywriter for small businesses, startups, and even larger corporate entities in need of professionally-written marketing content for their businesses and organizations. 

Social Media & Customer Service in Today’s Digital World | GROW Nebraska’s Free Monthly Webinar Series

Social Media & Customer Service in Today’s Digital World | GROW Nebraska’s Free Monthly Webinar Series

GROW Nebraska’s® FREE Online Training

Social Media and Customer Service in Today’s Digital World

How to Livestream Your Business to New Customers

Join GROW Nebraska for this Q&A-format training on how to use customer service to turn around a small business. Hear from Kari Printz, a small business owner who has put these tactics into action herself at her own bakery. In this webinar, you’ll learn all about hands-on customer service, whether you’re interacting with customers through Facebook or face-to-face.

You will learn:

  • How to meet customers where they are
  • The irreplaceable value of a simple smile
  • How small businesses can thrive in today’s environment

Kari is the owner of Ktown Cakery here in downtown Kearney. This summer she will relocate her business to a new location and will be expanding to include kitchen retail. In addition to her local business ownership, Kari juggles a role with Elanco Animal Health where she works on their global food policy team, advocating for US beef production. Prior to her work at Elanco, Kari held business analytic and operations roles at Overton Veterinary Services and the meat processing company now known as JBS. Kari volunteers at her local church as both a Sunday school teacher and a women’s Bible Study leader. She is a mentor in the Elm Creek schools TeamMates mentoring program and a local 4-H club leader. Kari and her husband, Matt, reside outside of Elm Creek with her two young children, Jameson and Scarlett.

This training is brought to you in part by the Center for Rural Affairs. Its mission is to “Establish strong rural communities, social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and genuine opportunity for all while engaging people in decisions that affect the quality of their lives and the future of their communities.”

GROW Nebraska, partnership with The Rustic Patch help young entrepreneur grow her business, Perfectly Pampered by Alyssa

GROW Nebraska, partnership with The Rustic Patch help young entrepreneur grow her business, Perfectly Pampered by Alyssa

GROW Nebraska, partnership with The Rustic Patch help young entrepreneur grow her business, Perfectly Pampered by Alyssa

Baker's Candies Nebraska box

GROW Nebraska has helped some of the state’s youngest entrepreneurs launch or grow their businesses. From Gracie’s Candles, started by 13-year-old Maddison Grace Brown of Morrill, to JR Lures, which was started by Justin Hoeft of Kearney when he was just 10-years old, GROW supports entrepreneurs of all ages.

GROW Nebraska and one of its longtime members are now helping young Alyssa Onnen of Kearney expand her business, Perfectly Pampered by Alyssa.

Alyssa started her business when she was 11 years old after attending Biz Kidz Camp at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She makes and sells a variety of edible lip scrubs and hydrating body scrubs in scents like Zesty Lemon, Vanilla Brown Sugar and Wedding Mint.

She first sold her products at Kearney’s Night Market, a summer evening event featuring vendors, food and live music. She earned enough money from her sales to repay her parents for sending her to gymnastics camp.

“My previous way of paying for gymnastics camp was mowing the lawn,” Alyssa said. “But I didn’t really enjoy it.”

After that Night Market season ended, Alyssa’s customers still wanted to purchase her products. And, she wanted to continue selling and growing her business. So, Alyssa (with some help from her mom) approached Sonya Griffith, owner of the Rustic Patch in downtown Kearney, about selling her products at the store.  Sonya agreed.

“Sonya has taught me so many things throughout our partnership, but a few of them include the importance of packaging, how to price products, and overall just the mindset of a good entrepreneur,” Alyssa said. “As a young business owner, Sonya has done so much for me, but one of the biggest things she has helped me do is get my business’s name out there.

On several occasions, Sonya invited Alyssa to personally promote her products to customers at the store, which Alyssa enjoyed because she loves visiting with shoppers.

Her most popular product at the Rustic Patch is the Vanilla Brown Sugar body scrub.

Sonya is a long-time GROW Nebraska member and is also a lifelong friend of Alyssa’s mom. She wanted to help her friend’s daughter because she could see the entrepreneurial potential in her.

“(Alyssa) is very outgoing and very driven,” Sonya said. “She designed a product that she knew was going to help individuals with extra dry hands and feet.”

The Rustic Patch sells products created by many area consignors, and Alyssa’s products have been a good fit for the store. They are most popular during the Christmas season and Mother’s Day.

Sonya shared with Alyssa her knowledge of social media marketing and about the basics of operating a business, such as setting up an LLC and paying sales and income taxes.

Alyssa’s connection with the Rustic Patch helped her gain another important connection. The Rustic Patch is a GROW Nebraska member, and Alyssa joined GROW in November 2020.

“Since joining Grow Nebraska, my business has been able to expand to the internet, enabling it to ship globally,” she said.

Through GROW, she also learned how to set up a Google My Business account and how to create a website.

Alyssa is now 13 and is a seventh-grader at Kearney Catholic. Her business is poised for success, and she’d like to expand her product lines to include other beauty/skincare products. She has her eyes set on hiring employees someday to help grow her business.

She also has some goals outside of the business – to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln or UCLA and to compete in college gymnastics.

After college, she hopes to use the lessons she is learning to start another business, possibly in interior design.


Story by Kristine Jacobson, GROW Nebraska member and owner of KRJ Public Relations (, a business that helps non-profits and businesses tell their stories and gain momentum through blogs, newsletters, annual reports, social media and other publications.

Learn all about Making the Digital Pivot at MarkeTech 2021

Learn all about Making the Digital Pivot at MarkeTech 2021

Learn all about Making the Digital Pivot at MarkeTech 2021


KEARNEY – GROW Nebraska’s 2021 MarkeTech Conference is set to be more timely than ever, with a theme aimed at tackling the digital adjustments all businesses were forced to make in 2020. 

