Longneckers honored as Center for Rural Affairs' Entrepreneurs of the Year

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Rhea Landholm, brand marketing and communications manager, rheal@cfra.org, 402.687.2100 ext. 1025

Lyons, Neb. - The Center for Rural Affairs has chosen Don and Mary Jo Longnecker, of Indianola, Neb., as 2016 Entrepreneurs of the Year. Center staff will recognize the couple at an award ceremony on March 10 in York, Neb.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual or individuals who best exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that defines and is crucial to the future prosperity of Nebraska’s rural communities.

“Don and Mary Jo felt they could offer better service than their competitors,” said Jeff Reynolds, Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) director. “Seeing that as a need for the area, they made service their number one priority when opening their business.”

The Longneckers own Odiss Enterprises, a business that services and offers maintenance on all types of doors and operators, residential or commercial. Whether working on a broken spring, a detached cable or a faulty opener, their goal is to take care of their customers.

The business opened full-time in Indianola in June 2014. To help get their business started, Don and Mary Jo reached out to Dena Beck, REAP senior project leader, during the organization’s monthly office hours in McCook.

“They had many of the tools to get started, but a loan from REAP helped with much-needed working capital,” Beck said. “We gave them the boost needed to get this business off the ground.”

The loan helped with the initial equipment investment, including purchasing a truck, trailer and lift, and helped with workman’s comp insurance and other operating expenses.

The Center for Rural Affairs’ assistance didn’t stop after the business was up and running. Don and Mary Jo have received technical assistance and attended a marketing workshop.

The business has been able to expand its brand offerings and add a second truck trailer and a lift. Odiss Enterprises recently expanded to the Holdrege area. It currently employs two full-time and one part-time workers.

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