April  2005      Vol. 14, No. 4  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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REAP Award Recipients: Congratulations All!

2004 Entrepreneur Award – Keith and Sue Roberts
Twin Creek Paintball, Orleans, NE

Keith and Sue are prime examples of innovative entrepreneurial drive. They own 188 acres and help Keith’s folks on their farm. To fill the gaps in their family income they use a blend of outside employment and small business ag and non-ag enterprises. A clear example of taking an ag resource, native pasture, and converting that resource into a higher income return from non-ag is their very successful business Twin Creek Paintball. It is the oldest and most lucrative of several Roberts’ ventures, with an eight-year history and steadily increasing revenue.
Phil Menke, REAP South Central Business Specialist
is pictured at far right of photo, presenting Keith and Sue
with their award at the Center for Rural Affairs’ Annual
Gathering in Norfolk, Nebraska. Photos by Curt Arens

The Roberts have used two REAP peer loans to expand this enterprise. Sue is the Director of Nursing at the Arapahoe Good Samaritan Nursing Home and Keith serves as a substitute bus driver for Orleans. An additional Roberts’ enterprise in Orleans is the Sappa Creek Trading Post. As Keith states, “You have to have a lot of things going these days to make a decent living.” The Roberts are charter members of the South Central Business Development REAP association in Phelps and Harlan counties. Keith is currently chairperson.

REAP Small Business of the Year 2004 — Linda Goodman
Lynn’s Upholstery, Naper, NE

Innovative thinking, great attitude, and a strong work ethic, along with key assistance can insure the survivability of small businesses located in the small communities of rural Nebraska. Linda Goodman of Lynn’s Upholstery provided the innovative thinking, attitude, and work ethic. The assistance came from a collaborative loan between REAP and CNCS.

After several years of bouncing around the country due to husband Vernon’s job with GTE, the Goodmans decided they would prefer to live in a small community and provide their children with a stable environment to grow up in and attend school. In 1983 they purchased Goodman Farm & Ranch Supply in Naper, Nebraska.

When the decision was made to close the Farm & Ranch Supply 18 years later, they were in need of another viable business. For more than 20 years Lynn had been doing upholstery projects and decided to open a full-time upholstery business in the main building of Goodman Farm & Supply. She provides upholstery repair and recovering for furniture, boats, vehicles, tractor seats, and any items requiring upholstery.

By collaborating with a small manufacturing company in South Dakota, she created an additional avenue for income. Lynn is making a camouflage weatherproof cover for the company’s new line of dog kennels. However the new venture turns out, Lynn will continue being innovative, maintain a good attitude, and provide the work ethic to insure the viability of the business.

REAP Officer of the Year 2004 — Missy Hillmer
Hillmer Photography, Central City, NE

A 14-year veteran of the photography business, Missy Hillmer is a member and current Chair of the Lone Tree Small Business Association in Merrick County. Missy has publicized upcoming meetings and special trainings. She’s great at sending out postcard reminders to members and inviting businesses to participate. Missy goes the extra mile to bring in topics that can benefit the members. She is shown at the far right of photo, receiving her award from REAP Southeast Business Specialist Monica Braun.

Missy earned a BFA in Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. In 1998 she started a part-time photography venture out of her home. Missy and husband Bill decided it should become full-time in 2000 and converted a one-car garage into a studio. Word-of-mouth advertising worked, and it was time to expand her studio.

In November 2002, Missy participated in the Business Plan Basics course sponsored by REAP/WBC and the Hamilton County REAP Association in Aurora. Within a year, construction began on a new 40’ x 60’studio on the Hillmer home site. She uses their 20 acres for outdoor photos, new studio backgrounds, and expanded electronic image capability. She does weddings, senior class pictures, children, families, and special events. Missy is a member of the Professional Photographers of Nebraska (PP of N) and Treasurer of the Central City Chamber of Commerce. She is a wife and mother of three active children.

REAP Friend of the Year 2004 — Laurie Hansen
Economic Director, City of Atkinson, Atkinson, NE

Laurie Hansen was hired as Economic Director for Atkinson in 2002. This was a first-time position. Laurie has met all expectations of the City Council in promoting Atkinson, assisting new and existing businesses, and working with other area communities to enhance economic development for the area.

Laurie served on REAP’s loan review committee for several loans. She was also instrumental in providing assistance and recruiting participants for the REAP Small Business Training conducted in the spring of 2004. Whenever the subject of small business assistance is discussed, she is quick to point out and give credit to REAP for the assistance provided to small business owners. Additionally Laurie has referred many small business owners to REAP for assistance.

REAP Extra Mile Award 2004 — Adriana Dungan
NAF Multicultural Human Dev. Corp.- Health Promoter, South Sioux City, NE

Although Adriana’s title in her current position is Health Coordinator, she well exceeds those duties on a daily basis. She has experience and education in training, accounting, small business management, teaching, graphic design, and more. Many South Sioux City Hispanics seek Adriana’s advice in everything from starting a business to finding quality daycare.

When approached about doing Basic Business Plan training in Spanish, she immediately jumped on board and helped in every way she could. Adriana was instrumental in promoting business plan training, registering participants, and maintaining weekly contact with them. In addition, she was key to getting the REAP Asociación de Comercio Latino (REAP Latino Business Association) Roundtable group formed in SSC. She currently holds the co-chair position for that group.

Adriana is a welcoming face to the Hispanic people living in Siouxland and has received many awards for her efforts in education and promotion of community involvement. Adriana has become a great friend of REAP. She is a dependable and brilliant resource for others who seek to understand her culture. She has been pivotal in identifying appropriate REAP services for the Hispanic community.

 Contact: Jeff Reynolds, REAP Program Director, 402.656.3091 or jeffr@alltel.net 
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