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  • Come #ShopSmall With Us

    The holiday shopping season is fast approaching, and we want Grand Islanders to make their purchases at local small businesses. After all, money spent here stays here - and that's a great thing! That's why we want to share Small Business Saturday with you. It's a holiday shopping tradition that celebrates small businesses. 

    So mark your calendar for the Saturday after Thanksgiving - and get ready to #ShopSmall with us. We're encouraging all small businesses to participate on November 24. Click on the link above to learn more about how you can promote your business, or you can help get the word out and help celebrate Small Business Saturday by using #ShopSmall on Facebook, Instagram, and all of your social networks.

    We want to help you, too. We're collecting a list of Grand Island small business who are participating on Shop Small Saturday so that we can promote them in our newsletter, The Grand Island Independent and our social media pages leading up to November 24. Please fill out the application below if you're a small business that wants to be promoted!


  • Harvest of Harmony Parade Competition Results


    Heartland Community Schools 39 28 39 96 1
    Kearney High School 38 28 27.5 93.5 2
    Aurora High School 39 26.5 27 92.5 3
    Grand Island Senior High 38 25.5 27 90.5 T-4
    Grand Island Northwest High School 38 26.5 26 90.5 T-4
    Osmond Public Schools 36 25.5 28 89.5 6
    Alma Public School 39 25 24.5 88.5 T-7
    Crofton Public School 39 24 25.5 88.5 T-7
    Lincoln East High School 39 24.5 24 87.5 T-9
    Syracuse High School 34 27.5 26 87.5 T-9


    Kearney High School 38 28 27.5 93.5 1
    Grand Island Senior High 38 25.5 27 90.5 2
    Lincoln East High School 39 24.5 24 87.5 3
    Hastings High School 37 24 22.5 83.5 4
    North Platte High School 32 25.5 22.5 80 5
    Lincoln Northeast High 38 20 18.5 76.5 6


    Grand Island Northwest 38 26.5 26 90.5 1
    Crete High School 37 24.5 24.5 86 2
    Nebraska City High School 38 26 21 85 3
    York High School 38 24 22.5 84.5 4
    Seward High School 36 25.5 22.5 84 5
    McCook High School 34 22.5 21.5 78 6
    Schuyler Central High School 32 17 19.5 68.5 7


    Aurora High School 39 26.5 27 92.5 1
    Syracuse High School 34 27.5 26 87.5 2
    Pierce High School 38 25.5 23 86.5 3
    Ogallala High School 37 26 23 86 4
    Minden High School 36 27 21.5 84.5 5
    Milford High School 39 23.5 21.5 84 6
    Broken Bow High School 39 23.5 19.5 82 7
    Scotus Central Catholic High School 34 25.5 20.5 80 8
    Adams Central High School 35 23.5 21 79.5 9
    Columbus Lakeview High School 35 20 17 72 10
    Gothenburg High School 30 20.5 19.5 70 11
    Fairbury High School 29 19 21 69 12
    Cozad High School 31 17.5 15.5 64 T-13
    Holdrege High School 30 16.5 17.5 64 T-13
    Conestoga Jr./Sr. High School 30 17 15 62 15


    Heartland Community School 39 28 29 96 1
    Crofton Community Schools 39 24 25.5 88.5 2
    Wood River High School 37 24.5 21 82.5 3
    Amherst Public School 36 23.5 22.5 82 4
    Cross County High School 35 25.5 21 81.5 5
    Kearney Catholic School 37 19.5 24 80.5 6
    Freeman High School 32 25.5 22 79.5 7
    Palmyra Jr./Sr. High School 33 25 20 78 8
    Palmer High School 33 26.5 18 77.5 9
    Yutan Public Schools 30 26 21 77 10
    St. Paul High School 30 24.5 21 75.5 11
    Southern Valley High School 33 24 16 73 12
    Sandy Creek High School 36 20 16.5 72.5 13
    Elm Creek Public School 32 19 21 72 14
    Boone Central Schools 31 21.5 18 70.5 15
    Doniphan-Trumbull High School 33 19 18 70 16
    Elmwood Murdock Public School 29 19 21.5 69.5 T-17
    Superior Jr./Sr. High School 30 20.5 19 69.5 T-17
    Centennial Public School 34 17 17 68 19
    Blue Hill Community School 30 24 13.5 67.5 T-20
    Central City High School 32 17.5 18 67.5 T-20
    Creighton Community High 29 23 13.5 65.5 22
    Centura High School 30 19.5 15.5 65 23
    Grand Island Central Catholic 30 18.5 15.5 64 24
    Ord High School 30 15.5 16.5 62 25
    Burwell Jr./Sr. High School 29 16 14.5 59.5 T-26
    Southwest Public Schools 29 15.5 15 59.5 T-26
    Lincoln Lutheran High School 29 16 12 57 28
    Madison High School 29 15 12.5 56.5 29


