Rural Wisdom: Know on which side your bread is buttered.
Rural Success Stories:
GROW Nebraska CEO works to preserve rural lifestyle through global opportunities
Janell Anderson Ehrke left the tiny town of Holbrook, Neb., for the city life, graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and then working in Kansas City where she sold securities. But when her family asked her to come back to expand the family’s cattle business, she returned and found a new career where she has now helped hundreds of Nebraska entrepreneurs.
As CEO of GROW Nebraska, Janell works every day with the people who make Nebraska great, entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to try something new to prove that you can live in a rural area and still have plenty of opportunities. It was Janell’s own childhood, filled with 4-H projects and speaking demonstrations, that gave her the courage to start GROW Nebraska after hearing about a similar project in Kentucky.
Recipe for success as complex as family sauces at McCook Mexican restaurant
by Scott Rager
The restaurant industry is a tough business, but young entrepreneurs Yaloany and Jesus Palma have focused their determination on thriving in the business. They now own four Mexican restaurants in south central Nebraska and northern Kansas.
Writer Scott Rager was thrilled to watch the American Dream unfold before him as he visited with Yaloany at her first restaurant in McCook, El Puerto, for this month’s Rural Success story. “Their success comes as a result of their keen business sense and their strong work ethic,” Scott writes. “They never open a restaurant without thoroughly researching a community.”
As fajitas sizzled around him, Scott dug into the Palma’s story, along with an array of tempting Mexican dishes. He learned it all comes down to the sauces, recipes that Yaloany’s uncle brought from the Jalisco region of Mexico and shared with her when she decided to open her first restaurant.
The Buckle, part 2
Kearney's Buckle is making billions on blue jean fashion
One of the missions of Nebraska Rural Living is to report on entrepreneurial success, so at some point it became too hard to ignore the elephant in our own back yard and we arranged a two-part look at who Buckle is and what they do. Last month, we reported on the retail experience of the brand with the help of two 14-year-old, twin fashionistas. This month we look at the business side of Buckle and find out how — and why — it thrives in Kearney.
Buckle, Inc., a leading retailer of medium-to-upscale casual apparel, was born in 1948 when David Hirschfeld started Mills Clothing, a men’s clothing store in Kearney, Nebraska. Today, Kearney is home to a billion-dollar, publically-traded (NYSE: BKE) corporation operating more than 450 stores in 43 states.
The Buckle, part 1
Who thought Kearney, Nebraska would be an international fashion center?
If you’re a regular reader, you can imagine what sparked our interest in fashion retailer Buckle. Off the top of our heads, we couldn’t think of another brand like it — youth-fashion-based, with over a billion dollars in sales, but headquartered in a city of less than 35,000 — and in the Midwest, no less. It’s a fairly unique story.
Buckle was founded as a men’s clothing store in 1948. When founder David Hirschfeld’s son Dan took over operations in 1965, he began moving the company toward a more casual line of clothing and by the early 1970s, the store became a denim-based retailer. Still known as a denim destination, each store carries a wide selection of fits, styles, and finishes from leading denim brands, including the company’s exclusive brand, BKE. The company went public in 1992 and trades on the NYSE under the symbol BKE.We’re exploring Buckle’s unusual story in two parts. In part one we look at the retail end of the business through the eyes of our own fashion experts. Fourteen-year-old twin girls, Caylin and Christine, who are budding fashionistas.
Articles & Essays:
Those Rural Country Christmases
We often get wrapped up in the stress and fuss of the holiday season, but in this month’s essay, Jennifer Chick takes a look back at the country Christmases she experienced as a child, when her biggest worry was whether there would be a white Christmas.
She takes us on a trip down memory lane to visit school Christmas programs, sliding across frozen pasture lakes, and those nose-hair-freezing mornings helping Dad do chores.
For those who grew up in the country, those who wanted to grow up in the country, or those who yearn to return to the country for even a few moments, Jennifer reminds us of the simpler pleasures that can happen just down a country lane.
by Jennifer Chick
People dream of traveling the roads of the eastern United States in fall, gazing at the astounding colors offered there. But if you have lived in Nebraska during autumn, you know that the foliage in these parts rivals anything back East.
As fall turns the corner toward winter, we wanted to showcase some of the scenes that pop up unexpectedly as we drive the roads of rural Nebraska in autumn.
