NEW PCDC Tools and Shop Local Promotions Support Local Businesses

NEW PCDC Tools and Shop Local Promotions Support Local Businesses Main Photo

1 Apr 2020

Local residents are heeding the call to stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and local businesses are feeling the pinch.

The Phelps County Development Corporation continues to partner with area businesses to help them through this time and continue to build a strong local economy. While PCDC always promotes shopping local, they have stepped up efforts even more during this time with new economic recovery tools and the revitalization of the Concrete Solutions Facebook page.

“It's obvious that the retail sector, especially the hospitality segment, has been significantly affected by measures intended to limit the spread of COVID-19,” PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said. “We don’t want to lose any local businesses due to this temporary emergency.”

In Phelps County, many businesses have voluntarily complied with guidance issued by the CDC through Two Rivers Health District. Many have adjusted hours and some have closed temporarily. Others are getting creative by offering new services such as curbside pickup, delivery and even more personalized services.

Tillery said PCDC and the Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce have collaborated to provide information, promotional support and encouragement. Both organizations have published COVID-19 resources on their websites.

PCDC is and will continue to evaluate the market needs to best determine how the organization’s resources can help.

“However, this challenge is bigger than any single organization's bank account,” Tillery said. “To be successful, we will need every community member to play a part in our recovery.”

On April 1, PCDC launched two new economic recovery tools: a gift card matching program and a $1,000 development grant to help business owners boost online presence.

Tillery said PCDC’s programs are designed to fill in local holes that can’t be filled by federal and state programs.

“My hope is when federal assistance starts to flow in the form of individual payments that people commit a portion of their check to buy goods and services locally,” Tillery said.

The gift card program is a partnership between PCDC and the Phelps County Community Foundation, who will each match the value of every gift card purchased at Phelps County businesses to help the business owners and local neighbors in need. If a customer purchases a $50 gift card, the business owner will receive $100 (with a $50 match from PCDC), and another $50 will be matched by PCCF to support local non-profits working with individuals.

“When consumers spend $1, they are generating an additional $2 in the community,” Tillery said. “And, we are essentially doubling the cash value of that gift certificate to the business.”

Graduation, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gift cards purchased in April could mean the difference between some businesses closing their doors or remaining a viable business.

The second tool includes PCDC grants of up to $1,000 for Phelps County retailers, restaurants,  hospitality and service businesses to create a website or online store, advertise an online store, purchase point-of-sale software or become a member of GROW Nebraska.

As more consumers are adapting to online shopping during the pandemic, the trend of online shopping will likely continue after the crisis is over.

“This is a business boost,” said Carley Bruning, PCDC’s Director of Business Services. “The times have changed, and business owners need to change with it. If they already have a website and they need to pay for the next level, this grant can help with that, too.”

Bruning is also promoting local businesses through the revived Concrete Solutions Facebook page. The page was created in 2018 to help alleviate potential declines in business due to the highway 6 & 34 construction through downtown Holdrege. Now, the page will help businesses again – this time as Concrete Solutions 2020 #carryingoutabigimpact.

Concrete Solutions promotions so far have included “The Great American Takeout,” which encouraged residents to order takeout from their favorite local restaurant on March 24, and the “5 for 10 Challenge” that encouraged people to buy items for $10 or less at five local stores.

“We hope to use these promotions throughout the year as a reminder to local residents to help boost the local economy, even when things are going well,” Bruning said.

While supporting existing businesses, PCDC will also continue to remain alert to new opportunities as the global supply chain makes a rapid transformation.

“Rural Nebraska is well-positioned to offer a lower-cost manufacturing alternative to many companies that have previously relied on foreign markets,” Tillery said. “But, we can't and shouldn't try to compete based on price alone; companies would be wise to consider the high-productivity and rapid responsiveness of Phelps County and Central Nebraska.”

For more information and business resources for the COVID-19 crisis, please visit the PCDC resource page at Information on the site includes everything from local health information to tips for crisis management and how to access financial resources.