Have you heard of “Small Business Saturday”? It is an effort all across the United States to help people find the value in shopping local. This day is the counter offer to “Black Friday” when big box stores offer incredible deals the day after Thanksgiving. The “Small Business Saturday” movement honors local business owners and encourages local shopping.
I was at a conference last week learning about how to support entrepreneurs and one of our sessions was on mapping our assets. We talked about how we have two types of assets; physical and skills assets. We had to figure out what our organizations have for both kinds of assets and how those assets can assist our community and local entrepreneurs. I thought this would be the perfect time to tell our area some of our assets here at On Hand Development and what would happen if we worked together using our assets.
I was visiting with someone while taking my kids trick or treating on Halloween about how shelves at the Dollar Store are becoming empty. Dollar General told me that they haven’t had a truck in two weeks so we all need to be understanding of the situation. I also visited with Kessler’s and they are having trouble getting some products in and when they get them in, they disappear off the shelves very quickly. I am sure the others are having troubles also but wanted to give a couple examples. Now is the time to get creative when shopping local.
This week, I had a business owner call my cell and ask me to clear something up that she had heard about On Hand Development. She apologized for asking but I was SO glad she called us first before assuming what she heard was correct. Turns out, it wasn’t correct. Not even close. I told her I am so glad she called and that she should always call first or call anytime she needs anything.
If you didn’t catch the performance of Annie last weekend, you really missed out. What a wonderful group of talented, local performers of all ages. I loved the show. I loved that people are bringing something different to our community. I loved seeing all of the people supported and enjoyed the show! I especially loved all of the hard work that went into the show that we didn’t get to see but I know was done.
Hunting season in Hand County is so much more than how many birds you get. It’s about relationships, traditions, and the experience.
When pheasant hunters come to our area, they don’t just spend money on ammunition. Local businesses from hunting lodges to bars and restaurants to convenience stores to shops to car repairs, and everything in between, all benefit when pheasant hunters arrive in our community. Many family farms not only enjoy renewed friendships over the years but also extra income.
Last week I had someone ask me, “What has On Hand Development done lately to help business here in Hand County?” It was a good question and I am so glad that he came to me first to ask. I explained to him that I can’t tell you who I am talking to or about what business, but I can tell you how many people I am talking to, because I keep a spreadsheet of all the conversations that I have with business owners and prospective business owners. I keep all of this information to myself because I need people to trust me with their business information. I would love to tell the world all of the good ideas I get to hear, all of the great success stories, but I need to keep information to myself to make sure people keep coming to On Hand. And looking at the number of people talking to On Hand, it is working.
I am told all the time that Miller is not the same as it was 20, 30, 40 years ago. We don’t have the same number of kids in school, we don’t have the same businesses, and we certainly don’t have the same leaders. I am not from Miller so I don’t know what it was like 30 years ago and history is important but I don’t want it to stay the same… and neither should you. History plays a large role in establishing the purpose and ultimately the pride we feel towards our hometown. The truth is that history is not static; it is dynamic.
With homecoming here, it got me thinking about the word HOME…. The word home can be used in so many ways: homerun, homework, hometown, home base, homecoming, homestead, homebound. The interesting thing about these words is that they mean “coming back” to something whether it’s a baseball diamond or a visit to the folks, or back where someone grew up. There’s something about HOME that we all love.
As many business owners know, it is becoming more difficult to find qualified workers for the many jobs in our area. What you may not know, is that studies have shown that the vast majority of young people would like to spend their lives and build their careers in or near the area where they grew up. In fact, 76% of high school students who attended Career Here! Event in 2019 stated they would like to work in our area if the opportunity exists.
I was visiting with someone the other day about grocery shopping and they mentioned how they “ran” to Walmart in Huron to get a few things but they went at a strange time during the day so that they wouldn’t run into anyone they knew. I was embarrassed for them. I listened and when they were finished telling me about what they bought (all things they could get in town) I replied with, “Don’t you want to feel GOOD about where you are spending your money? Don’t you want to be proud and have a positive shopping experience versus being embarrassed about where you spent you your money?”
Last week the Miller the Friendship Center hosted the famous Mollie B at our Miller Community Center. There was over 325 people from all over who enjoyed the show. I attended the event and was so surprised in how much fun it was. I always enjoy getting together and experiencing different things with different people. I truly believe that if we want things to do in our community, we need to attend the events we have!
