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This column salutes REAP businesses that are finding ways to increase their success.

Hobby becomes a fulltime, growing business for Lynnís Upholstery in Naper

Linda Goodman took an interest in furniture reupholstering when she was a stay-at-home mom with her young children. Her interest in upholstery spurred her to take classes at a community college to learn more about it and eventually turn this work into a full-time business called Lynnís Upholstery in Naper, Nebraska.

The business started as an added enterprise to Goodmanís Farm and Ranch supply business in 1983. In 2001, the supply business closed due to changes in the agriculture economy. After renovations on the building owned by the Goodmanís, Lynnís Upholstery became a full-time business.

Eugene Rahn, Senior Business Specialist for REAP in north central Nebraska, assisted Linda with her business plans and a loan to fix up the building which houses her business. Linda was named the REAP Small Business of the Year in 2004, and this year received one of nine Women and Company Microenterprise Boost Program cash equity awards from REAP.

Improved and expanded marketing for the business was one of the purposes of the equity award. Linda purchased a yearís worth of advertising from the Pioneer Advertiser in her area. From this, her business has been featured in several newspapers.

The added press and advertising has helped boost business by 25 percent so far. In addition, part of the equity award money is being used to help develop a new product for sale by the business, a redwood outdoor camouflage chair.

Linda gives credit to the REAP program for serving as a ďvaluable tool and help for us. REAP provides us with good technical assistance, provides a newsletter to its membership with a variety of good useful small business information, and continues to help as they can.Ē

Lynnís Upholstery does all kinds of upholstery work for customers, including furniture, cars, trucks, ATVs, and also does some wood refinishing and miscellaneous projects such as dog kennel covers. She draws on a customer base from a 100 mile radius.

The greatest challenge for this business is the fact that it is in a very rural area of north central Nebraska. Winner, South Dakota, and OíNeill, Nebraska, are the largest towns near Naper, and they are an hour away. Linda believes the greatest reward from the business is tackling the challenge of some jobs and getting it done right.

The Goodmanís are very active in Naper. Linda is the head of the EMT squad and Vernon is mayor. Linda supplements their income by driving a school bus and she teaches Sunday school in their Lutheran Church. She loves spending time with her grandchildren and values time with a good book.

Linda Goodman operates Lynn's Upholstery from Naper, Nebraska. Business has picked up with expanded marketing from her cash equity award.
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