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.
Spotlight on Grand Island
Grand Island hosted five business meetings last week. The State Chamber’s Fall Legislative Forum (nechamber.com) was held on Tuesday; plan for a busy Legislative session in January with a new Governor and at least 17 new Senators. Greg Adams (Speaker for the Legislature) and Catherine Lang (former Director for the State Department of Labor and Department of Economic Development) have formed Accelerate Nebraska (accelerateNE.org) with a goal of improving educational outcomes and achieving community success, including aligning business workforce needs, educational outcomes and community development activities that result in a more robust economy. Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA – www.nifa.org) shared information on the housing programs they offer, including single family housing development, first-time homebuyers, and multi-family affordable housing. Nebraska Entrepreneurship Task Force – NET Force (www.nebraskaentrepreneurship.com) focuses on high income, high skill and high demand entrepreneurial career opportunities and leverages educational resources to increase access to entrepreneurship curriculum as well as leverage resources for ongoing support of Nebraska entrepreneurs.
Grow Grand Island
The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corporation and Visitors Bureau Partner Together to Create a Business Development Growth Strategic Plan
The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corporation and Convention and Visitors Bureau have partnered together to hire an economic development firm to create a proactive, five-year, holistic business development growth strategic plan. The plan will analyze Grand Island’s talent pipeline, inter-industry purchases, economic impact analysis, and exports; create a community marketing brand; and guide strategic investment in business and economic development through 2019.
Market Street, the chosen strategic planning contractor, has established its reputation of success throughout the nation. Both the Greater Omaha Chamber and the Greater Des Moines Partnership have 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 will dove with and into the Mayor’s visioning process; the data and suggestions resulting from the business development growth strategic plan will be available to the City for incorporation into their Comprehensive visioning plan.
- Community Development and Visioning
- Community promotion/marketing - Develop public and/or private pool of funds
- Networking events
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.
October Direction for Business
The October Direction for Business highlights are: Connection Point, Dueling Pianos, and Mayoral Candidates Present to Young Professionals. Read more.
Grand Island's Manufacturing Sector Continues to See Growth
Manufacturing is alive and well, said Jerry Jasinowski, business commentator and former president of the National Association of Manufacturers. Jasinowski, who spoke at the Nebraska Products Show for Business and Industry this past week in Grand Island, said that, while the U.S. has only 5 percent of the world’s people, it accounts for 21 percent of worldwide manufacturing. Read more.
Either Import the Talent or Export the Work
Whether immigration reform eventually is enacted at the federal level is immaterial when it comes to state and local policies adopted to deal with the immigrants who are already here, said Julianna Kerr, immigration initiative director for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Read more.
September Direction for Business
The September Direction for Business highlights are: Nature and Nurture Intersect, Identifying and Conquering Challenges, Harvest of Harmony, and the Chamber Announcement of New Staff Member. Read more.
Central Nebraska Regional Airport Holds Press Conference
The Central Nebraska Regional Airport held a press conference Thursday, September 19, 2014 in the Conference Room of the Hall County Airport Authority announcing the $9.8 million grant to support construction of a new passenger terminal. Read more.
August Direction for Business
August Direction for Business highlights are: Blue Cross Blue Shield and Catholic Health Initiatives impasse, Young Professionals action plan to improve quality of life in Grand Island, and Chamber logo/website debut. Read more.
More volunteers needed for Nebraska State Fair
The Nebraska State Fair is celebrating its fifth year in Grand Island. During the last four years, the State Fair has grown, adding new attractions and drawing big crowds. Playing a big role in its success have been the volunteers who perform hundreds of tasks that make visitors feel welcome and make the State Fair an enjoyable event. Read more.
Community visioning efforts advance in GI
Much of the initial groundwork has been completed for the two community strategic planning efforts that are currently underway. The Grow Grand Island program is being funded through of a cooperative effort of the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation, the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Grand Island/Hall County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Market Street Services of Atlanta, Georgia, is the facilitator-consultant. Read more.