Eustis photographer Don Brockmeier has found that in an instant, with just the right light, a once ordinary, everyday scene can be transformed into the extraordinary. A walk down the same road as yesterday can bring unexpected surprises. When that happens, he pulls out his camera and starts snapping, and now he shares some of those photos with us.
Happy Birthday Junk Jaunt
The pasttime of going to garage sales has become so popular in the U.S. that it has spawned the use of a new verb construction known as "garage saling"; one who frequents garage sales is said to be a “garage saler.”
There are few more inveterate garage salers than Michelle McCormick, a frequent contributor to Nebraska Rural Living, and few things that get her more turned on to the possibility of discovering fabulous bargains on sawhorse tables than Nebraska’s annual Junk Jaunt, now celebrating its tenth anniversary.
Cross Creek Golf Course
Cross Creek Golf Course is hidden jewel of rural Nebraska
“Driving to the tee box, I wondered if we’d somehow gotten lost,” says writer Michelle McCormick. “Flanked by blooming yucca and a view that stretched for miles, we were climbing a road so steep, it seemed more suited to a jeep than a golf cart. Suddenly the world opened up before us. We’d arrived at 15.”
With a reputation for having some of the flattest country in the U.S., golfers unfamiliar with Nebraska are surprised at the variety of terrain offered at one of rural Nebraska’s best 18-hole courses, Cross Creek in Cambridge.
This month, Michelle McCormick and her friend play a round on the longest public golf course in the state — 7,205 yards from the tips — and offers up her impressions of the course in both an essay and a fun, quirky video.
Experience Tru nighttime on The Bricks in Kearney
by Betty Sayers
Following a hectic week of too much to do and too many obligations, Betty Sayers finds an oasis where time seems to stand still when she tries out a nighttime dining experience at Tru Café in Kearney.
Tru Café is a unique family-owned restaurant which seamlessly melds five businesses into one. Roberta and Mark Loescher and their family run Tru as a place where diners find artful plates of wholesome and flavorful seasonal menu items.
“Tru comes from our desire to prepare the truest form of any food we put on the table,” Spencer said. “We believe in being true to ourselves, true to our roots, and we believe in sourcing foods close to their true source, the local farmers and growers.”
Simple delights require second trip to McCook's Homespun Café
Betty Sayers first happened upon HomeSpun Café in McCook after a chilly morning watching prairie chickens dance at daybreak. She was delighted by the treats that warmed her belly and soul there and vowed to return to sample the café’s lunch fare.
She kept that promise and recently returned where she found the lunch menu just as refreshing and the hospitality just as pleasant the second time around.
Owner Sarah Risenhoover makes everything from scratch and takes pride in highlighting local ingredients whenever possible. She visited with Betty about how her family’s banana bread recipe helped jump-start her entrance into the restaurant business. Betty couldn’t pass up a chance to sample that banana bread.
Lessons in Sustainability
Lessons in sustainability: the remarkable philosophy of Thomas Tomas
All food, ultimately, comes from the soil and, when you think about it, Tom Tomas’ philosophy of “feed the soil rather than the plant” makes a lot of sense.
This month on the Rural Foodies, Scott Rager gets the chance to meet Tomas, a noted authority on sustainable agriculture, and tour his garden in Orleans.
“While he quoted George Washington Carver, Tom kneeled down and grabbed a handful of his rich Nebraska soil,” Scott writes. “It was this great educator and botanist that inspired Tom to become a horticulturist and taught him how to feed a family on a small parcel of land.” It was through Carver’s research and teachings that Tom learned about sustainable farming techniques and the importance of utilizing alternative crops in conjunction with cash crops.
Summer inspires a menu of fresh Nebraska vegetables, goat cheese and watermelon salad
by Scott Rager and Betty Sayers
In September the earth’s abundance displayed at our farmer’s markets spills over into our shopping bags and boxes. Gorgeous displays of cabbage, tomatoes, beets, squash, green beans, onions, potatoes, kale, sweet corn, watermelons, cantaloupe, and more varieties appeal to the inventive chefs, health buffs and especially Rural Foodie types. We relish the fresh crunch, the juice, the flavor and vitamin rich leafy greens and red, yellow, and purple vegetables. We steam, boil, roast and pickle and we seek inspiration to keep up with the variety of fruits and vegetables and the luxuriant harvest.
