By Gene Rahn, former staff member
Greg and Kristy Parr of Norfolk, Nebraska, have been chosen as our Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipients. They were honored for their efforts to establish and grow their business Custom Sports, as well as their integrity and leadership.
The Entrepreneur Award is presented annually to those who best exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that defines and is so crucial to the future prosperity of Nebraska’s rural communities.
Growth is the name of the game for Greg and Kristy. They started Custom Sports in the small rural community of Neligh, Nebraska, in 2004 and have been hitting home runs ever since.
Custom Sports provides custom T-shirt and other sports apparel. The business offers custom embroidery in addition to screen printing.
By 2011, business was booming. Greg and Kristy decided to relocate to Battle Creek, Nebraska, where a larger building was available. The Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) was able to assist with this relocation through a REAP loan.
In less than a year, Custom Sports had outgrown their new location. Our REAP program was on hand again, and this time the move was to Norfolk, a shopping hub for northeast Nebraska. The new building was situated right next door to the USPS office and warehouse, which made it much easier to ship products.
In early 2014 the Parr’s and Custom Sports were rewarded for their excellent work and quality products by a 5-year contract extension from the Nebraska School Activities Association. In addition, they provide T-shirts and sports apparel for individual schools and other sporting events.
Including family members Custom Sports has nine employees. Working at the Norfolk facility in addition to Greg and Kristy are sons Richard and Matt. A third son Justin attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and assists with the marketing at high school tournaments in Lincoln. Additional teachers and friends assist in sales at all the NSAA events.