Officials, community leaders tour Federal Building
In the foyer of the Federal Building in downtown Grand Island, a group marveled at the historic architecture. County and city officials, downtown and community leaders and members of the public gathered at about 10 a.m. Thursday to tour the building at Second and Locust streets. Read more.
‘It’s devastating’: Officials still seeking fire’s cause
Brian Bohrer stood on a downtown sidewalk Sunday night and watched flames shoot above the roof of the business he’d purchased just days before. Businesses that were lost are important to downtown Grand Island, and Cindy Johnson said she hopes they will all consider rebuilding or relocating in the downtown area. The chamber is willing to help the business owners find space and any materials, such as computers, they may need to get up and running again. Read more.
Fair exhibit shows kids how food moves from farm to fork
The exhibit, sponsored by the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee, is meant to make children farmers. Through interactive stations, they can learn how their food makes it to the table in a fun way, said Valerie Bren, the workforce development coordinator with the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce. The exhibit will remain free and open from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Read more.
Grand Island Mall to be transformed into Northwest Commons
Developers are planning to knock an 80-foot-wide hole in the center of the Grand Island Mall, reduce its 150,000 square feet to a more manageable 128,000 square feet and open it up to several new-to-market businesses. Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Johnson said the Grand Island Mall has been looked at for redevelopment for years, but no one before had the vision to cut through the building to improve access and spaces. Read more.
Rotary International president visits Grand Island
Rotary International President Gary C.K. Huang spoke on leadership and international relationships to a group of about 50 Rotarians and non-Rotarians Tuesday at College Park. Huang is in Grand Island thanks to a friendship forged nearly 40 years ago with former Grand Island Mayor Ken Gnadt. “Chances are he probably wouldn’t have come without Ken,” said Grand Island Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Johnson. Read more.
‘From Pages to Parade’ theme of HOH parade
“From Pages to Parade ... Making Characters Come Alive” is the theme for this year’s Harvest of Harmony Parade. The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce will host the 73rd annual Harvest of Harmony Parade, sponsored by Tom Dinsdale Automotive, on Oct. 4. Read more.
Chamber Bucks encourage local shopping
The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce has issued $23,275 in Chamber Bucks in the first six months of 2014. That is an increase of more than $7,500 from the $15,670 purchased in 2013. This surge is a direct indication that Grand Island business owners and managers recognize the economic value of spending locally and are encouraging their employees and patrons to recirculate money within Grand Island. Read more.
Free market provides best wage opportunity
An effort is underway by advocacy groups to place an initiative before the voters in November that would mandate an increase in the minimum wage. The proposed increase in the minimum wage would have a detrimental effect on Nebraska’s economy and eliminate employment opportunities for thousands of Nebraskans. Read more.
Chamber’s Young Professionals to play role in recruitment
The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce plans to expand the role of the Young Professionals Group to assist with a major pillar in growing an economically vibrant community — talent attraction and retention strategies. Read more.
Chamber, EDC support courthouse renovation
The Grand Island Area Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce both went on record Tuesday in favor of an addition to the existing Hall County Courthouse. Both groups opposed building a new courthouse at another location. Read more.
Grow Grand Island releases phase one survey results
For the first time in decades, the Grand Island business community is undertaking a comprehensive business development strategy to enhance the community’s capacity to expand existing businesses and attract new investments and opportunities, advance entrepreneurship and support small business development. “Grand Island, like many communities across the nation, is experiencing a tight labor market and impacted by an uncertain global and national economic climate,” said Cindy Johnson, president of the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce. “Although we have held our own, and in fact increased the number of net jobs in our community over the last five years, our focus must be on planning for and ensuring continued prosperity in the next decade.” Read more.
Smith speaks at G.I. Area Chamber of Commerce
Congressman Adrian Smith participated in a lively conversation on various topics while visiting the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce Wednesday afternoon. About a dozen people gathered in a conference room at the chamber to listen to updates from Smith on his work in Washington, D.C., and to ask questions on subjects ranging from immigration and natural resources to tax policy and agriculture. Read more.