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The Good Life: The economic footprint of one small business
November 29, 2012 Lisa Betz   

Read more by Lisa Betz
Thereís a lot of concern going around about the future of our economy. As a business owner, this prompted me to take a careful look at my own business, the Gering Citizen.

The Citizen is the first for-profit business I have operated, and the first time I have generated jobs for other people. Prior to the Citizen, I held numerous jobs, beginning with my very first one at Northfield Villa. I also worked at Bailyís as a checker. The only time I have ever been fired was by Connie Kramer at Vicís Popcorn, which still makes a good story. Everyone should get fired at least once in life. It prompted me to go in a new direction.

I was also downsized from a high tech recruiting firm after 9-11 and the tech crash that resulted, which caused me to return to theatre. I have worked as a restaurant hostess, waitress, a front desk clerk at a hotel and a hair salon, respectively; as a baker, a cook, an administrative assistant at a non-profit theatre and at the Job Service. I have also worked with people who have developmental disabilities, taught college courses and worked as a theatre artist. I was even an accounting clerk once.
Whew, Iíve held a lot of jobs and none of them has been a waste of time.

I have even been a recipient of unemployment insurance. This gives me a perspective as a business owner that has humbled me when I look back on my days as an employee.
I always have had a lot of ideas in this noodle of mine. I used to think I knew how some of my managers could do a better job of running the businesses where I worked.

Now that I am a business owner, I realize that there is a lot more to every decision than the obvious issues seen by an employee. Many things need to be considered before a business can make changes. So I have a lot more respect for all of my former bosses, and I hope they forgive me for some of my opinions, even if they didnít know of them. I did not understand their perspective at all.

I am proud to own a business in Gering because we have a positive economic and social impact on Gering.

Recently, I asked the full and part-time employees of the Citizen to make a list of the Gering businesses they frequent because of their proximity to work and to estimate how much money they spend in Gering each month.

When I tallied up the list and the sum, I was even more proud to operate this business.

Here is a picture of the economic footprint the Citizen has on Gering:
Property tax: $818 per year, $478 of which supports Gering Schools, including our portion of the school bond which built the new Lincoln Elementary.

Jobs created: five full time, one part-time and eight independent contractors providing a variety of services. Monthly utility payments made to the City of Gering support our townís infrastructure. We spend approximately $600 a month in mailings through the Gering Post Office, an office that has been listed as at risk for closure.

Citizen employees spend approximately $3,000 a month combined at the following businesses: Fresh Foods, Union Bar, Johnson Cashway, Little Red, Subway, Pizza Hut, Dollar General, U-Save, China House, Gering Bakery, Daily Grind, Loaf N Jug, Pony Express, Laundromat, Cyclone Shell Station, Bluffs Shoe Service, Grease n Go, Log Cabin, Manís Image, Subway, McDonaldís, Runza, Pizza Hut, Taco Johnís, First State Bank, Western Heritage Credit Union, Main Street Appliance, Gering Dental Clinic, Valley Bank, Valley Insurance, The Roots, Spectrum Photographics, Julieís Antiques, Prairie Florist, Stagecoach Stop, Starbright Satellite, Gabeís Barbeque, US Bank, Gering Post Office and Ron Engelhaupt State Farm.

Other Gering businesses that have performed work at the Citizen location are Gering Valley Plumbing, Creative Signs by Cozad and Cowan Custom Cabinets.

Thatís a footprint I am proud of. I have been a Gering cheerleader for as long as I can remember and I have the photos to prove it, as Paul Christian can attest. I will never believe that Gering is a town whose identity depends on its proximity to big little sis across the river.

Everyone who chooses to start their business in Gering is to be commended for their investment in our town. For those of you considering a business location, come to Gering, the water is warmer than you think. Just ask those businesses listed above. They tell me that business has been good this year, as it has been for us at the Citizen.

If you offer something people want, they will drive across a bridge to get it. Geringites have known this for years as many of us make the trip to Scottsbluff quite regularly. Gering is worth your investment.
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