A common barrier to growth that businesses large and small across the country are facing is a lack of workers. The US Chamber of Commerce reported in March of this year that there are approximately 8.1 million job openings nationwide but only half as many workers available to fill them. No doubt you’ve seen “Help Wanted” signs posted in shop windows around the community, or signs on the doors to short-staffed restaurants asking for your patience with overwhelmed waiters or line cooks. The labor shortage hurts all of us, causing longer waits for products and services, higher prices, unnecessary business failures, and slower economic growth.
Last week I had two entrepreneurs stop in my office and ask me about grant money for starting a new business. I thought this might be the perfect time to explain to readers some of the grant misconceptions that are floating around.
Last week, I had the pleasure of being a speaker at the Energize Conference in Milbank about On Hand Development. Public speaking isn’t my favorite part of my job but I jump at the opportunity to talk about my favorite place.
I started my forty-minute presentation on what On Hand is and our structure. Then, I added what we do- Business Assistance, Revolving Loan Fund, Beautification/Community Improvement, Youth Team, Quality of Life Projects, Miller Community Center, Housing, and Promotion of our area. I then added some older pictures of Main Street and how it has changed over the years and why Miller is the Biggest Little City in South Dakota.
Deciding to start your own business is a leap of faith. It requires pushing out of your comfort zone and trying something new. If that idea excites you, why wait around? You’re ready to take the leap and be the CEO of your BUSINESS. It’s a lot of work and there are some risks, but the potential for rewards is huge. If you’re not convinced yet, here are 10 of the best reasons for starting your own business.
Recently, I watched a short YouTube video by Doug Griffin and his speech inspired me to share with readers. He calls it, “13 Ways to Kill Your Community.” I found his list so helpful with our work here at On Hand. I also thought a lot about our community and how some community members need a reminder that they can be part of the success of our community.
In July, a group of volunteers finished painting the Teason Home in Miller. I am so very proud to live in this community and be just a small part of that process. The whole story really got me thinking about volunteering and what it really does for everyone and our community.
Several smaller South Dakota towns are proving that economic development isn’t simply a tally of the number of jobs created.
For those hoping to bring new businesses to town or help existing businesses expand, it takes a toolbox that includes available workers, desirable housing, investment dollars, quality of life amenities and leadership. It’s thinking beyond the job count and smokestacks and offering what people are looking for when it comes to lifestyle, say economic development directors from numerous towns with fewer than 5,000 people.
“Traditional economic development doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s a lot about community development and economic development,” said Paula Jensen, vice president of program development with Dakota Resources. “It’s about developing the brand of a thriving rural.”
Dakota Resources is a nonprofit that helps member communities find capital to use for economic development goals. The 30-plus communities in South Dakota who belong also are able to access training, participate in a learning network so they are less isolated and grow their community’s capacity for development.
BJ Hughes is the newest face to the On Hand Development Corporation Board Of Directors. BJ was selected by the On Hand Board at the most recent board meeting on Wednesday, July 14. BJ is taking the seat of Brian Jones who sat on the board for the past five years.
As we are approaching our annual CRAZY days here in Miller, Buy Local or Bye-Bye Local is something we all need to remember and it shouldn’t be just for CRAZY days. As I am visiting with people around town, they don’t like to see local businesses close their doors or to see vacant buildings scattered throughout the community; however, it is rare that those community members consider that their own buying patterns may have attributed to those very losses.
I was visiting with a relative from out of state last weekend and she asked me, “Why do you love living here so much? I haven’t heard of anyone talk about a community the way you do.” Here is my twitter version of my list.
I was organizing photos that were donated by Joan Bertsch the other day, when I came across one from Main Street Miller in the 1950’s with this written on it, “The Biggest Little City in South Dakota.”
I had the opportunity to sit down with a county commissioner and visit about On Hand Development and what we spend our money on. He said he has had questions on why Hand County funds On Hand. My answer to this, “Because we benefit ALL of Hand County! I went on to explain that we need a central place that current and prospective businesses can go to help with their needs. We need a place where folks can gather and have large events that bring in hundreds of people to our community to spend money. We need a nonprofit that works with both the City and the County that can do things that those two entities can’t do. We need a place that entrepreneurs can go to get help with business ideas and plans. We need our Revolving Loan Fund to help businesses expand or get through tough times. We need On Hand Development for Hand County to thrive.”