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

"Final Touch" Dream Comes True for Young Couple in Southwest Nebraska
Two entrepreneurs, a forward-looking bank, a community betterment corporation, and REAP combine to help a new auto body shop.

Perseverance, maybe even a touch of stubborn pride, patience, and a strong work ethic are the marks of young Stratton, Nebraska couple Terry and Crissa Latta. The Lattas own Final Touch, an auto body repair and finishing shop newly established last year.

Combine that with the faith and community vision for the future of local banker, Rich Bernt, Vice President and loan officer of the Commercial Bank of Stratton, and the friendly, positive-thinking bank President Bill Zahl and other officials and their board.

Rural Development Partnerships Work
Finally, add two non-profit economic development partners, Southwest Nebraska Community Betterment Corporation and REAP, and you have a team with a common goal of providing the resources to make a concrete reality materialize for a young rural couple wanting to stay where their hearts are.

The Lattas, parents of two young children, a daughter Dawson and a son Damon, like life in the small rural town of Stratton, approximately 30 miles west of McCook on Highway 34 in Hitchcock County.

Latta’s business is located south of Highway 34 on the west edge of Stratton in Hitchcock County. The business is busy, despite being founded in the midst of the worst drought since the 30’s in southwest Nebraska.

REAP members, the couple appreciate the business planning assistance of REAP and the technical assistance and financial resource assistance of all the parties involved in their venture; the kind of collaborative partnership that made the start-up assistance to them possible.

Small Businesses Key to Quality Rural Development
All the partners in the effort and the initiative of the Latta’s themselves are symptomatic of what is possible for rural Nebraska and all of rural America – building entrepreneurs one small business at a time, with ties to the community, independent ownership, and profit staying at home.

Does Terry do quality work? Yes, I can vouch for that. I put him to the test and had him work on one of my vehicles. Just as good as new when he finished, reasonably priced, and I was handled as a valued customer. What more can you ask of a small business company? – Phil Menke,

Terry and Crissa Latta are owners of "Final Touch" in Stratton, Nebraska.
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Center for Rural Affairs -- Rural Enterprise Assistance Project
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