This month Betty Sayers and Guest Foodie and photographer Scott Rager dream up, shop for and create a menu to take advantage of not only the earth’s bounty, but also of the good fortune of having a good, local goat dairy and retail outlet not too far away. Join Betty and Scott for a culinary adventure that includes Gazpacho; a Very Full Tart filled to the brim with roasted vegetables; Watermelon and Feta Salad; and Blueberry Goat’s Milk Ice Cream with Fresh Mint Leaves. We even include the recipe for the Watermelon and Feta Salad.
Nebraska Rural Living is latest entrant to the Blogosphere
We’ve been e-publishing Nebraska Rural Living since 2006, and in that time we’ve built a community of almost 40,000 readers from all 50 states and 12 countries abroad.
We decided to begin a blog to tell you more about life and lifestyle in rural Nebraska and our small town, but in a more personal way that we hope will spark dialogue with readers. Three creative writers will relate their unique rural lifestyles, their interests, and the activities they pursue in words and pictures.
Dynamic Towns & Cities:
If the perfect small town exists, it just might be Minden
If you could sit down at a drawing board to design the perfect small town, you’d start with a superb education system, then add in gracious and affordable homes. You’d want to make sure you had a prosperous manufacturing sector so there would be good jobs and a sound economy, then perhaps you’d want to add some interesting retail enterprises on wide, safe streets. You’d want to make sure to design in a strong sense of community, with a lot of citizen participation in community decisions, quality healthcare facilities and nearby opportunities for camping, hunting and fishing. Put down your pencil. You’re describing Minden.more...
High tech capabilities combine with close-knit sense of community in Cambridge
Cambridge is the kind of town where canopies of maple, ash and oak trees shade sturdy wood-sided homes and walkers, bicyclists and runners enjoy wide sidewalks, a park with a creek, and miles of well kept trails. It’s a town known for a friendly, front-porch culture and a healthy lifestyle, opportunities to prosper in business, quality schools, and a strong sense of community.
At the same time, some of the latest and best internet technology available between Omaha and Denver fuels business start-ups, telecommuters and entrepreneurs. PinPoint Communications, headquartered in Cambridge, made fiber optic cable available to every home and business in Cambridge, and brought wireless access to the public park and camp grounds. more...
Curtis, Maywood are beautiful spots to live the Nebraska good life
Nestled in the beautiful Medicine Creek Valley, Curtis and Maywood are roughly equidistant between McCook, Lexington and North Platte. Separated by only seven miles, both communities proudly proclaim excellent school systems and today, as it has been for millennia, the primary business in Frontier County is farming and ranching. Archaeological evidence suggests the population of the valley is roughly the same now as when it was occupied by Native Americans 1300 years ago.
Today, Medicine Creek Valley is home to the progressive Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, a new community center, an abundance of community spirit and an indomitable drive to thrive.more...
Indomitable spirit keeps Bertrand vibrant and dynamic
“To make a small community thrive, you work together.”
Bertrand is thriving in great part because this solidarity message is spoken in many different ways and by people of all ages and occupations in Bertrand. The town is bustling with committees planning the Bertrand Rodeo, the famous Bertrand craft show, a talent show, theater, music and sports activities, and fund raising events for families in need. Businesses also thrive in Bertrand. Over 72 businesses handle most wants and needs in the community, including a medical clinic and a weekly newspaper, the Bertrand Herald, which was recently sold to new owners.
Also Featured This Month
Worldwide searchlight manufacturer lights up rural Nebraska
From a countryside location near Culbertson, Neb., a remote control searchlight company serves customers throughout the world. The company, Golight, Inc., was born in 1994 on the Hayes County, Neb., ranchland of Jerry Gohl. Now that business — which started with one product and one employee — has an array of remote control searchlight products which are marketed in all 50 states and more than 70 nations worldwide. (Note to Kim:: In the story on the website, we need to change the part about when Golight was born from 14 years ago to 1994)
Choreographing a Swedish Christmas
“Beginning in December, when I was growing up, my mother and her family members marched to the tune of Christmas Past in the Swedish tradition of Grandmother Anna Johnson,” writes Holdrege resident Betty Sayers.
Rural location is no barrier to success for White Hill Farmhouse Inn
Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn in Minden is a B&B and restaurant created from Linda Arp’s childhood home. Her husband Bob directed the restaurant management and hospitality department at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, until they retired to Nebraska to run the White House Inn. When it comes to running a restaurant, they “get it.”