    Osmond High School 36 25.5 28 89.5 1
    Alma High School 39 25 24.5 88.5 2
    Neligh-Oakdale High School 38 26.5 22.5 87 3
    Deshler High School 37 24 22 83 4
    Hastings St. Cecilia High 36 24 20 80 5
    Chambers Public School 34 22.5 22.5 79 T-6
    McCool Junction Public School 32 23 24 79 T-6
    Friend Public School 36 24 18.5 78.5 8
    Arcadia Public School 35 23 18.5 76.5 T-9
    Plainview High School 34 20 22.5 76.5 T-9
    Arapahoe-Holbrook High School 30 24.5 20 74.5 11
    Ravenna Public School 37 20.5 16.5 74 12
    Axtell Community Schools 33 22 17 72 T-13
    Sumner-Eddyville-Miller Schools 31 22.5 18.5 72 T-13
    Verdigre High School 35 17 18 70 15
    Kenesaw High School 31 19 19.5 69.5 T-16
    Orchard Public School 29 23.5 17 69.5 T-16
    Wilcox-Hildreth Public School 33 16 20 69 18
    High Plains Community Schools 30 20 17 67 T-19
    Medicine Valley High 27 22 18 67 T-19
    St. Edward Public School 31 20 15.5 66.5 21
    Bruning-Davenport High School 33 16.5 16.5 66 T-22
    Overton Public School 29 19 18 66 T-22
    Elkhorn Valley High School 30 19 16.5 65.5 T-24
    Franklin Public School 31 18 16.5 65.5 T-24
    Pleasanton High School 29 18 18 65 26
    Harvard Public Schools 30 20.5 14 64.5 27
    Shelton Public Schools 29 20 14 63 28
    Meridian High School 29 15 18.5 62.5 29
    Brady Public School 30 16 15.5 61.5 30
    Eustis Farnam Public School 29 18 13.5 60.5 31
    Fullerton High School 29 15.5 15.5 60 T-32
    Osceola High School 28 18.5 13.5 60 T-32
    West Holt Public Schools 29 16.5 14 59.5 34
    Hampton High School 27 16.5 15 58.5 35
    Central Valley High School 27 14 17 58 T-36
    Gibbon Public School 27 14.5 16.5 58 T-36
    Giltner Public School 27 17 13.5 57.5 38
    Callaway Public 26 17 14 57 T-39
    Loup City High School 29 16 12 57 T-39
    Elba Public School 29 15 12.5 56.5 T-41
    Perkins County High 28 15 13.5 56.5 T-41
    Stapleton Public Schools 30 14 12.5 56.5 T-41
    Wheeler Central Schools 26 14 16.5 56.5 T-41
    Clearwater Public School 21 17.5 17 55.5 45
    Heartland Lutheran High School 29 15 11 55 46
    Lawrence-Nelson Public Schools 25 15 13.5 53.5 47
    Cedar Bluffs High 22 13 13.5 48.5 48

    Field Competition Results

    Lincoln East High School

    Superior Rating: Kearney High School, Lincoln Northeast High School, Hastings High School, Lincoln East High School
    Excellent Rating: North Platte High School, Grand Island Senior High School

    Superior Rating: Seward High School, Grand Island Northwest High School
    Excellent Rating: York High School, McCook High School, Nebraska City High School

    Superior Rating: Pierce High School, Adams Central High School, Syracuse High School, Ogallala High School, Aurora High School
    Excellent Rating: Minden High School, Holdrege High School
    Good Rating: Columbus Lakeview High School, Cozad High School, Conestoga High School, Central City High School

    Superior Rating: Palmyra High School, Crofton High School, Kearney Catholic High School
    Excellent Rating: Superior Jr./Sr. High School, Centura High School, Creighton Community School

    Excellent Rating: Perkins County High School
    Good Rating: Elkhorn Valley High School, Loup City High School

    Congratulations to Miss Grand Island Senior High, Leavitt Reno,
    on being named 2018 Miss Harvest of Harmony!

