Grand Island, Nebraska — a community with strong ties to our history and an even stronger focus on our future. Grand Island is the fourth largest city in Nebraska, with an estimated population of 49,989.The community also serves residents in much of rural Nebraska including an area of over 20,000 square miles with an estimated population of over 200,000. Incorporated in 1872, Grand Island has a rich history reflected today in the stability of the community and the outstanding quality of life for its residents.
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce welcomes you to our web site where you’ll find a variety of information about our community, our businesses and industry.
To address the need for a trained and prepared workforce, the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce led a community initiative resulting in the development and creation of the Career Pathways Institute. A collaborative effort involving Grand Island Public Schools, Central Community College and the business community, the mission of Career Pathways Institute is to prepare motivated learners for career pathways that lead to employment and continued learning.
Your Grand Island Chamber is proud to be a partner in Grand Island’s growth and prosperity. Your Grand Island Chamber spearheaded efforts to bring the Nebraska State Fair to Grand Island. New venue, new facilities, and a renewed sense of pride in what Grand Island is. This is just the beginning.
The Grand Island Chamber is proud to play an important role in defining what Grand Island is and will become. The Grand Island Chamber — Direction for Business.
Talon Apartments project approved by city council
The Grand Island City Council approved $4.47 million in tax-increment financing Tuesday night for the $27 million Talon Apartment project at Highway 34 and South Locust Street — but not before hearing some concerns. Read More.
Vote FOR Pennies For Progress May 10
The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce will honor the top-ranked graduating scholars from Northwest High School during an academic recognition reception at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the school’s auditorium.Vote FOR Pennies for Progress
How important is the renewal of the food and beverage tax for Grand Island on May 10th?
Watch this video and see for yourself.
Seminar dealt with growing threat of cyber security risks in Central Nebraska
Members of the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce learned about the increasing threat of cyber criminals in Central Nebraska and how to protect themselves and their businesses from cyber attacks on Tuesday.
Intellicom presented “Cyber Risks: The Growing Threat” to help individuals prevent cyber crime. The chamber sponsored the seminar. Read more.
G.I. Area Chamber of Commerce academic recognition event honors top Northwest grads
For more than 30 years, the chamber has hosted a series of annual academic recognition receptions honoring the top-ranked scholars from Grand Island’s high schools. The three receptions, along with the endowment of chamber academic scholarships to four local students, provide an opportunity for the chamber and business partners to demonstrate their support for the scholastic achievements of today’s student leaders and tomorrow’s business leaders. Read more.
GISH hosts ceremony to honor brightest in Class of 2016
Students in Grand Island were recognized for academic excellence Monday night. 75 Grand Island Senior High seniors were honored at a ceremony as the top 15% of the Class of 2016. Read more.
G.I. Area Chamber of Commerce introduces '35 under35' honorees
Cities grow because they have a good workforce with the proper skills for today’s modern economy, and because they have the right infrastructure of good highways and air travel connections.
But Jerry Patterson, senior vice president of retirement and income solutions with the Principal Financial Group, told the audience at the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday night having a great work force is increasingly a matter of also having a community where people want to live and play. Read more.
Backers of Food and Beverage Tax Say It's Crucial to City's Success
A 1.5 percent tax on food and beverages is about more than the 75 cents it would generate on a $50 restaurant bill, says Grand Island Mayor Jeremy Jensen.
The tax would lead to more businesses coming to Grand Island, improvements in the city’s quality of life and less pressure to raise property taxes, Jensen said.
Jensen made his comments Tuesday at a gathering that kicked off the “Pennies for Progress” campaign. On May 10, voters will be asked to renew the 1.5 percent tax on served food and beverages that has been existence since 2008. The tax would be slightly expanded from its current form.Read more.
Pennies for Progress to Kick Off Campaign on Tuesday
Pennies for Progress will have a press conference at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Nebraska Building at Fonner Park to begin a two-month campaign to educate the voting public on the extension of the 1.5-cent occupation tax on served food and beverages.
The extension of the occupation tax will be on the May 10 primary election ballot.
The Grand Island City Council on Dec. 22 unanimously approved renewal of the tax, subject to voter approval.
The existing served food and beverage occupation tax began in 2008 to assist with recruitment of the Nebraska State Fair and is scheduled to sunset on or before July 1, 2017. Read more.
Pennies for Progress: Food and Beverage Tax up for Renewal
The campaign to renew Grand Island’s 1.5 cent tax on served food and beverages is called Pennies for Progress.
Dave Taylor, president of the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corp. (EDC), told members of the Citizens Review Committee Thursday that the EDC supports the renewal because of the beneficial ways that the revenue can be used — and because visitors to Grand Island contribute to the revenue when they come to shop or attend sporting, agricultural or cultural events.
