Lincoln’s Production Creek Specialty Advertising, and the company's owners, Loretta Goodwin (above, center) and Jessica Johnson (above, right), earned the Nebraska Women in Business Champions award for 2012 from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
SBA Nebraska District Director Leon Milobar (above, center) presented the award June 28 at an event sponsored by the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce at the Nebraska Club.
Johnson and Goodwin were nominated for the honor by Marisol Rodriguez, the former Nebraska Business Development Center Lincoln Director.
The SBA Nebraska District Office named these outstanding women as champions through their efforts to increase business and financial opportunities for women; legal, financial or managerial assistance provided to enhance women’s business ownership; and, voluntary efforts to strengthen the role of women business owners within the community.
Since 1995, Production Creek Speciality Advertising, through a sales office in Lincoln and a production and sales office in Beatrice, Neb., provides specialty advertising services, including promotional products, art, custom embroidery and screen printing, from backpacks emblazoned with a non-profit’s logo to pens promoting a local lender. Their in-house sewing services, which make up the majority of the company’s work, include sashes, scarves, uniform parts and other mass-produced products.
Production Creek can fill an order as small as a single tee-shirt to as large as 200,000 items over a year for single customer.
They’re proud of their eco-friendly offerings, such as solar-powered desk ornaments which light up or move, and other promotional items made from recycled materials. By offering an internet portal and a warehouse along with their wide variety of products, the business can quickly ship products from coast to coast in the U.S. and Canada. In 2010, they enjoyed more than $550,000 in revenue and expected to double revenue in a few years despite the challenge of keeping customer prices low in an environment of record-high cotton shortages.
Production Creek’s work has been seen in logowear for BVH Architects, staff at Mahoney State Park and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, employees with Nebraska Concrete & Aggregate, and with promotional items for the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce, Learning Connections in Lincoln and Laminated Wood Systems in Seward, Neb.
Johnson, who began part-time work with Production Creek in 1999, also serves as a promotional consultant. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bellevue University, and has 18 years’ experience in marketing, sales, management, banking, and retail. She also is a certified advertising specialist recognized by the Promotional Products Association International, the industry’s leading trade organization.
Goodwin, who started with the firm as a part-timer in 2005, is the company’s promotional consultant for the Lincoln and surrounding areas. She has an undergraduate business degree with an emphasis in management, and another in public administration, and completed a master’s degree in business management with an emphasis in leadership from Doane College in May 2009. Goodwin also serves as communications co-chair for the Women Business Owners Network in Lincoln, an organization intended for women who are sole proprietors, partners and corporate owners with day-to-day management responsibility fostering networking opportunities and offering informative presentations and programs.
In 2009, Production Creek’s owner, Johnson’s mother-in-law, Virginia, retired. Johnson and Goodwin assumed ownership of the business, and have grown the company from five employees to three full-timers and five part-time workers. The firm offers flexible schedules including paid time off to provide an ideal work-life balance, something Johnson wanted with the birth of her first child when she first took a position with the company. They also offer paid holidays, paid tuition through the Promotional Products Education Foundation, employee uniforms and incentive and bonus pay.
“We’re not the little seamstress shop on the corner,” Goodwin once told the Lincoln-Journal Star.
The year after Johnson and Goodwin took over the business, Production Creek claimed the 15th annual Celebrate Business Award from the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. This award recognizes women-owned businesses which provide employees maximum opportunities for growth and community leadership.
They’re also active in many local organizations including the Lincoln Young Professionals Group, and have lent support to Lutheran World Relief and the Orphan Grain Train.