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Andy Long

MEDC Update

An update on the McCook Economic Development Corporation, by Andy Long, executive director.

Consumer analytics, site selection company offers business insight, plans Monday visit

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Our Crock-Pot ran out of juice earlier this week. I put a batch of chili in before I left for work and when my wife checked it later in the day, it was still cold. I visited Knowlen and Yates and first learned that Crock-Pot is a brand name and I was actually looking for a slow cooker. Then, I was shown a multi-cooker that was a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, and Yogurt Maker. It is fantastic!

McCook has one of the best retail pull figures in Nebraska. On a per capita basis, retail sales in McCook are 54% higher than the stateís average per capita sales. This is second best in the state for communities our size. The only one that is higher is York. For a long time, McCook has been the retail hub of Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas. This allows our large national retailers to find success and has also created a market for independent specialized retailers.

Retail is changing. Online retail continues to grow in percentage of sales. We have local long-time retailers who have or are looking to retire. It is important for us to continue to grow our local retail committee. At the MEDC, we have identified this as a top priority.

One avenue we are looking to grow retail is to explore a working partnership with Buxton. Buxton is an industry leader in customer analytics and site selection. They work with communities to help them understand what specific retailers are best suited for sites. Buxton owns sophisticated and granular household-level data, which allows them to provide clients with current snapshots of every household in the trade area. Buxton also offers a service for individual businesses that help them understand who their customers are, where they live, and how to market to them.

Robb Miller, Vice-President of Sales, will be in McCook on Monday, Jan. 28. He will be offering a session to the community to explain their services at 5:15 p.m. at the Keystone 3rd-floor training room. If you are interested, I encourage you to attend to see this service and how it could help our community and individual businesses.

In other MEDC news, I was excited the council approved a $50,000 LB 840 growth fund loan for a business transition. The LB 840 revolving loan fund is used for gap financing for new business startups or to help with a business transition.

If you are looking to start or transition a business, visit with a local lender. Most traditional lenders wonít loan 100% for the business. Thatís where the LB 840 revolving loan fund can help fill the gap.

For many people, the lack of startup capital is one of the biggest hurdles to start or transition a business. People who are interested in buying an existing business sometimes feel it is out of reach since they donít have a stockpile of money.

This isnít always necessary. Iíve seen business owners and lenders work with potential new business owners to find ways to make a business purchase work. If you are interested in purchasing an existing business, please let me know and we can talk about the process (Parents and Grandparents, feel free to forward this to children and grandchildren who have moved away).

There is opportunity here. We may have to be a little more creative because of our location or population, but for generations, hardworking, innovative people have been successful. Our mission at the MEDC is to facilitate the formation, retention, attraction, and expansion of businesses in McCook and the surrounding area.

Let me know if I can help you with this mission, but if Iím busy, it might be because Iím preparing potato soup for the Rotary Soup-er Bowl in my new multi-cooker.

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