When the pandemic began, Nebraska communities, like many across the nation, were hit with economic struggles. Local businesses needed support more than ever, and community leaders had to creatively find alternative ways to help. Each community used funds, promoted their business and trusted their communities to support their friends and neighbors.
Phelps County Development Corporation’s (PCDC) economic recovery programs infused nearly $200,000 into the local economy in April. The Magic Multiplier program funds matched $94,042 in gift certificates purchased from area retailers, restaurants and service businesses between April 1 and April 17. PCDC has also awarded $9,584 in digital development grants to ten businesses.
“The community stepped up, and I believe that PCDC provided meaningful financial support to more than 70 individual businesses, not to mention the emotional buttressing from the programs at a time of great stress,” PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said. “Now, it’s time to shift from survive mode to thrive.”
Seward County Chamber & Development Partnership administered a program called TIME (Triple Impact Match Event) Promotion. It matched gift card and certificate purchases to participating local businesses with both Legacy Fund for Seward County and LB840 Economic Development Program funds (from Milford, Seward, and Utica), tripling the amount each business received up to a designated limit. Jonathan Jank, President & CEO for Seward County Chamber & Development Partnership said, “We had one business participating in TIME Promotion share they sold over $3,000 in gift cards in the first 4 hours. It’s been a very successful way to support local small businesses impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. We’re grateful to our friends in Phelps County for sharing their marketing materials and best practices as they rolled out a similar program earlier this year.”
Hebron also used LB840 funds for helping local qualifying businesses through Emergency Commercial Grants. The maximum amount of the grant was $3,000 per applicant/business.
Andrew Ambriz with Custer Economic Development Corporation was happy to announce that all the matching funds, $100,000, had been distributed through the 4 County Cash Back Program. In just one week, there was more than $200,000 in direct sales to Custer County businesses. The idea came from a desire to provide a mutual benefit for local businesses and individuals in the community. An online store was created and a 50% match was provided for businesses who signed up within Custer County. The program attracted 115 businesses and 40 of those businesses received the max match funds of $1,500.
Proud of his community, Andrew saw how the aid was appreciated, “We actually had some business owners getting emotional when we delivered the check, so we knew we did something that worked.”
Even in unknown times, Nebraska finds solutions and will continue to stay focused on supporting each other.