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Success Story
REAP Women's Business Center

Experience from Arizona Business translates to Success in Valentine
Close family relationships allow this family to work, learn, and enjoy each other as they build their “Potato Hut” business.

Jacki Williams of Valentine, Nebraska opened The Potato Hut on April 12, 2002. She and husband Dustin planned this dream for over 2 years. It is patterned on a similar business that Jacki owned and managed when they lived in Phoenix, Arizona.

REAP Panhandle Business Specialist Jerry Terwilliger helped Jacki put together a business plan and a REAP Direct loan. Originally the couple planned to remodel an older bus and use it as a kitchen and mobile sales unit, but they decided that they could better run their business from their new home.

They checked with the city and found the property was zoned for commercial/residential. With REAP’s help, the couple redesigned their business plan to include remodeling the garage instead of the bus.

Jacki credits REAP for bringing her dream to a reality. REAP continues to provide technical assistance with business questions and working with her on her bookkeeping system.

Jacki’s family is very close, and she has always had a job where her two girls could be around. Daughters Marla, age 14, and TomiLeci, age 11 are home schooled and work in the family business. Dustin is in the heating and air conditioning business and helps with remodeling, catering, and keeping the equipment running.

The Potato Hut’s menu revolves around specialty baked potato toppings and potato ingredients. Jacki makes potato bread about twice a week and freezes it for use later. She uses the bread in deli sandwiches.

Her “Hardy Deli Club” is a favorite and her family often refers to it as their “Canoers Sandwich,” popular with the canoers coming through the area. Her Philly Steak & Cheese and her Southwestern Taco Potato are the most popular baked potato menu items.

The Potato Hut also features regular and sugar free ice cream with Jacki’s special ingredients to top it off. The favorite is the “Timber Twister” served with homemade brownies, hot fudge, caramel, and walnut; hungry anybody? Jacki also caters to groups of 30 to 50 people each week for weddings, family, and school reunions.

Jacki and her family extend a special invitation to any REAP members to stop in and enjoy one of their special meals or treats when they are in Valentine. The Potato Hut is located on the West side of Valentine at 102 South Sally Street, about 4-blocks north of Highway 20. Just look for the Potato Hut sign on the roof of the house.

Contact: Jerry Terwilliger, REAP Panhandle Business Specialist, for more information, 308.247.9926, j414@actcom.net .  
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Center for Rural Affairs -- Rural Enterprise Assistance Project
145 Main St.    PO Box 136    Lyons, Nebraska  68038
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