Local grocery stores represent a critical infrastructure for our rural communities. These stores are an important part of the local economic engine, providing essential jobs and taxes. They are a vital source for nutrition and health, supplying of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy and protein. These groceries are especially critical for the rural young, elderly and those with limited resources. Grocery stores are where we meet friends, catch up on the latest news, network with others and literally create the bonds of community. Grocery stores, like schools, cafes, and post offices are community assets used to recruit and retain citizens, standing a symbol of community health.
All too often, however, we receive news of yet another store shutting its doors and going out of business. Because the loss of a rural grocery store threatens the health of local citizens, local business, and the very existence of that community, Kansas State University and a broad range of partners are working to assist rural communities and their grocery stores through the nationally recognized Rural Grocery Initiative (RGI). Since 2007, we have been identifying the challenges rural grocery stores face and offering solutions to those challenges.
We are now preparing to host our third national rural grocery summit in Manhattan, Kansas on June 5-6, 2012. In 2010, over 200 participants from 13 different states attended. We are expecting an even larger event this year bringing together store owners, concerned citizens, funders, non-profits, government agencies, food suppliers, university researchers, and business leaders. Participants will spend two days talking with one another about the “triple bottom line” of rural grocery benefits” – economic development, improving health, and community sustainability.
Specifically, the rural grocery summit will:
* highlight the latest and best thinking about rural grocery stores and rural community sustainability,
* emphasize the nutrition, economic development, and community benefits rural grocery stores provide,
* offer rural grocery store owners and rural grocery stakeholders the opportunity to network with one another about the significant issues and challenges they face,
* provide a discussion of rural grocery best practices, and
* chart a path forward for rural grocery store sustainability issues.
Please visit our website at www.dce.k-state.edu/conf/ruralgrocery to learn more about our summit and to register.
Six Phillips County businesses return from the 2011 June “Destination Bootcamp” with new tools for changing their businesses and attracting new customers. The Phillips County business owners attending Destination BootCamp at Longmont, Colorado were: Janeen Wallgreen (Heartland Marketing), Eric & Nicolina Coulimore (Couli Kaffee), Shelli Dennis (the Hair Co. Salon), Robin Sides (Ultimate Image), Teal Yates (KKAN/KQMA Radio), and Diane Conn (Kustom Kreations), plus Jeff Hofaker (PCED Director) acting as the group’s community coordinator.
Phillips County Economic Development was the first county in the nation to make a long term (four year) committment to sending six business owners and one community coordinator to the Jon Schallert – “Destination BootCamp“ within the Community Reinvestment Program. Through this committment to the Schallert Program, Phillips County Economic Development provided a sponsorship which paid for every attendee’s registration fee.
Phillips County, Kansas has always had strong entrepreneurs and leaders. Dane G. Hansen and McDill “Huck” Boyd were two entrepreneurs who fought for the rural community, its businesses, its way of life, and the future prospect of its citizens and visitors to “Discover Phillips County”. As a Rural Opportunity Zone (ROZ) area, a designated Entrepreneurial Community by Network Kansas, and offering local, entrepreneurial grant programs to assist business growth and creation, Phillips County, Kansas has positioned itself as one of the most entrepreneurial minded, rural communities in the Midwest United States. Making the committment to sponsoring businesses for this premiere marketing learning experience, instructed by Jon Schallert, is another proactive tool that Phillips County Economic Development has done to assist local businesses increase revenue possibilities.
The two and one-half day “Destination Bootcamp”, created by marketing consultant Jon Schallert, teaches independent business owners on how to reposition their businesses as “consumer destinations”. According to Schallert, a business using his “Destination Business” strategies can compete effectively with superstores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot, and significantly impact a local community. According to Schallert, it is not uncommon for destination businesses to create change in an entire city, by pulling consumers from miles around, from outside the typical, immediate marketplace of a community.
For inside information about the businesses which attended the 2011 Destination BootCamp, review the official press release.
It is always good when visitors to our community are impressed with the people and activites in Phillips county. We often do not get feedback directly. Rarer still, have articles written about Phillips County and then have them published in national magazines. Well, here is one such article, we would like to share with you.
Jon Schallert, the founder of Schallert Bootcamp, was fortunate to have got to know seven (7) individuals from Phillips County last year that attended his camp. The knowledge and expertise shared during the bootcamp was quickly applied by the business owners from Phillips County upon their return. The Discover Phillipsburg Main Street organization with financial assistance from Phillips County Economic Development (PCED) last year sent these seven individuals, including Michelle Jacobs (the community coordinator) for the Community Reinvestment group of Phillips County.
