I always enjoy traveling with Nebraskans and seeing exciting developments happening in our state. As part of a recent out of state work period, I had the opportunity to spend the day in Hastings and participate in a series of business tours. In this week’s column, I want to tell you something about that day.
My first stop in Hastings was with Small Town Famous, a “modern” general store and screen printing shop with great staff. Many of their fun products and custom apparel celebrate the state of Nebraska.
I toured their shop and production facility with co-owner, Jack Cranson, who explained how their in-house business began before expanding into downtown Hastings.
I also got a chance to print my own T-shirt at his shop. Jack’s has some great ideas and I’m excited to see what the future holds for this store. Small Town Famous is a participating member of this year’s Nebraska Passport Program, an amazing initiative to help travelers discover Nebraska’s many hidden gems, so be sure to stop by and get your passport stamped.
Next I went to The Art Bar, where we met owner Courtney Davis. Kourtney and I discussed inflation and other challenges facing small businesses across the country.
While there, I enjoyed The Art Bar’s signature latte and it was delicious. Glad to see firsthand the joy the business gets from serving its loyal customers. Kourtney also has some great ideas for future ways to encourage people to have unique experiences in Downtown Hastings.
The final part of the business tour was Gary Michael’s Clothiers, owned by Trish Ludman and Tammy Valentin and founded by Michael Naviri. This business is a positive addition to any Nebraska community, especially the size of Hastings, and it has an inventory of men’s and women’s clothing that is pretty impressive.
During our visit, we discussed the history of the business and the development of Downtown Hastings. He also highlighted some of the impact entanglements in supply chains are still having on their store operations.
Later that day, I had the chance to sit down with members of Allo Communications, a Nebraska-based company working to give communities access to fiber-optics. Allo serves over one million people across three states, with operations in 28 cities. President Brad Molin and his team talked about various projects and investments across our state.
These are businesses of different sizes that offer different products and services, but they have a few things in common – an entrepreneurial spirit, a can-do attitude, and a vision for the future. It is inspiring to see many business owners harnessing their talents and working hard.
In doing so, they are able to support their community, grow the local economy, and follow their dreams.
It is especially wonderful to see the next generation of young entrepreneurs making communities like Hastings their home. The future of this community is very bright because of people like him. I can’t wait to see the developments Hastings will see over the next several years.
Nebraskans are known for their hard work, determination and patience. I am proud to represent my state and will continue to fight for policies that support entrepreneurship and innovation at the federal level.
I want to thank the many business owners I met for taking the time to share their stories and show me their surroundings. It was a nice day to be on the road in Nebraska.