Success Stories

When you talk to Sierra Arends, owner of Helium Salon, she’ll tell you that she was born to cut hair. By the time she was five years old she was dying her Barbie dolls’ hair with Kool Aid and giving them buzz cuts. When she turned 18, Arends attended Capital School of Hairstyling and Esthetics in Omaha, Nebraska. One week after graduating she took a position with Creative Hair Design where she was inspired by owner and mentor John Mangiameli.  Arends flourished at Creative Hair Designs and she soon realized that owning her own salon was the next step in her life’s journey.

To start a business takes hard work and flexibility, so Arends left Creative Hair Design after 4 ½ years to rent a chair at another Omaha salon in May 2014. Being self-employed gave her the flexibility she needed to seek out property for her own salon in her home town of Grand Island, NE. Arends has very fond memories of the small-town life in Nebraska. She vividly remembers talking with her mother about... Read More

The story of Weiland, Inc. begins in the frigid Nebraska winter of 1984, when owners Leon and Jean Weiland were desperate to support their family and the family farm during a regional agricultural crisis. The Weilands decided to supplement their income by building fiberglass doors for the meat packing industry, and their company took off from there. They expanded from the original 800 square ft building to a 20,000 sq ft building on their farm, and in 2018 they moved into a brand new 60,000 square foot facility in Norfolk, NE.

In addition to expanding their location, the Weilands also expanded their team. In 2009, Leon and Jean decided to enjoy semi-retirement and family members Carl Weiland, Jason Ash and Rob Haake stepped in and hit the ground running. Since they came into the company revenue has tripled and is on pace to quadruple this year. Weiland, Ash and Haake have placed a particular emphasis on innovation to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers. They... Read More

Jim Glazer was looking for a change of pace.  After graduating from Duke University and then the University of Michigan with an MBA he spent a few years working in public accounting. But after a while he was, as he puts it, “looking for something a lot more fun.” He wanted the “opportunity to work with people, create solutions and make people’s lives better” because it’s a “lot more fun than messing around with numbers.”

That opportunity came about in 1991 for Jim, his father and his brother when they took ownership of Elliott Equipment Company. Elliott was started in Omaha, NE in 1948 by Richard Elliott. It supplied contractors with equipment to construct the electrical grid and interstate highway system after WWII. The company currently engineers and manufactures a variety of aerial work platforms, truck mounted cranes and digger derricks.

The Glazer family has successfully grown the company from 20 employees to 165 over 27 years of ownership. Elliott Equipment has... Read More

Cody and Chrystal Brooks, owners of White River Feed, pose in front of their business in Chadron, Nebraska

Cody Brooks and his business partner at the time needed a written business plan in order to purchase White River Feed & Trailer Sales, LLC, so a banker referred him to Tim Donahue, director of the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) office in Chadron.

“We wound up with a good, solid business plan,” Brooks says. “It got us the loan.”

In 2012, when Brooks and his business partner, Craig Hoffman, sought to buy White River Feed & Trailer Sales, Hoffman was working for the company. Brooks had worked for the company for 12 years but had left the previous fall on good terms with the owners.

Donahue helped the two men obtain a loan and a line of credit at Security First Bank in Chadron. “We tell all our clients that if they sign a waiver that allows us to contact directly with their bank, we can then expedite the process between the bank, the client, the Nebraska Northwest Development Corporation, if used; and the NBDC,” Donahue says.

Donahue... Read More