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Success Stories

The story begins with what Dr. Erich Landen thought was the worst day of his life. He was playing football for his high school in Chadron, NE and sustained a bad ankle injury. Landen tried many different treatments, but none were successful, so he feared he would never play football again.  He decided to try going to a chiropractor, and was not only amazed at how much it helped, but that he was also back playing football his senior year. That visit stayed in the back of his mind, and ultimately resulted in him switching from being a business major in college to a major in exercise science, followed by three and a half years of additional schooling to become a chiropractor.

During his undergrad studies in Kearney, Landen took a part time job as a chiropractic assistant, and quickly became sure that this would be his career. He also decided that he wanted that career to be back in Chadron, which he calls a great place to live and raise a family. Chadron also has fantastic... Read More

It all began with two neighbors and a couple of beers. Roger McKiney, a 31-year veteran of the manufacturing industry, got a call one evening in 2014 from a neighbor who happened to be a real estate agent, who invited him over for a beer and a conversation. Turns out another neighbor was selling his tool and die manufacturing company, Bare Manufacturing Inc., and the realtor thought McKiney might be interested due to his long history in the industry. After a couple months of negotiation, McKiney purchased the company in March of 2015 and McKiney Manufacturing & Sales was born. They specialize in building and refurbishing tooling and equipment for the hydraulic hose manufacturing company.  McKiney says that Ingrid Battershall of the Scottsbluff location of the Nebraska Business Development Center, resource partner of the SBA, was a huge help in putting together the cash flow estimates for the loan application. “[She] was extremely helpful and nice, “says McKiney of his... Read More

When it comes to running her small business Red Road Herbs Retreat and Learning Center in Stanton, Nebraska, Rachel Liester says she isn’t self-taught – she’s plant-taught. And teaching others about the medicinal and other benefits of herbs is the focus of her business. The “light-bulb moment” that ignited her small business dream came 26 years ago when she moved to an old farmstead in the country and noticed the plants growing everywhere, most of them considered "weeds." She wanted to know more about these plants growing at her new home and learned one in particular was actually an herb called motherwort (Leonurus cardica) - which has major medicinal properties. This discovery led to her passion for wild herbs and “teaching people that plants everywhere around them have medicinal and edible benefits. That the plants you curse in your garden usually have more nutrition than what you’re growing.”

Starting and growing a business is just like trying to grow a garden - it can be... Read More

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