MarkTech 2021, held July 15 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney, NE, will be all about Making the Digital Pivot. 

Anchored by two keynote addresses from internet marketing expert David McBee, this year’s conference is aimed at helping businesses and organizations adjust their plans to the new digital world, no matter where they are in the process. 

“For better or worse, the pandemic changed the way we all live. It changed the way all businesses do business. Customers shifted more time, and more of their dollars, online,” said GROW’s Director of Marketing and Business Development Tiffany Stoiber. “Experts are guessing many of the habits formed during the pandemic are here to stay, and GROW Nebraska is here to help businesses adapt to those new habits.”

From experts like McBee to Nebraska entrepreneurs who have made the pivot themselves, MarkeTech 2021 will feature a variety of analysis, advice and new ideas attendees will be able to take with them into the rest of the year and beyond. 

McBee’s keynotes are intended for all audiences, whether listeners are entrepreneurs just starting to make the digital pivot or businesses ahead of the curve who want to make sure their marketing efforts are as effective as they can be. McBee’s morning session will be on Making the Digital Pivot and in the afternoon he will tackle Internet Marketing ROI.

The speaker lineup will also include two panel sessions: one featuring digital marketers and one featuring Nebraska businesses who will share their success stories from 2020. 

Interspliced between these sessions will be numerous networking breaks, a past attendee favorite. Businesses will set up booths to create a “Networking Plaza” where they can share their stories and attendees can hear those stories, see businesses’ products and even grab some samples. 

McBee will also have a booth set up where attendees can meet the keynote speaker and complete a free “Internet Presence Audit” with him. 

Registration for the in-person July 15 conference is now live. GROW Nebraska members can currently attend for $59 per person. The rate for non-members is $159. Early bird rates are currently in effect, and the cost for registration will increase after June 15. 

Members and non-members alike can also register for an exhibitor booth to be set up in the Networking Plaza. Rates are $109 for members and $399 for non-members. Those prices include the booth space plus two conference passes.

Register online and learn more about the conference at Questions may be directed to

About GROW Nebraska

The GROW Nebraska Foundation helps entrepreneurs get the resources they need to live in Anywhere, NE and make a sustainable living. Since the inception of GROW Nebraska in 1998, its vision and mission has never wavered: to create viable economic development through business training, technical assistance, promotion and access to markets. The Foundation creates impactful opportunities for small business owners and entrepreneurs to live in “Anywhere”, Nebraska and make a sustainable living.

GROW Nebraska works with its clients to meet them where they are and move them towards their personal goals. Its services include training and technical assistance through many avenues: workshops (in-person and virtual), streamed and archived educational training opportunities, one-on-one technical assistance and an annual marketing conference, MarkeTech.

All Big Businesses Start Small: Platte Valley Auto

All Big Businesses Start Small: Platte Valley Auto

All Big Businesses Start Small: Platte Valley Auto


Platte Valley Auto

Microsoft and Apple started in garages, and Facebook started in a dorm room.

Meanwhile, Dorothy Lynch started selling her famous salad dressing at a Legion Hall in St. Paul, Nebraska. Todd Booth began his successful automotive business by working in the wash bay at a local car dealership after he graduated from high school.

While GROW Nebraska businesses haven’t reached the magnitude of Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, many have grown from small businesses to successful enterprises that are continually increasing sales, creating jobs and bringing Nebraska to the world.

GROW Nebraska members Dorothy Lynch, Jayhawk Boxes, Baker’s Candies, Platte Valley Auto and Fat Boy BBQ are all successful businesses that started small and have grown tremendously in the past few decades.

Success didn’t happen overnight for these small-town Nebraska businesses. From creating quality products to treating customers well and keeping up with technology, each business has created its own unique path to prosperity. And, for many, GROW Nebraska has played a part in their success.

Platte Valley Auto


-Kearney and Lexington, NE


Todd Booth, the owner of Platte Valley Auto, started in the car business in the wash bay at the local car dealership in Lexington after graduating from high school. He worked his way up through the business becoming a salesman and then an owner.

Booth purchased the business from its owners in 2009 after they retired. Six years ago, he purchased a Ford dealership in Kearney. And, last year he purchased Heartland Chevrolet in Lexington.

Today, Booth’s business consists of Platte Valley Auto in Lexington (400 N. Jefferson St.), Platte Valley Auto in Kearney (4210 2nd Ave.) and Heartland Chevy Buick in Lexington (1111 Plum Creek Pkwy.)

The business sells new Dodge, Jeep, Buick, Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler and Ram vehicles along with used and pre-owned vehicles, which gives customers a large inventory to choose from.

“The ability to continue to grow has been tremendously rewarding to us,” Booth said.

The business employs close to 80 people, and they take pride in providing excellent customer service and giving back to the communities where they do business.

“We take exceptionally good care of our customers with loaner car service, pick-up and delivery, and late-night service,” Booth said. “We just go the extra mile to be sure people are taken care of.”

They also get involved and give to local foundations, organizations, schools, libraries and other special projects.

“We try to be involved to be sure our communities stay stable and continue to grow,” Booth said.

Platte Valley Auto also believes in supporting organizations like GROW Nebraska, where the business has been a member for several years.

“GROW helps us continue to promote and grow our business and sends customers our way that we wouldn’t normally see without them,” Booth said. “We are also excited about opportunities to promote GROW Nebraska.”

For more information about Platte Valley Auto, click here. 

Story by Kristine Jacobson, GROW Nebraska member and owner of KRJ Public Relations, a business that helps non-profits and businesses tell their stories and gain momentum through blogs, newsletters, annual reports, social media and other publications.