“When all these people come to town, they are leaving their pennies here,” Taylor told the committee. “They are eating here, they are getting food prepared here, they are buying gas here, they are leaving their pennies here for our progress — and that’s what we want.”
The original food and beverage tax was implemented in 2008, but will sunset this July.
The Grand Island City Council has placed the renewal on the May 10 primary election ballot. If approved by voters, the renewed tax would begin in July, but would have no sunset. Read more.
Preserving Existing Economic Assets.
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce is continuously engaged in identifying potential opportunities for the Grand Island business community. Equally important is our focus on preserving existing economic assets. Husker Harvest Days is one example of growing an idea into an opportunity that resulted in a successful economic engine for Hall County. And, in the near future, we will be working collaboratively with public and private partners to enhance and protect this important asset.
Husker Harvest Days
Husker Harvest Days is the largest working irrigated farm show in the world. More than 35 years ago, community leaders from Grand Island and central Nebraska envisioned an experimental farm show that could be developed as a showplace for agriculture. The Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Committee became the catalyst for the conversations and resulting development.
Following site visits to other farm shows in the Midwest, hours spent in discussion and debate, and acquisition of land at the former Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant, Husker Harvest Days was born. A non-profit subsidiary corporation of the Grand Island Chamber known as the Agriculture Institute of Nebraska was formed. This group secured the funding, oversaw the development of leased land so it could be farmed and irrigated, and provided other expertise. The first show was held in 1978.
Now more than three decades later, community leaders are coming together with a goal of modernizing the Husker Harvest Days site. Infrastructure needs, including burial of utility lines, improved site drainage, and paved roads, have been identified. These improvements will ensure that Husker Harvest Days remains one of the top farm shows in the United States. We look forward to reviewing the engineer/architectural plans this fall.
Husker Harvest Days generates a $7.7 million impact on the Hall County economy, according to a recent study completed by Dr. Eric Thompson with the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. The Agriculture Institute of Nebraska commissioned this study in 2013 to determine the economic impact of Husker Harvest Days. The report delineates the various economic activities associated with Husker Harvest Days and considers the spending of over 100,000 visitors who attend the three-day event, and exhibitors who arrive a week in advance to set up their exhibits and to meet with customers. These vendors, exhibitors, and visitors purchase products and services in our community and enjoy dining and other entertainment as well accruing to a $7.7 million impact.
Business First is an outreach program that seeks to facilitate expansions and mitigate layoffs by conducting a series of site visits and surveys with existing business in and around Grand Island.
The Chamber wants to help support our local partners, help solve business concerns and improve the business climate of the community. This program will help local businesses remain competitive and increase local businesses' ability to compete in the global economy.
A BRE (Business Retention and Expansion) Team will be visiting you soon!
Please contact Freida Jemison, Partnership Services Coordinator, at 308.382.9210 with any questions.
Grow Grand Island
Grow Grand Island Implementation Leaders met on Thursday, April 16 to set the schedule for future meetings for all 39 recommendations. These recommendations were the result of research carried out by Market Street Services, Inc. and Design Workshop, Inc. and the input of thousands from the community. The Implementation Leaders reviewed baseline benchmarks for the recommendations encompassed by six overarching goals which are: advancing job creation; elevating standards of living; improving talent attraction and retention; advancing educational attainment; increasing volunteerism and engagement; and helping existing businesses grow. Specific targets, to be achieved by the year 2020, will be established for each of these goals. If you are interested in serving on one of the implementation committees, fill out the sign up sheet below and return to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
About Grow Grand Island - A Grander Vision for the Heartland: The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corporation and Convention and Visitors Bureau partnered together to hire an economic development firm to create a proactive, five-year, holistic business development growth strategic plan. The plan analyzed Grand Island’s talent pipeline, inter-industry purchases, economic impact analysis, and exports; created a community marketing brand; and guided strategic investment in business and economic development through 2019.
Market Street, the chosen strategic planning contractor, had established its reputation of success throughout the nation. Both the Greater Omaha Chamber and the Greater Des Moines Partnership utilized Market Street in their recent economic development plans, Prosper Omaha and Capital Crossroads, respectively.
"Market Street’s credibility with our key constituents enhanced the development of the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership's five-year strategic plan, Prosper Omaha 2014-2018. Recently, Mac Holladay provided subject matter expertise for a presentation with key economic development investors and leaders from the Nebraska-Iowa metro area as we prepared to launch our new six-county Greater Omaha Regional Economic Development Organization,” said David G. Brown, Omaha’s Chamber's president and CEO.
Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership stated, “Market Street did an excellent job helping us bring together our regional public and private partners at both the grasstops and grassroots level to develop and launch ‘Capital Crossroads: A Vision for Greater Des Moines and Central Iowa.
