Personalized Gifts for Grads and Moms

Personalized Gifts for Grads and Moms

Personalized Gifts for Grads and Moms

Award Keepers

Twenty years ago, Lincoln mom Diane Semrad was tired of her children’s gymnastics and 4-H medals and ribbons being shoved into the backs of drawers and in plastic bags.

“We had spent way too much money and hard work for those awards to just fling them around,” she said. “I wanted them to see how their hard work was paying off.”

So Diane developed the Award Keepers system to organize the chaos. Over a span of five years, she worked with two companies to create a high-quality scrapbook with specially-sized pockets to hold ribbons, certificates, medals and pictures to showcase athletic, academic and artistic endeavors. It is archival quality and easily adaptable to each customer’s needs.

She stored and displayed awards for her two children in the Awards Keeper system and then shared the books at her children’s high school graduation parties.

Diane has sold her Award Keeper system to customers in all 50 states and six foreign countries.

The Award Keeper starter pack includes the album with a 4 X 6 photo exterior frame plus interior pages to hold 40 awards and four team photos or certificates plus a gold journaling pen. The entire book on average can hold 100-120 medals/ribbons depending on the size and weight of the awards. It is available from the Buy Nebraska store in Kearney and on Buy Nebraska at a retail price of $52.50. Extra pages and refill packs can also be ordered.

For more information about Award Keepers, please visit its GROW Nebraska member page here.

RCK Creations

What mom wouldn’t want to drink her morning coffee out of a mug or tumbler that says “World’s Greatest Mom” with her name on it? Or, how about an actual photo of mom or the kids laser engraved on a coaster, mug or leather-bound notebook?

RCK Creations and More in Alda has been creating personalized gifts since 2009 and can engrave on anything from photo frames to cookie jars, wine glasses, mugs, ceramic flower pots, wooden signs and cork coasters.

One of the RCK’s most popular products is the “Mommy’s Sippy Cup” mug. That success has also sparked spinoff products like “Grandma’s Sippy Cup” and “Papa’s Sippy Cup.” The “Mama Bear” tumbler is also popular.

A new product that might appeal to moms or graduates this time of year is a Swiss-army knife type product that includes a can/bottle opener, a small knife and a corkscrew opener. Names, initials or sayings can be etched onto the handle.

Roger Kirkpatrick and his wife, Connie, started RCK Creations in 2009 and expanded to their new building in Alda in 2015. Roger does the etching, while Connie keeps busy with her alteration business, specializing in prom, wedding and other special occasion dresses.

Roger said customers should allow one to two weeks for personalized Mother’s Day or graduation gifts.

RCK products are available in Kearney’s BUY Nebraska store and on their Amazon and BUY Nebraska site.

For contact information to order a personalized product, visit RCK’s GROW Nebraska member page.

Design Haven Graphics 

Give moms, graduates and brides a practical gift for every-day use with an etched-glass product from Design Haven Graphics in Howells.

Mom would never lose a dish again after the church potluck when her dessert or salad is served from a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with her named etched onto it. Smaller 8-by-8 glass dishes with lids make perfect gifts for graduates.

Owner Shawn Hegemann etches names, Bible verses, initials and any custom design onto practical every day products like glass pans and cookie jars. She also makes signs and other designs.

Shawn started the business in 2011 when she needed a way to mark her dishes with something other than masking tape. After she etched a few dishes for herself, her husband and friend encouraged her to start a business making the dishes for others.

“It was something I could do at home in the kitchen during the kids’ naptime,” Shawn said.

Design Haven’s personalized 9-by-13-inch glass Pyrex baking dish with a lid retails on GROW’s Buy Nebraska site for $39.95. See some of Design Haven’s products here.

Shawn encourages customers to order personalized gifts at least two to three weeks ahead of time to allow for on-time delivery.

To order a customized gift from Design Haven, visit Shawn’s GROW Nebraska member web page.

Story by Kristine Jacobson, KRJPR




KEARNEY – The GROW Nebraska store in Kearney’s Hilltop Mall is moving to the Younes campus in the space formerly occupied by Mac’s Creek Wine Bar in Kearney. The GROW store officially opens at the new location at 421 W. Talmadge Road No. 1 on Monday, October 1.


“We are excited about this new location close to the interstate and the new traffic it will bring to our store,” GROW Nebraska CEO Janell Anderson Ehrke said.


The GROW Nebraska store features more than 3,000 products created by 288 Nebraska entrepreneurs. Products range from t-shirts and books to lotions and barbecue sauces. Top-selling products at the store are Big Red Popcorn on the cob, Great Plains Honey Farm Kettle Corn, Preferred Popcorn (Cheese), Rowdy’s Hard Tack Jerky and Hilger’s Agri-Natural Hulles Gourmet Popcorn. The store serves as a showcase of products made by some of GROW’s 400 plus members. It has been located at the Hilltop Mall since 2005.


With the move, the GROW Nebraska store is changing its name to BUY Nebraska to coincide with the organization’s online shopping site that features more than 3,500 made-in-Nebraska products.


The move will also allow GROW Nebraska to create a dedicated space for its new Innovation Center that will provide onsite training and education for members. The GROW Nebraska Innovation Center is made possible through a grant from the Peter Kiewit Foundation. Read more about the GROW Nebraska e-Commerce and Marketing Innovation Center here.


Paul Younes, president of Younes Hospitality, said the location should be a great match for GROW Nebraska.

“We are looking forward to having them here,” he said. “I think it will be great to have them here with all the convention traffic we have.”


With the continuing addition of new restaurants and hotels in south Kearney, Younes said the new location will give GROW Nebraska more exposure and new customers.


“Here, they can expand their market with people from all across the state and people driving across the country on the interstate,” Younes said.


GROW Board Member President Rodney Whipple of Arapahoe said he also is excited about the new exposure this move will bring to members’ products.


“This is an exciting time for GROW Nebraska,” Whipple said. “With our 20th anniversary this year, it seems like a fitting time to find a personal location for GROW Nebraska.”


The store will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 24/7 online at

GROW Nebraska is an educational non-profit organization headquartered in Oxford that empowers entrepreneurs through business training, technical assistance, promotion and market opportunities. It provides education and training to individuals and small business owners across Nebraska, with an emphasis on economically depressed areas, to create sustainable economic development and marketing opportunities. GROW is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018.