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

Hillmer Photography Takes the Candid Shot, Reveals the Uniqueness of the Subject! 
Missy Hillmer has been photographing for over 14 years. She started with family, friends, and landscapes – just for fun. She knew she loved photography, but didn’t know where life would take her and to what extent she would use it. After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Kearney with a BFA in Fine Arts, she continued photographing.

In 1992 she married husband Bill and settled in Central City, Neb. Her goal was to stay home with their children when that time came. In 1998 she started photographing out of their home part-time while working in Grand Island. In 2000 they decided it would be a full-time venture and converted a one-car garage into a studio.

Missy continued her education by participating in workshops and seminars and taking lots of photos. Word-of-mouth advertising was working. She was becoming busier and busier. It was time to update and 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. She completed her Business Plan for Hillmer Photography and determined she could afford to expand.

In October 2003 construction began on a new 40’ x 60’studio on the Hillmer home site. Missy is able to take advantage of their 20 acres for outdoor photos, new studio backgrounds, and expanded electronic image capability.

Missy’s passion is black and white photography – particularly candid shots of people, especially kids. She also does weddings, senior class pictures, children, families, and special events. Her competitive advantage is finding the uniqueness in her subject.

Missy is a member of the Professional Photographers of Nebraska (PP of N), Chairperson of the Loan Tree Small Business Association, and Treasurer of the Central City Chamber of Commerce. She is a wife and mother of three active children.

Missy’s advice to anyone thinking of starting a business is to “do whatever it takes to follow your dreams. God didn’t put it in your heart if it wasn’t meant to happen. But be prepared to work hard!”

Missy Hillmer, owner of Hillmer Photography in Central City, Nebraska.
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