EDGE Gives Boost to Local Businesses

4 Jan 2016

Aspiring brew masters, a professional organizer and two owners of a local clothing boutique are among the participants of the  2015 EDGE class.


From business plans to marketing advice, networking and hearing from successful community leaders, EDGE (Enhancing, Developing and Growing Entrepreneurs) participants agreed that the 12-week class has given them the tools to grow and improve their businesses.


Mark Kraus, who moved to Holdrege in December 2014, changed his business plan from a four-page document to a 40-page detailed plan after taking the class.


Kraus and his brother-in-law, Jason Hines, are owners of Lost Way Brewing Company and are hoping to open a brewery in Holdrege.


Kraus said he particularly enjoyed hearing from Central Valley Irrigation owner Monty Vonasek.


“He was talking about how if you are going to do a business, you have to do what you love and put your passion into it and do it in the right way,” Kraus said. “I’ve always thought that, but it’s good to hear someone who is successful saying that.”


Kraus said networking and making new connections was another benefit to attending the program, especially since he is a recent transplant to the area. He is originally from Michigan, served in the Marines and was living in California before coming to Holdrege for a job at BD.


“We moved here to be part of a small town, and we want to be able to contribute to that and to help the town to grow and be a place that people want to come to,” Kraus said.


Other business owners took the class to improve an existing business.


Kendra Huston, owner of Solutions, said she started her business in 2002, but it has changed and evolved over that time. She now specializes in helping clients organize, re-arrange, decorate and create systems for calming the chaos for a more peaceful environment.


“I think for a creative person, at least for myself, the business side doesn’t come as naturally, yet it’s vital,” Huston said.


She said the class forced her to create a mission statement for her business, which was beneficial for her.


“I think it would give any business a good foundation of knowledge to help them with their business,” Huston said.


Margaret Kring, owner of My Fair Lady Fashions, and her business partner, Stacey Wendell, owner of Divine, operate their business together under the same roof at 410 West Ave. in downtown Holdrege.


Wendell has a degree in business and has a background in interior design and other businesses. A few years ago, she started selling jewelry that she designs at My Fair Lady Fashions.


In January 2015, Wendell moved to the Bertrand area and purchased the accessory and jewelry portion of Kring’s business. She’s also added women’s fashion shoes and children’s clothing to her offerings.


Wendell said she enjoyed the support and connections she made with the other EDGE class participants and particularly enjoyed the seminar on marketing.


“It was good for learning all the business aspects from the finances, to your marketing, to your purchasing,” Wendell said of the class.


Kring had previously taken the EDGE class but took it a second time and learned new information because of the different presenters this time.


“I haven’t had a lot of business classes in high school or college, so anytime I can take a class like this I am always learning something,” Kring said.


She said the class also opens doors to the many resources available to small business owners.


Other local 2015 EDGE class participants were Carrie Naylor, Bertrand Herald and Phelps County Independent; Barb Malm, NAS Realty; and Elisha & Brian Steinbach, Fourth Avenue Coffee.


The EDGE class is a program of the PK Partnership. PCDC is one of the sponsors of the program. PCDC Program Coordinator Alli Donohue was the program manager of EDGE this session.