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THREE CHEERS — Hip Hip Hooray!
This column salutes REAP businesses that are finding ways to increase their success.

Young man turns mobile sideline into permanent business

Dustin Thomas is celebrating one year in his business known as “Thomas Welding & Machine” in Sidney, Nebraska. Prior to establishing his own business, Dustin was employed by his father in the Sidney 66 Service business.

Sidney 66 primarily does light auto mechanics, tire sales, and small engine repair and service. Several years ago, a fire in an adjoining cement block building pretty well gutted the building.

Dustin decided to remodel the building and turn it into a shop for his machining and welding business. He already owned a mobile portable welding truck and was doing some welding in the Sidney area.

In the fall of 2003, Dustin’s granddad, Clare Surber, who purchased the business in the Sidney 66 in the 1960s, contacted Gary Person with Sidney Economic Development, asking about assistance for young entrepreneurs. Gary gave him the name of Jerry Terwilliger, Panhandle Business Specialist with the REAP program.

Dustin and Jerry worked on a business plan that used his small portable welding business combined with some specialized machining business Dustin felt was needed in the Sidney area. The business plan was completed in late November 2003, and Dustin was able to secure a start-up loan for finishing his remodeling and purchasing of the needed machining equipment.

Dustin credits the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project with assisting him in his endeavor. “The REAP program pretty much made this all possible,” he said.

Written by Jerry Terwilliger, REAP Panhandle Business Specialist at 308.247.9926 or j414@charter.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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