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.
G.I. gears up for SkillsUSA competition
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Grow Grand Island expands its mission for community growth in 2017
Heading into its third year of progress in planning for Grand Island’s future, Grow Grand Island is poised for an expanded mission in 2017.
That was the message Tonja Brown and Nicki Stoltenberg of Grow Grand Island brought to the Grand Island Rotary Club on Tuesday. Read More
Aksarben’s Stock Show moving west to Grand Island
An 89-year agricultural tradition in Omaha is moving down the trail to Grand Island.
The Aksarben Stock Show, the nation’s largest 4-H livestock show, will be at Grand Island’s Fonner Park this fall, ending a run in Omaha that began in 1928. Read More
Burlington set to open store at Northwest Commons this fall
Burlington Coat Factory, now known simply as Burlington, will open a new 40,000-square-foot store in the fall at Northwest Commons in Grand Island, said Tim Lowe, vice president of leasing and development for the Staenberg Group.
The Staenberg Group, which is headquartered in St. Louis, has worked with Grand Island developer Ray O’Connor, who owns Northwest Commons. Read More
Cowboy up! The rodeo is coming to town
Rodeo Grand Island will be the newest Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association Rodeo event in the nation, scheduled for March 2 through 4 in the Heartland Event Center at Fonner Park.
Kim and Steve Sutton will bring the three-day event to Grand Island. Sutton Rodeo of Onida, S.D. is a sixth-generation rodeo company founded in 1926 with extensive experience producing very successful rodeos and stock shows. Check out the website at www.suttonrodeo.com. Read More
Mixed year for local economy with trends forecasting same for new year
It was a mixed year for Grand Island’s economy, and that trend should continue into the new year, said Cindy Johnson, president of the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce.
“The downturn in the agricultural sector continued and, in some respects, intensified,” Johnson said. “As an ag community, low commodity prices impact nearly every aspect of business.”
2016 Brought Plenty of Success to GI
Greetings of the season! This time of year brings many joyous activities for children and adults from school and church programs, to decorating and baking, to letter writing and card mailing, to friends and family gatherings, to storytelling and gift giving.
Yes, shopping is also one of those activities — more joyous for some than others. The last couple of months of the year are certainly the most important time of the year for most retailers. The Grand Island area is fortunate to have a terrific composition of local, regional and national retailers providing the needed and desired goods and products. Most importantly, our retail trade area continues to extend south to Kansas and well into the Sandhills to the north, making Grand Island a vibrant and appealing trade center. Read More
SkillsUSA competition coming to town
In just a couple of months Grand Island will welcome 1,500 students from across the state for the Skills USA Nebraska Leadership and Skills Conference. The conference, planned for March 30 through April 1, will be the first of a three-year stint in Grand Island.
The main competition day is set for Friday, March 31. The public, family members and members of business and industry are encouraged to attend the competitions in the Heartland Events Center, Pinnacle Expo Center and the Sheep Barn at Fonner Park. Read More
Manufacturing remains big business in Grand Island
According to the National Association of Manufacturing, manufacturing contributed $2.17 trillion to the economy in 2015, a number that has been on the rise since 2009.
Even more impressive, for every $1 spent in manufacturing, another $1.81 is added to the economy. That is the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector. In addition, for every one worker in manufacturing, there are another four employees hired elsewhere. Nationally, there are more than 12 million manufacturing workers, accounting for 9 percent of the workforce. Read More
Chamber official: To reduce property taxes, engage locally
Complaining to state legislators about Nebraska property taxes isn’t the most productive strategy, says Jamie Karl of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Legislators will probably listen politely to your concerns, but they don’t have many tools to do much about them, Karl told the Grand Island Rotary Club on Tuesday. It would be smarter to complain to city and county officials and school board members, Karl said. Even better would be running for office yourself, Karl said.
Karl and Barry Kennedy, also of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, presented their annual legislative outlook to Rotarians. Read More
Outlook good for Standard Iron plant
Parts fashioned at Standard Iron in Grand Island wind up in combines built by CNH in Grand Island and commuter rail equipment manufactured by Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing in Lincoln.
The Grand Island plant also builds construction equipment components for the Oklahoma City facility of Terex, a global manufacturer. Another good Standard Iron customer is Thermo King in Hastings.
Standard Iron’s architectural metals division has done work for some high-profile projects, including the Minnesota Vikings’ new U.S. Bank Stadium and Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. While not the general contractor, the company built railings and stairs for those two stadiums, as well as the Mall of America. 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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 web-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 email@example.com.
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.