    2018 Float Award Winners

    Grand Marshal's Choice
    Building Blocks for Community

    Business Category
    1st Place - CHI St. Francis
    2nd Place - Amur Equipment
    3rd Place - New Beginnings Family Services

    Schools Category
    1st Place - Cub Scout Pack 112

    Civic Category
    1st Place - Building Blocks Foster Care
    2nd Place - Wednesday Group
    3rd Place - Boys Town

    Children's Category
    1st Place - Girl Scouts Troop 30 & 36
    2nd Place - Grand Island/Cairo Area Bowling Association
    3rd Place - Cub Scout Pack 107

    Spirit Award
    GI Scout Troops 30 & 36

  • Husker Harvest Days 'a gem' for Grand Island

    Much was made about the significant upgrades made this past off-season to ‘weather-proof’ the site of Husker Harvest Days, such as the additions of paved roads, storm sewers and a drainage pond.

    So, of course, the year all this work is done...we get three days of abundant sunshine and comfortable temperatures.

    But still, the $7.5 million dollar improvements were the story of the week, and they ensure that Husker Harvest Days will continue to be a major event for the city of Grand Island for years to come.

    Community leaders expressed just that during Tuesday morning’s opening ceremony.

    “(Husker Harvest Days) is a world class show and takes a back seat to nobody," said DJ Eihusen, President and CEO of Chief Industries. For those of us in this community, this is a gem and a jewel.”

    Grand Island mayor Jeremy Jensen said it was important for the city to help financially with the improvements on the Husker Harvest Days site.

    As reported by Robert Pore of the Grand Island Independent, Husker Harvest Days invested $5 million into the project while the City allocated $2.5 million with funds coming from the food and beverage tax.

    Husker Harvest Days, the world’s largest totally irrigated farm show, is a three-day event that brings in 100,000-plus visitors, as well as over 600 exhibitors, to the Grand Island area. That results in a direct economic impact of $5 million for the city each year alone.

    “We can’t minimize the importance of bringing people to the community,” Jensen said during the opening ceremony.

    “Our hotel rooms fill up in Grand Island...it affects our retail and our businesses. It really drives traffic to those businesses,” added Tony Schultz, a board member for the Grand Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    Click Here for More Photos

  • Grand Island Welcomes 1,592 Members
    of our Future Workforce

    Read Grand Island Independent Story

    This past week, 1,592 of this state's brightest young minds participated in the SkillsUSA Nebraska Conference at the Heartland Events Center-Fonner Park complex.

    Students competed in 141 contests from over 100 different areas of career and technical education

    Here's just a taste of some of the various competitions held: 3-D Visualization, Automotive Service Technology, Carpentry, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Wiring, Interactive App and Gaming Design, Medical Math, Nurse Assisting, Precision Machining Technology, Robotics, TV Production, Web Design and Welding.

    There were even competitions for extemporaneous speaking, community service and job interviews.

    What is SkillsUSA? It is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

    Many industries today face a shortage of skilled workers, and SkillsUSA offers a way to help solve this problem. SkillsUSA complements technical skill training with instruction in the employability skills that make a well-rounded worker and citizen. It's not just about technical work, either. SkillsUSA also focuses on a student's soft skills, such as leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development.

    That's exactly why your Chamber of Commerce fought to make Grand Island the home of this event two years ago.

    We focus on the development of the workforce in Grand Island.

    We hope that by introducing these young, talented future members of our workforce to both our community and our businesses that they'll consider Grand Island when they decide where they want to live, work and raise their families.

  • Exciting News! Grand Island has two Opportunity Zones

    Click here to read story in The Independent

    Grand Island just gained an important tool to help attract new investments and job opportunities, according to Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.

