Letter to the Editor

Capitalism, competition in Southwest Nebraska

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Dear Editor,

Not being a permanent resident of the region but a person with significant investment interest in the region I would like to expand the conversation Steve Shaner opened with his letter to the editor recently. His letter, as well as follow up comments by Rural Citizen and Nick Mercy all warrant attention.

What is happening in McCook is not unique as far as the retail dynamics have shifted in favor of businesses that can provide services and products at comparable quality and lower prices than the traditional “local outlet.” McCook has experienced it over and over, especially with Walmart’s introduction and most recently Tractor Supply Co.

Strictly from an investors point of view, the current business landscape I would say the following areas are currently crowded; Financial Services (Banks, Insurance, Brokerages, Credit Unions), Auto Dealerships, Hospitality/Fast Food and Hardware/Lumber. Sectors that are under-serviced are Home Care Services, Eco/Agriculture Tourism, Transportation Services and promotion of locally produced products.

The closing of the local Wells Fargo Branch most likely is a result of a “trickle down” effect from significant mistakes made at the highest levels in that company over the past couple years. I’m confident, having worked in this sector for 18 years at a predominant firm in the sector, cost-cutting is rapid with the legal actions against the parent company. This is a perfect example of “be careful of what you wish for.”

To address Rural Citizen in his desire to have large companies come into the area, I have found large companies are much quicker to lay off employees when things go sour and are much more susceptible to economic downturns compared to locally-owned companies.

McCook as a community and the region definitely has significant challenges before it. Prior to efficient agriculture production becoming worldwide, internet commerce and change in demographics, things were fairly stable in the area. Those factors have all changed.

McCook is fortunate in having individuals that have made correct decisions in focusing on medical/healthcare, long-term care, light industrial, education with the college, and the Kiplinger Arena.

I would suggest to the economic leaders in the area to look at expansion in the following areas; Corrections/Rehab (Crime can pay), Call Centers for National Corporations (Central Time Zone is a perfect situation) and Nursing Education.

The economic leaders of the areas I’m sure will slice and dice my comments as they see things. I would just like to see McCook and the regions thrive going forward.


Darrell Meister

McCook Area Bison Rancher

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  • I completely understand and agree. Diversity is the key to growth.

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Jan 2, 2018, at 11:11 AM
  • Several people in the community have been advocating expansion of the Work Ethic Camp in McCook since the state has a prison over crowding problem. The current site is large enough to double in size and the sewer and water are already in place. A construction program is also in place where inmates could help build the expansion which would reduce costs. The State has expanded facilities in the East but no movement on expansion in Western Nebraska. More folks need to encourage the Governor, State Senators and the Director of Corrections to expand the facility and bring another three dozen or so jobs to SW Nebraska.

    -- Posted by dennis on Tue, Jan 2, 2018, at 5:39 PM
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