PCDC Digital Development Grants Give Boost to New, Existing Businesses

PCDC Digital Development Grants Give Boost to New, Existing Businesses

PCDC Digital Development Grants Give Boost to New, Existing Businesses


Originally published on August 19th, 2020 by the Phelps County Development Corporation Here

Holdrege pt ribbon cutting

PCDC has awarded grants to 15 Phelps County businesses to help launch or step up their game in the digital world.

The grants were announced in March as part of a larger economic stimulus package related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Phelps County retailers, restaurants, hospitality and service could apply for up to $1,000 grants to create a website or online store, advertise an online store, purchase point-of-sale software or become a member of GROW Nebraska or the Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce.

Brandon Smith, owner of the new Holdrege PT, said it has been challenging to open a new business during the pandemic. He opened the doors to his new physical therapy and sports rehab business on August 3 in the Johnson Building in downtown Holdrege.

“When we started this process, I felt that by August the pandemic would be pretty well contained and things would be back to normal,” Smith said. “I think we were all very hopeful. It hasn’t turned out that way.”

A digital development grant from PCDC has helped.

“The PCDC digital development grant has enabled us to launch our website (http://holdregept.com/) and advertise on Facebook, radio station 96.9 and in newspapers,” Smith said. “This enabled us to reach a lot of people around Phelps County. We have already had many positive reviews from patients and support from the community. We have had someone say they heard about us from each of the areas we advertised on.”

PCDC also awarded digital development grants to Ashley Brock to help launch two new businesses this summer: The Crystal Leaf and Serenity Studios. With that grant, Brock purchased a point-of-sale system and joined the Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce and GROW Nebraska.

“Having those grant funds to establish that first year of membership in both of those wonderful organizations has been incredible,” Brock said.

The Crystal Leaf sells teas and other healing products, and Serenity Studios is where Brock provides music instruction.

Jennifer Weber, owner of Pretty and Fabulous in Bertrand, was one of the first business owners to apply for and receive a PCDC digital development grant. Because of the time demands involved in being a business owner, Jennifer had been putting off much-needed improvements to her website.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, having her products on her website became a bigger priority. The PCDC grant allowed her to make those improvements.

“I wanted to make updates to my website,” Weber said. “Getting that grant gave me the funding to pay someone to do it.”

Weber has been in business since 2012 and has operated out of a storefront in downtown Bertrand since 2017. She creates unique t-shirts, offers custom t-shirt designs, screen printing and other types of printing on cups, mugs, phone cases, etc. She also consigns products such as clothes, candles, distressed furniture and gifts from her boutique.

Weber used a portion of the grant to join the Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce to support the local business community and to benefit from chamber e-mail blasts and being listed on the chamber’s website.

The grant also encouraged businesses to join GROW Nebraska, which Weber also did. GROW Nebraska is a non-profit organization that helps Nebraska businesses through training, technical assistance, promotion and access to markets.

Weber has already participated in GROW trainings and is looking forward to learning more about SEO rankings and how to improve her digital presence and reach a wider audience with GROW’s help.

Visit her website at https://prettyandfabulous.mybigcommerce.com/

Other Phelps County businesses that received digital development grants are Gifts & Things, The Drawer, The Salon Experience, Mystic Images, Divine Boutique, The 308 Boutique, Holdrege Golf Carts, Sky Dive Atlas, Lost Way Brewery, The Sail Inn and Diamond Exterminating.

As of mid-August, PCDC had more than $2,000 left in the digital development grant fund. To apply for a grant, business owners should contact Stacy Pafford at Stacy@PhelpsCountyNE.com or (308) 995-4148.

GROW Nebraska® Foundation is a statewide non-profit training and marketing organization. Serving over 400 Nebraska small businesses, the organization provides marketing opportunities, education, and training to launch and connect Nebraska businesses to the global marketplace. GROW Nebraska’s educational programs receive federal and state funding, along with generous support from foundations and individual donors.

Kristine Jacobson, GROW Creative Writer, Selected as President’s Priceless Pick by Reed McClymont, PCDC President

Kristine Jacobson, GROW Creative Writer, Selected as President’s Priceless Pick by Reed McClymont, PCDC President

Kristine Jacobson, GROW Creative Writer, Selected as President’s Priceless Pick by Reed McClymont, PCDC President

This story was published by the Phelps County Development Corporation

Reed McClymont, president of the Phelps County Development Corporation board of directors, announced today that Kristine Jacobson is his selection for the 2019 President’s Priceless Pick.

Each year, a community member that has demonstrated sustained dedication in support of PCDC’s mission is honored by the sitting president. In announcing his selection for the preceding year, McClymont pointed to Jacobson’s contributions to PCDC’s marketing and publicity efforts. “Kristine is a gifted writer who helps refine our message. Phelps County has a higher profile because of her, and as an organization we’re more effective,” he went on to say.

Jacobson is a native of Holdrege and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in journalism. She started her career in daily newspapers where she’s worked as a reporter and editor. She also taught newspaper design classes at the University of Nebraska at Kearney before moving onto working in the nonprofit world. She was an original staff member at the YMCA of the Prairie in Holdrege and served as the marketing director and then executive director of the YMCA (now the Don Sjogren Community YMCA).

In 2014, Kristine started a public relations business (KRJPR) where she helps organizations like PCDC to achieve their communications and publicity goals. In addition to on-demand writing assignments, she serves as the editor for the widely read Phelps County Business Journal, distributed quarterly to every address in Phelps County and also the monthly E-Newsletter published by PCDC.

Ron Tillery, executive director of PCDC, endorsed McClymont’s choice by saying “Kristine is someone we can count on to help at a moment’s notice to craft messages that resonate with the intended audience. She’s a valued member of our team that we can always count on.”

Kristine and her husband, Chadd, recently celebrated 25 years of marriage. They have three children, Sam, 20; Andrew, 16; and Ella, 15. Kristine volunteers in multiple community activities including Godteens as a leader, Phelps County Extension Board, Phelps County Visitor’s Committee consulting member, Chapter H P.E.O., and the PCDC Retail Recruitment Committee. 

Jacobson joins past recipients that include Fred Diedrichsen, Stacy Pafford, Tim Anderson, Reed McClymont, Tim Rehm, Michele High and Doug Stevenson. Usually, the President’s Priceless Pick is announced at PCDC’s Annual Meeting & Banquet, which was postponed this year due to Directed Health Measures related to COVID-19.

The Phelps County Development Corporation works together with investor partners to grow a vibrant Phelps County economy. PCDC’s work includes attracting residents, recruiting new and retaining existing businesses and manufacturers, securing a quality workforce and promoting Phelps County as a great place to live, work and conduct business. PCDC is funded through private investors supplemented by program income from LB840, approved by voters, which directs city sales tax proceeds to economic development.