Taking Buy Local Global

Next Monday the Ord Area Chamber will be submitting a $25,000 Joint Opportunities Building Success Grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka. This grant opportunity has been made available to our area for many years (nearly a decade now!) by First National Bank of Ord. Their willingness to work with both economic development and the Chamber has brought many new resources to our communities that have produced many measurable, positive results. For that we owe FNB a major THANK YOU.

We have been fortunate enough to win this award for five years straight, we’re hoping this next attempt will bring a huge opportunity to our communities, especially our local Chamber business community. The purpose of our grant request this year will be to build an eCommerce solution for our Chamber members. Think GROW Nebraska meets meets the Ord Area Chamber of Commerce. While we have several things to work out through this request, what is certain is that if we’re awarded, you’ll see quite a bit from us this summer articulate exactly how the process will unfold: our bid for work performed (building the eCommerce site), integration with our membership, training to make it happen for our business community, and product launch. This is effort is going to cost us some serious cash – BUT I think it’s well worth the investment for the future of our communities. I’m a firm believer that it takes money to make money – and hording it does no one any good.

Let’s face it – while Burwell and Ord continue to hold their own, our regional retail trade area is shrinking (32,000 to 30,000 over the past decade, roughly). Businesses are now seamlessly integrated online and the importance of eCommerce is now mission critical to any business with a product or service out there today. That means everyone selling something should be doing it both in brick and mortar locations along with the internet. Online connectivity is too powerful today to ignore – I started my professional career working at a that dot-bombed. It was an essential learning experience that *proved* to me in 2003 the power of the world wide web.

Expanding the rural retail trade area is essential to the future of our communities. Creative economic development efforts are essential to progress in Ord and Valley County and we feel this request will help us further cutting edge strategies that build a bright future in our communities. We hope to execute this idea and make it possible to provide not only a conduit for our existing businesses to grow, but also a platform for entrepreneurs to develop their ideas without the overhead of an eCommerce site to worry about.

Sooooooo, keep your fingers crossed and keep your eyes open for June. The FHLB of Topeka usually makes their awards notices public then and we hope our idea will be among one of the winners. Until then, enjoy Spring.


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