Kirkpatricks named Women’s Business Center Entrepreneurs of the Year
Dena Beck, Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) senior project leader and south central loan specialist, email@example.com, 308.528.0060; Monica Braun, REAP Women’s Business Center director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 402.643.2673; or Rhea Landholm, brand marketing and communications manager, email@example.com, 402.687.2100 ext 1025
Lyons, Nebraska - The Center for Rural Affairs has chosen Connie and Roger Kirkpatrick, of Alda, Nebraska, as the 2017 Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) Women’s Business Center Entrepreneurs of the Year. They will be recognized at an award ceremony on March 9 in Red Cloud, Nebraska.
The Women’s Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have utilized the Center for Rural Affairs’ REAP Women’s Business Center services and are successfully operating and growing their business. The award exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit so crucial to women-owned businesses and the rural Nebraska communities they call home.
The Kirkpatricks own RCK Creations & More, in Alda, a business that specializes in etching on glass and sandblasting. Top selling products include rocks, flower pots, coffee mugs, and wine glasses. The business owners also alter clothing, including wedding gowns and prom dresses, as well as create original clothing designs.
RCK Creations & More started in 2009, with the help of a REAP loan to purchase equipment. During the next few years, a steady growth of customers led to the couple converting rooms in their house to storage, fitting rooms, and sewing space.
“Connie had already established herself as an expert seamstress. She had been sewing for years, doing alterations and special projects,” said Dena Beck, REAP senior project leader and south central loan specialist for the Center for Rural Affairs. “In a good news/bad news scenario, the biggest challenge they faced was spatial.”
In 2014, the couple took the challenge on, and obtained a loan for land and a building. RCK Creations & More opened at 602 Saturn St., Alda, in June 2015, with an added service of RV storage.
The couple continues to take advantage of REAP Women’s Business Center trainings and business counseling provided by REAP staff and technical assistance partners. They continuously work on their website and explore new products and markets.
“Sales are up 24 percent from last year. They attribute that to increased online sales,” Beck said. “Diversification within their business helps manage revenue as well as make contacts with a variety of customers.”