The growth and impact by Schallert bootcamp on these businesses was so great, that the PCED made the committment to the Schallert Group to reserve a place each year for six businesses for the next three (3) years. This was a $45,000 dollar committment for the Bootcamp by paying for business owners boot-camp reservation fees. This type of committment was the first ever for Schallert across the entire nation. It was because of this involvement with Phillips County, that Jon had a special article created to put in some national magazines.
Payback to the community comes from the growth of these businesses (because of the application of the education learned at Schallert). Every business is different in what it does and the impacts received. One of the business owners stated it helped increase their revenue by at least 400%, another 100%, another was seeing 50% increases, where others forecasted future growth potential. These impacts are all great, but vary depending on the business and its involvements in applying ideas it has learned.
The biggest challenge most businesses see upon returning (if they are making large expansions or changes) is financial. Phillips County, Kansas is very unique as the PCED has a local grant program, called the EBEP. It is one of only about 4 counties in the State of Kansas which has a true grant program for entrepreneurs. Along with the grant, if approved, they can apply for a low to no interest loan up to 60% of the cost of the project. If they happen to fall into the Discover Phillips Main Street district in Phillipsburg, they could as for additional zero interest loan funds. This pro-active atmosphere being created and fueled by businesses attending Schallert, is one of many reasons which lead Phillips County to be designated an Entrepreneurial Community (E-Community) by Network Kansas in 2010.
Every business is unique, just like every person is, that runs a business. The key to growing our communities is through visionary concepts created by our entrepreneurs. Stepping out of the box (mindset) from our rural mainstreet (traditional marketing) into creating a place (business) that visitors and shoppers will travel more than 200 miles to purchase items because it is (a destination). This concept may sound strange, but consider what you (everyone) does for a vacation. They make a special trip to go somewhere unique.
Phillips County has had it challenges, but as residents and businesses we have great potential. Jon Schallert and many other visitors which shop here as a regional point, see this. If we are to continue to stay strong and grow, we must be pro-active and postitive, and see ourselves (our county) as a regional point, just as many people across the state and nation see us already.
Let’s Discover Phillips County’s potential!!!!
Posted by Jeff Hofaker
In April of 2010 we applied for a grant through the Special Request Funding program from the Phillips County Economic Development to help fund our marketing strategies. The grant paid for 50% of our marketing efforts as Odor-Z-Way matched the other 50% of funds. This was a huge help as we were able to expand our exposure with a commercial that we ran in 25 major cities throughout the US. We were also able to purchase more banners and advertising gimmicks to help our customers advertise our products in their stores. We were able to greatly reduce our cost and maximize the customers that we were trying to reach.
The PCED was very instrumental in helping us complete the necessary paper work and steer us in the right direction to complete everything in its entirety in a timely manner. The process does entail some work by the applicant, but overall, this is a simple process and is one that is worth-while for any company needing financial help for marketing.
I would highly recommend any company needing assistance in expanding their marketing efforts to look into this program. This is a great program for any company looking to market their business and products locally on a small scale or nationally on large scale. I guarantee you will cut costs and reach more customers overall.
Customer Retention is critical to every business!
Today, more than ever before, it’s critical to get and keep customers! Most of the businesses in the United States generate the majority of their revenue by maintaining and cross-selling to their existing customers. Having a website makes you an international company, so keep in mind you may have customers anywhere in the world.
Studies show that a mere 5% increase in customer retention can result in minimum profit increases of 20% but could be as much as 80% for most businesses. Using these increases in your projected cash flows, this should help everyone understand that customer retention is very important.
Here are the seven keys to customer retention and cross-selling.
1. Know your customer’s world: What makes them unique? What are their specific needs? What causes them to take action, to buy? What would keep them from buying?
2. Deliver flawless results: To establish long-term customer relationships it is critical that you flawlessly deliver every benefit and value you promise. That is the key to a customer’s respect, trust and loyalty.
3. Develop a proactive plan: Understanding your customer’s world and doing first-rate work are essential for creating a loyal clientele. In addition, you must develop a proactive, customer-specific plan that implements how you will retain and grow your customer base. Without a plan, you’ll drift from project to project, relying mostly on luck.
4. Uncover “needs”: To retain customers, you must focus on driving customer satisfaction. Rather than just making a sale and then moving on to the next customer, savvy salespeople are turning themselves into “account managers” in addition to being salespeople.