The business development growth strategy, Grow Grand Island, recently merged with Grander Vision, the City of Grand Island's comprehensive visioning plan, to best utilize available resources. Many of the recommendations from Grander Vision overlapped or aligned with recommendations from Grow Grand Island and this merge assures community organizations and public entities are focused on the same goals.
Web-Based Buyer's Guide
Grow Grand Island is establishing a we-based buyer's guide to promote and encourage business-to-business procurement on a local level in Hall County.
We invite any business to participate in this beginning phase of building the database, which entails capturing your goods and services in the form of keywords via an online questionnaire. Complete the questionnaire!
Keywords should be specific and comprised of 1-2 (maybe 3) words. Phrases and sentences should be avoided. Pre-planning your keywords is encouraged, although your submission can be edited at a later time. To access a free tool to help identify the best keywords, click here.
If you have any questions, please contact Tonja at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Committee members include: Tonja Brown, Jessica Hendricks, Tammy Slater, Tanya Potthoff, Freida Jemison, Michelle Fitzke, Sara Bennett, Jay Wren, Cindy Johnson, Griselda Rendon, and Sandra Barrera.
The 2016 Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting took place on March 31 with the theme of "Power of the Past - Force of the Future". At the Annual Meeting, the Chamber's Top 35 Under 35 were honored and awarded certificates for their achievements. The Chamber also awarded recipients of the Small Business of the Year award, Richard Good Distinguished Service award, Outlier award, and the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame award.
Click here to see the Power of the Past - Force of the Future video.
Congratulations to our award winners:
Active Family Chiropractic & Acupuncture received the award for Small Business of the Year.
The Richard Good Distinguished Service honor was awarded to Kris Nolan Brown.
Stuhr Museum received the honor of the Outlier award.
Jerry's Sheet Metal was honored with the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame award.
Award Winner Videos:
To see photos of the event, click here.
Photos by Iris Photography.
Volunteer Registration is Now Available
The volunteer website is now running and positions are filling up fast. If you have never volunteered before, or are a veteran volunteer, click here to register online today!
If you are not comfortable with online registration, we will have a website learning session at the Grand Island Public Library on June 7th. Casey will be there to answer any questions and help you through the process.
Paper applications are also available at the Chamber of Commerce, or download one here.
We look forward to you volunteering with us at the 2016 Nebraska State Fair!
Chamber Booth at the Nebraska State Fair
The Chamber has once again secured a booth at the 2016 Nebraska State Fair for use by Chamber partners. This booth allows businesses to showcase their products or services to more than 300,000 potential customers! The booth will be located in the Pinnacle Bank Expo Center with tables, skirting, chairs and electricity provided. Our partner businesses can reserve either a half day (9 a.m. – 3 p.m. or 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.) or a full day (9 a.m. – 9 p.m.). Booth rental is $85 for a half day and $150 for a full day. The 2016 Nebraska State Fair runs August 26 through September 5.
Interested businesses are asked to fill out the application and return it to the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce by June 17, 2016. All efforts will be made to accommodate preferences while offering this opportunity to as many businesses as possible. Preference will be given to applicants in the order applications are received. Click here for the application.
Hay Bale Decorating Contest
Hay bales were once again secured for the Hay Bale Decorating Contest that takes place prior to the Nebraska State Fair. Interested businesses or organizations can apply to decorate a hay bale that portrays the 2016 Nebraska State Fair theme “Grand Champions”. Interested organizations should complete the application and return it to the Chamber by July 22. Click here for the application. Contact Casey at email@example.com or 308.382.1620 for more information.
2016 Harvest of Harmony Float Applications are Now Available
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce invites you to join in the rhythm and pageantry of Grand Island’s grandest fall tradition – The Chamber’s Harvest of Harmony Parade being held Saturday, October 1, 2016.
The theme for the 75th annual event is “Our Diamond Jubilee – An Illustrious Past and a Bright Future." Area businesses, clubs, service organizations, churches, schools, and individuals are invited to participate in the parade as a float entry. Float entrants are encouraged to decorate their float relating to their interpretation of the theme. Your entry will be a fun way to spread the word about your civic organization!
There are three basic types of floats in the Harvest of Harmony Parade – walking unit, single vehicle, and a towed decorated float. A $40 fee applies for all entries, competing or non-competing (including walking entries).
There will be a 2.5 hour live telecast on NTV, from 8:30 – 11 a.m. Entries cannot be guaranteed live television coverage due to commercial breaks. The deadline for entries is Friday, September 2nd, 2016. We will communicate your time and location to assemble, in your final mailing.
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce and the Harvest of Harmony Committee are looking forward to this year’s event and hope that you will join us, as a participant or spectator, on Saturday, October 1st. Click here to download the float application and guidelines.