    Ricketts announced Monday that the United States Department of the Treasury had granted approval of Opportunity Zones nominated by the State of Nebraska.

    There are two Opportunity Zones within Grand Island. One Opportunity Zone stretches from Highway 281 to North Broadwell Avenue. This tract will have a significant impact on the Veteran’s Legacy Project.

    The second Opportunity Zone stretches from West Stolley Park Road to North Front Street.

    “Grand Island was excited to receive great news about receiving two opportunity zones for our community,” said Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Johnson. “Kudos to the Grand Island Team (City of Grand Island, Economic Development, Chief Construction and Development, and Chamber) for getting this important development tool in our community.”

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created the Opportunity Zones program to spur economic growth by supporting new investment.

    Said Ricketts of the Opportunity Zones: “This announcement builds on the positive news we’ve seen from companies from Nelnet to Wal-mart, who are reinvesting their tax cuts into their workforce through higher wages and bonuses. Non of this would have been possible without the great work of Nebraska’s federal delegation, which unanimously supported the tax relief bill.”

    ‘Opportunity Funds’ are going to be used to spur economic growth in the designated zones. Parties who invest in these funds can benefit from tax incentives, such as deferrals on capital gains tax.

    Said U.S. Senator Deb Fischer on the announcement: “For the past two weeks, I’ve been traveling across Nebraska and hearing about the positive proceeds from tax reform. Nebraskans are excited; they have more money in their pockets and many businesses are raising wages and giving workers bonuses. The designation of these opportunity zones is another good result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which helps continue the pattern of economic growth in our local communities.”

    Said U.S. Senator Ben Sasse: “Nebraskans believe in dignity and in community. We want to see every neighborhood succeed and we want to tackle poverty with opportunity. Washington has a long way to go but Congress took an important step by including Opportunity Zones in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

    “It’s simple,” Sasse continued. “We want to celebrate the American Dream in every zip code by expanding investments in economically distressed communities.”

    U.S. Congressman Adrian Smith said that the goal of the Opportunity Zones is to “ensure every American benefits from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

    “We would like to thank our federal delegation for their work in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which made the opportunity zones program a reality,” said Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Dave Rippe. “We’re eager to begin working with our communities to harness this program to its full potential to grow Nebraska. We also appreciate the support of the numerous local leaders who submitted program applications. Their commitment to the economic well-being of their communities is an invaluable asset to our state.”

    For more information, visit opportunity.nebraska.gov/program/opportunity-zones/

  • Over 800 4th grade students
    participate in Ag Day

    The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Committee hosted over 800 4th graders for Ag Day on Tuesday, March 27th, at Fonner Park. 

    The students, which came from 17 Grand Island or area schools, got a hands-on experience with Nebraska’s top economic engine: agriculture.

    We are thankful for our local media for outstanding coverage of this event.

    First, please read this wonderful article from Robert Pore featuring photos from Barrett Stinson about Ag Day.

    Robert also provided some live video from the event on his Twitter feed:



    NTV's Steve White also provided some live coverage of the day:

    Here was NTV's report of the day:


    The educational experience our Agricultural Committee provided couldn’t have been possible without the following sponsors: Ag-Express Electronics, Agricultural Services, Aurora Cooperative, Bank of Doniphan, Bosselman Energy, Central Community College, Central Nebraska Regional Airport, Countryman Associates, Cornerstone Bank, Doane University, Equitable Bank, Farm Credit Services of America, First National Bank, Five Points Bank, General Collection, Graham Tire, The Saddle Club, Green Line Equipment, H & R Block, Heritage Bank, Home Federal Bank, Hooker Brothers Construction Company, Jerry’s Sheet Metal, Nebraska Truck Center, Northwest Public Schools, Nova-Tech, Orscheln Farm & Home, Stoltenberg Irrigation, Syngenta, T&E Cattle Company, Union Bank & Trust, Wells Fargo and Western Edge.

  • What a night!

    Nearly 500 were in attendance for our 2018 Annual Meeting March 15 at Riverside Golf Club, and it truly was a memorable night for the Grand Island business community! 

