The backbone of the community

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Retailers are the backbone of any community. Most people got their first jobs at a retail establishment, whether that was within the food industry or some other retail outlet. Retailers are the first ones we look to when garnering support for local charities or community events. Retailers make our communities vibrant and attractive for not only residents but also for visitors. In Nebraska, retailers account for 14 percent of our gross domestic product.

In McCook, say the word “retailer,” and Linda Taylor comes to mind. Linda has been a strong advocate for the retail sector of the community and region, using her persuasive influence to campaign for better roads and air service, attractive signage, community improvements, and strong commerce.

She has been honored on both the state and national level for her many contributions and tireless spirit.

Linda and her husband, Doug, took the plunge into the McCook retail scene back in 1983, when they opened a video rental store. Because there were no store-front properties available at the time, the Taylor’s renovated a house to look like a castle at 305 West 10th Street and rented movies under the name Video Kingdom. They also supplied movies to stores in surrounding communities, swapping them out on a monthly basis.

It only took three years before the Taylor’s outgrew the castle. By that time, they were also selling televisions, VCRs, and other electronic equipment. The move to West B Street allowed them to expand their electronics repair shop. They remained in that location for 26 years, and the name was changed to VK Electronics.

In 2012, VK moved once again, to their current location at 606 West B Street. This expanded location allowed them to add several lines to their home entertainment line-up. They now sell security systems, furniture, bedding, outdoor furniture, grills and grilling accessories, and seasonings and rubs.

It’s no surprise that what started out as a video rental store has taken so many twists and turns to evolve into what it is today. That ability to adapt and change has been the driving philosophy behind Linda’s business since its inception. In a 2012 interview, Linda told the Gazette, “You can never rest. In this business, you have to be ready for change every day.” That philosophy has been embraced by Linda’s son, Trevor Taylor, who now handles much of the day-to-day operations of VK Electronics.

In the same interview, Linda stressed the importance of serving, not only her customers, but also the community as a whole. That servant attitude is evident in how Linda invests her time and talent.

She has served on the McCook City Council from 1994 to 2002, serving as Mayor from 2000 to 2002. She has served on the Governor’s transportation committee and was the driving force for a $51 million upgrade of U.S. Highway 83 to a Super 2 Highway (construction to start in 2020). She has been honored by the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce with the Community Builder Award, Volunteer of the Year Award, Honor Business, and Heritage Days Parade Marshall. She was instrumental in establishing the REWARDS Committee that funds a grant writer to apply for federal grants to be utilized by local cities, counties and schools. She is a founding member of McCook Community Foundation Fund and member of McCook Economic Development Executive Board. She also serves or has served in a myriad of roles, including Chair of Southwest Nebraska Community Builders, Chair of Christian Women’s Club and Circuit Speaker, 4-H Leader, Leadership McCook, Nebraska Public Power’s Retail Customer Committee, McCook Cordials, Nebraska Development Network Applicator Award and Chair of McCook Volunteers Committee.

Thank you, Linda, for your many contributions to McCook and the surrounding area.

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