5. Manage expectations: You need to manage expectations. This means from both a positive (proactive communication) and negative perspective. Let me give you an example. Customers with unrealistic expectations with regard to what they want and/or what you can deliver will never be satisfied. They’ll just waste your time and then ultimately take their business elsewhere.
6. Keep your name in front of your customer: Maintain communications. Reach out to the customer four times a year at a minimum. Send them a note, call them, drop by, take them to lunch, etc. Make sure you use technology (i.e., email, social media, etc.) to proactively manage your customer contact.
7. Assume nothing: No matter how good you are, never assume you’ve got a loyal client. Complacency never fosters loyalty. A client’s trust and loyalty can be lost, if a salesperson gets over confident or lets performance slip . . . even on just one interaction.
Remember: “You don’t need to provide excellent customer service to all your customers . . . just the ones you want to keep!” American author
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Information provided by Barbara Wold International International Speaker, Author and Business Strategist Global Retail & Consumer Expert
Everyone is talking about wind development nowdays! Well, Phillips County has been for a while, as well. There continues to be activity for wind development in our area on several fronts. The most noteworthy is the Pleasant Ridge Wind Project. Pleasant Ridge Wind, LLC is an organization formed out of a collaboration of landowners across portions of 8 townships in the northern section of Phillips County. Roughly 33,000 acres cumulatively through these landowners have agreed to utilize Bannister Capital Advisors, LLC as a direct liaison and negociator for wind developers to be recruited into the area. Bannistor Capital Advisors, LLC is a private consulting business which has experience in negociating in legal terms with wind developers. At the present time, Mark Bannister and his three brothers (Joel, Grant, and Ted), have started the process of soliciting wind developers through an offiical RFP (request for Proposals) process. This process includes all the specifications wanted and agreed upon from all the landowner members of the Pleasant Ridge Wind organization (landowner group).
While this process continues, the PCED staff has continued to create tools which may help with the marketability of Phillips County for wind development. Letters were sent out in late 2009, to all landowners in Phillips County, with an “Endorsement of Wind Development” committment sheet. With the return of these “endorsements”, a map of landowners “for” and “against” their land being considered for wind development has been constructed and updated daily. This provides a ready-to-use tool (information) for wind developers. Out of the 1700 letters orginally sent out, we have recieved 264 “endorsements” back to the PCED office. The majority of the “endorsements” have been positive. There was no deadline for returning this information, but we have recieved about 15% back after two months; we would encourage all Phillips County landowners that have not sent in their “endorsements” to please do so.
Most recently (within the last three days), we have had two inquiries for this information. It is exciting to know, we have most of the information readily available to immediately scan and send out to a possible wind (green) developer. This does not necessarily mean development will happen, but it does allow the developer to have additional information abuot the county to help make a more informed decision. PCED will continue to work with these groups toward the end result hopefully becoming wind development in our area.
In light of the increasing utility costs, expanding schools needs, and deminishing revenues, schools across the country should consider (if possible) a new and forward-thinking solution with countless benefits: renewable energy from wind power. By harnessing the wind that blows across playgrounds, school buildings, and parking lots, the administrators and communities could realize the immediate rewards of a community-sized wind turbine brought to their facility.
From lower energy bills to hands-on energy education, schools win when they implement wind power.
- Educational opportunities: Having a turbine in your backyard – and even the process of planning for it – adds an experiential dimension to your school’s science, math, and civic classes. What better way to train the technicians, engineers, and leaders of tomorrow?
- Lower utility bills: Your electrical costs drop the second your blades start spinning.
- Taxpayer benefits: Lower facility costs for your public schools can help balance budgets and lower the tax burden on community residents.
- Stable cost of power: You’ll know what your wind-powered electricity will cost you for 20 years or more so you can safeguard your school’s budget against the volatile and increasing costs of energy. In a way, making your school financially independent from most of your energy costs, if planned out.
- Green economy: Your school-based wind turbine – and each new installation it fosters – will bring high-value jobs to your community.
When considering which turbine to purchase, schools should think about their setting, local permitting regulations, and economics. Here are some of the issues that schools consider in making their turbine choice.
- Load matching: All else being equal, schools will want to choose a turbine – or 2 or 3 – that can support as much of its electricity needs as possible so it can gain the greatest benefit from site-based generation.
- Aesthetic fit: The turbine’s height profile and operational sound levels will be a consideration if it will be located near neighbors and/or classrooms.