    We honored recipients of the Hall of Fame award, Small Business of the Year, the Outlier Award and the Richard Good Distinguished Service Award. In addition, the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce's Top 35 Under 35 was also recognized.

    We are grateful for the presence of Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, who helped us congratulate each of the award winners! We also extend a special thank you to our main event sponsors: First National Bank, the Nebraska State Fair, NorthWestern Energy, Principal and Dinsdale Automotive.

    Hall of Fame Award: Century 21/Da-Ly Realty
    Da-Ly Realty was started in 1961 by two local businessmen as a real estate and insurance agency. Through the next four decades, ownership passed to several new partners until 2008 when Jeff Reed took the role. That same year, Da-Ly Realty affiliated with the Century 21 brand. That affiliation boosted Da-Ly Realty into a new realm, and today, the business captures 49 percent of the real estate market in Grand Island. Currently 45 independent contractors are associated with Century 21/Da-Ly Realty, up more than 150 percent from 2008.

    Small Business of the Year Award: GIX Logistics
    GIX Logistics’ management team sat down five years ago and made it their mission to be the best freight brokerage company in the country. Now, they are one of the most rapidly growing third-party logistics companies in the nation since starting in 2006. GIX Logistics has a carrier database composed of 15,000 reliable carrier companies who ship a variety of different loads across the 48 contiguous states and parts of Canada. It also has access to over 225,00 pieces of equipment to deal with any shipping arrangement.

    Richard Good Distinguished Service Award: Pam Lancaster
    Pam Lancaster has served more than 20 years on the Hall County Board of Supervisors, including an unprecedented number of successive one-year terms as Board Chair. As a County Board Supervisor, Pam participates in a number of County committees, including: Corrections Steering, Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant, Midland Area Ageny on Aging, Personnel, Senior Citizens, and Union Negotations. In 2005, she was named the Grand Island Independent’s Woman of the Year.

    Outlier Award: The Grand Foundation
    The Grand Foundation is 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation that owns and operates the Grand Theatre in downtown Grand Island. Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, the Grand Foundation exists to provide arts, entertainment and social interaction, as well as preserve the last historic movie palace in Grand Island. The Grand Foundation, which was formed in the summer of 2004 by a group of downtown business leaders, has also hosted town hall events.


  • The following individuals have been named the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce's Top 35 Under 35 for 2018!

    Ibby Allan, Green Line Equipment
    Sarah Arthur, Hornady Manufacturing
    Bianca Ayala, Grand Island Public Schools
    Dr. Rachel Brown-McDonald, Cottonwood Dental
    Grady Erickson, Mayer, Burns & Koenig Law Firm
    Andy Gdowski, Equitable Bank
    Jenna Grenier, Lutz
    Bethany Guzinski, Wood Bros. Realty
    Jessica Hanson, Cottonwood Dental
    Dr. Tyler Hanson, Eyecare Professionals
    Phil Hranac, Edward Jones
    Sarah Koch, Heartland CASA
    Shane Labenz, CMBA Architects
    Cole Larsen, Chief Buildings
    Mitch Maire, Cobler Chiropractic
    Erin McMillan, CHI Health St. Francis
    Jana Meyer, Essential Personnel Inc.
    Ashley Millard, Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services
    Keith Mingus, Five Points Bank
    Adam Musich, Active Family Chiropractic
    Jacqui Nordstrom, Rabo Agrifinance
    Rachael O’Callaghan, Beavercreek Marketing
    Bonnie Oltean, Heartland CASA
    Raece Paulsen, Nebraska Truck Center
    Mark Porter, 10/11 News
    Michael Porter, Wells Fargo Bank
    Cody Raile, Feel Fit
    Jimmy Reed, Century 21 Daly Realty
    JR Rother, Bosselman Enterprises
    Josh Smidt, Hornady Manufacturing
    Dr. CJ Stec, Stec Cosmetic & Family Dentistry
    Joseph Stump, Almquist, Maltzahn, Galloway & Luth
    Kelsey Trausch, Surgery Group of Grand Island
    Kelly Wilson, GI Area Economic Development
    Mallory Zelasney, State of Nebraska District 9 Probation


Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce
309 West Second Street
Grand Island, NE 68801
Phone: 308.382.9210
Fax: 308.382.1154