I always enjoy visiting with Nebraskans and seeing the exciting developments happening across our state. As part of a recent state work period, I had the chance to spend the day in Hastings and participate in a series of business tours. In this week’s column, I’d like to tell you a little bit about what I saw that day.
My first stop in Hastings was with Small Town Famous, a “modern” general store and screen-printing shop with great staff. Many of their fun products and custom apparel celebrate the state of Nebraska.
I toured their shop and production facility with co-owner, Jacque Cranson, who explained how the business started in her home before expanding to downtown Hastings.
I even had the chance to print my very own t-shirt at their shop. Jacque has some great ideas and I am excited to see what’s in the future for this store. Small Town Famous is a participating member of this year’s Nebraska Passport program, a wonderful initiative to help travelers discover Nebraska’s many hidden gems, so be sure to stop in and get your passport stamped.
Next I went to The Art Bar, where we met owner Cortney Davis. Cortney and I discussed inflation and other challenges facing small businesses across the country.
While there, I enjoyed The Art Bar’s signature latte and it was delicious. It was heartwarming to see firsthand the pleasure the business gets from serving their loyal customers. Cortney also has some great ideas for future ways to encourage people to have unique experiences in downtown Hastings.
The final portion of the business tour was with Gary Michael’s Clothiers, which is owned by Trish Ludemann and Tammy Valentin and founded by Michael Nevrivy. This business is a positive addition for any Nebraska community, especially one the size of Hastings, and it has an inventory of men’s and women’s clothing that is very impressive.
During my visit, we discussed the history of the business and how downtown Hastings has evolved. They also highlighted some of the impacts tangled supply chains are still having on their store’s operations.
Later that day, I also had the chance to sit down with members of Allo Communications, a Nebraska-based company working to provide communities with access to fiber-optics. Allo serves over one million people across three states, with operations in 28 cities. President Brad Moline and his team talked about various projects and investments they are making across our state.
These are businesses of different sizes that offer different products and services, but they have certain things in common – an entrepreneurial spirit, a can-do attitude, and a vision for the future. It’s inspiring to see many business owners tap into their talents and work hard.
In doing so, they are able to support their community, grow the local economy, and follow their dreams.
It is especially wonderful to see the next generation of young entrepreneurs making communities like Hastings their home. Because of people like them, the future of this community is very bright. I can not wait to see all the growth that Hastings will see in the next several years.
Nebraskans are known for their hard work, determination, and grit. I am proud to represent our state and will continue to fight for policies at the federal level that support entrepreneurship and innovation.
I want to thank the many business owners I met with for taking the time to share their stories with me and show me around. It was a good day to be on the road in Nebraska.