Hormel Family Foundaton Business Plan Winner Announced

Friday, June 12, 2009
The winner of this year's Hormel Family Foundation is The Kloset, a resale store proposed by Ashley Hagan, left, Jeffrey Dusatko, and Stephanie Hagan-Dusatko.

The judges of this year's Hormel Family Foundation Business Plan Competition had their work cut out for them Friday afternoon as they tried to determine the best presentation to win a $25,000 cash investment in exchange for a minority stake in the business. After listening to six well-presented business plans, and deliberating for about one hour, they made their decision. The winner of this year's competition is The Kloset, a business proposed by Stephanie Hagan-Dusatko, Jeffrey Dusatko, and Ashley Hagan.

The Kloset will be a resale store located in McCook, specializing in new and gently used name-brand clothing. The store will purchase, for the purpose of reselling, used goods from individuals, garage sales, flea markets, online resources, or even other resellers.

The three principal players in the business are familiar with McCook and the surrounding area. They attended high school in McCook and Culbertson, and then moved in opposite directions to pursue their college educations and careers. But they still have strong ties to the area and are enthusiastic about starting their business in McCook. And each brings a different area of expertise that will help the business succeed in the future.

Ashley Hagan is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a double major in Marketing and Real Estate. She is currently a real estate agent in Omaha, but she also has four years of experience in the retail clothing industry. Ashley graduated from Culbertson High School in 2004.

Jeffrey Dusatko is a graduate of McCook High School (class of 1996) and the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He is currently employed as a Senior Credit Analyst in Denver, CO and also has retail sales experience in his professional career.

Stephanie Hagan-Dusatko lives in Denver with her husband, Jeffrey, where she is Vice President at a business and computer consulting firm. She graduated from Culbertson High School in 1998 and Nebraska Wesleyan University with a degree in Computer Information Systems. She will bring the operations experience to The Kloset.

The three plan on hiring two or three employees to staff the resale clothing establishment. They intend to carry brands and styles that are not currently available in the McCook area. They emphasize that The Kloset is not a thrift store -- they will only carry good quality brand-name and designer fashions. They have been dreaming about and planning for their business for over a year. "The competition motivated us to get our thoughts together in a clear and concise plan," said Stephanie. "We're excited for the opportunity. We can't wait to get started. We want to thank the Hormel Family Foundation for making this possible."

Other plans presented include:

Spotlight Studios by Cody and Amanda Dame. The couple are in the process of opening a center for performing arts -- starting with dance classes for young and not-so-young. They intend on offering tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, ballroom and pointe. Future goals include gymnastics, tumbling, and fitness based programs such as Yoga and Pilates.

Brickstreet Diner by Scott Kacsh. Mr. Kacsh presented a business plan to use his 20 years of experience in the food service industry to open a restaurant in downtown McCook. His goal is to offer a unique and trendy menu, including high quality gourmet pizza, pasta, and specialty sandwiches.

Database Solutions by Steven Shaner. Mr. Shaner provides customized database management software to clients. Many off-the-shelf software packages do not meet the specialized needs of businesses, and Shaner can develop database programs that can fill those needs.

Engineering International by Jeff Tidyman. Tidyman, a licensed architectural engineer, would like to make his firm more competitive by updating software and further developing his client base.

MW Design Studio by Mathew Winder. Winder wants to provide clients with cutting edge design for web sites, brochures, logos and brands through a web and print graphic design studio.

This year's judges were Rex Nelson, Executive Director of the McCook Economic Development Corporation; Jim Ulrich, CEO of Community Hospital; Mark Graff, Chairman of McCook National Bank; Dr. Richard C. Tubbs, Vice President of McCook Community College; Dan Hoffman, Executive Director of Invest Nebraska Corporation; and Ben Hormel Harris, Foundation board member and co-founder of the Nebraska-based private equity fund Nebraska Heavy Industries. The Hormel Family Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to McCook Community College. All potential proceeds from the foundation's stake in the winning business are exclusively for the benefit of McCook Community College.

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  • I would of rather seen spotlight studios win. I want to be able to send my kids to dance and gymnastics lessons. The only place I know of that has those programs is 40 miles away. I think McCook would better benefit dance lessons than another clothing store.

    -- Posted by HB on Sat, Jun 13, 2009, at 12:29 PM
  • I agree with HB. I think that the area would have better benefited from the spotlight studios. Robin's School of Dance is available for dance but there is nothing for gymnastics or the fitness based programs. I don't live in the area anymore but when I was around I absolutely would have used the spotlight studios for myself and my daughter who loves to tumble and dance.

    -- Posted by FormerMcCookie on Sat, Jun 13, 2009, at 1:24 PM
  • I know that Cody and Amanda are still in the works of opening up the dance studio. There is a lot of demand for it here in McCook. While I was hoping for them to win as well. I am really excited for this years winners and hope they can really bring a good successful business into town and wish them the best of luck!

    -- Posted by TannerLytle on Sat, Jun 13, 2009, at 3:55 PM
  • I used to live in McCook, now I'm in Omaha. We have a store in Omaha similar to what The Kloset will be. My teenage daughter loves to shop there. As a mother of a teenager, the prices are wonderful. I would have loved to have had The Kloset in McCook when I was younger. I know we will shop there when we visit. Great idea!!

    -- Posted by lorimo on Sat, Jun 13, 2009, at 5:50 PM
  • I think The Kloset is an excellent idea. We need more trendy clothing stores. Good Luck!!

    -- Posted by LR on Sat, Jun 13, 2009, at 10:19 PM
  • This will be great for McCook! I grew up in McCook, but live in Kearney now. McCook needs a store like this so that people will stay in McCook to shop. Congratulations!

    -- Posted by gioms on Mon, Jun 15, 2009, at 11:50 AM
  • Well, if it works for the intent of the Hormel Family Foundation and helps improve the community, then more power to them. If their used stuff is cheap enough to make them an option alongside JCPenney's or Wal-Mart- well, at least JCPenney's- then I'd try it. I just hope it goes better than that online clothing store that won last year.

    -- Posted by bjo on Mon, Jun 15, 2009, at 2:49 PM
  • *

    The funding by the Hormel Foundation is a tremendous way to encourage businesses to write a business plan. Even those that did not win now have a well prepared business plan that will be vital to the establishment or growth of the business.

    The competition benefits not only the winner but the competing businesses along with the community.

    -- Posted by ksfarmer on Mon, Jun 15, 2009, at 8:19 PM
  • What did happen to last years winner? Why hasn't there been an update like all of Game On's updates?

    -- Posted by mccookie on Mon, Jun 22, 2009, at 5:11 PM
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