- Educational support: Educators will often create their own curriculum around their turbine, but it can be a big help if the turbine supplier can provide supporting materials and ideas.
- Technology: Not every wind turbine is created equal. A turbine’s technology and design can affect many things including energy capture, maintenance requirements, and sound performance.
- Proven operation: Like any major capital investment project, you will want to know that your wind turbine is not a concept waiting for a test site. Proven results are very important.
The first step of project is difficult. Wind projects take funding, and in today’s economy that can stop most decision makers in their tracks. Though, if nothing is done now to help, we will probably be dead in tracks in the future. Proactive thinking is the solution. Kansas now has a grant program provided through the Kansas Corporation Commission to assist with ONLY State agencies, counties, cities, and unified schools districts for upgrading to green energy, such as wind, solar, and geothermal. This grant has many requirements and will not pay for the entire project, but it definately is an avenue consider. More information can be found at KCC’s website.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. This is the season of giving. There is nothing quite like shopping in a rural town with the perfect Christmas atmosphere. Local retail shops offering hot cider to people walking in the door. Music playing in the street. Local residents smiling and talking to you as they shop. Always a parking place nearby and never having to wait in line very long, if ever. There are many reasons for shopping in the small town and having a GREAT experience is definately the first thing that comes to mind.
Additionally, we need to keep in mind the economic support given to our small entrepreneurial businesses. By shopping local, we keep a larger portion of our money in the local economy and support jobs through these businesses. The business owners and the salaries toward their staff allow for those families to continue living and surviving in our area. It is understandable that from time to time, some items need to be purchased from stores out of town, BUT many of those goods we need or even want for Christmas (or during the year) can be found or ordered locally. Sometimes the item price will be same, higher or even (yes!) lower, than purchasing out-of-town goods. Also, when you figure gas and incidental spending (food, movies, other), more often than not, a trip for buying out-of-town goods can cost a resident more than shopping locally. Yes, there are exceptions. I will not list them all, but the primary reason used seems to be the “I just want to get out of town! ” . Although this is the most used reason, it usually equates to the most expensive trip for the resident and/or family (due to unexpected and unneeded goods/services) and also takes away critical, financial support from smaller local businesses.
Because of the economy and challenging times, many residents have been very frugal and pro-active in their shopping this year. Buying earlier in the year through payments at a local store. Utilizing some of the out-of-home entrepreneurial businesses, such as candles, home decor, quilts, or other items, for stocking stuffers has been more popular this year. Gift certificates toward local grocers, fuel, or essentials have been talked about a lot this year as well.
Christmas is definately the time for giving, as we are reminded by “the reason for the season!” As we all look at our neighbors across our towns, consider giving gifts acquired from those local and small town stores, which in turn support the local community and families. In these challenging times, we should also focus our attention toward supporting our local non-profit organizations, who work diligently toward improving our way of life and the basic needs those in need in our area.
Thank you all for supporting our local businesses! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The exhibit hall will feature 37 booths filled with successful small businesses, service providers, and other conference sponsors. Attendees will be able to meet with experts in many fields – attorneys, CPA’s, web designers, etc. – who will be available throughout the day to answer participant questions.
Conference goers may find it difficult to choose from numerous educational sessions offered throughout the event. Tracks include Business Development, Finance, Marketing, Community Development, Agriculture, and Technology. Sessions will also cover ideas for entrepreneurial communities and practical rural policy perspectives. A total of 42 different break-out sessions will be offered.
“Entrepreneurship and small businesses are a major part of Kansas’ economy and especially important during times of economic hardships,” said Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs. “Marketplace is for those committed to creating their own opportunities and shaping their own destiny through entrepreneurship. It offers a space to share ideas and learn from each other.”
For more information on MarketPlace or to register: http://www.cfra.org/marketplace/home . Or contact Joy Marshall, firstname.lastname@example.org, (402) 614- 5558 or Becki Rhoades, email@example.com, (785) 296-1847.
For more information and a list of Simply Kansas members visit: www.SimplyKansas.com
“The Center for Rural Affairs and the Kansas Department of Commerce are Equal Opportunity Employers”
3 - Think about which three independently owned businesses you’d miss most if they were gone. Stop in and say hello. Pick up a little something that will make someone smile. Your contribution is what keeps those businesses around.
50 – If just half the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month in independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue. Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the employed population did that.
68 – For every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spent it online and nothing comes home.
1 - The number of people it takes to start the trend…you!
Pick 3. Spend 50. Save your local economy.
Visit the 350 project. net