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Recent posts by Dena Beck

Artist, craftsman, historian: one carpenter, many passions

“Right man, right place, right time,” said Al Leal, president of Al’s Old House Repair, LLC.  

His historic carpentry and renovation business landed him in the “right place” of Red Cloud, Nebraska, a town with fewer than 1,000 people, and at the former home of Pulitzer Prize winning author, Willa Cather, and the internationally known Willa Cather Foundation.

Leal has come a long way since returning to his hometown of Clear Lake, Iowa after serving in the military. He joined the business with nothing more than a borrowed saw and a pair of pliers.

Marketing assistance, startup capital identified as top small business needs

Nebraska businesses and those who serve them have once again provided vital information about their operations. The results are included in “Their needs and thoughts: Results of the fifth biennial Small Business Needs Assessment,” a report by Dena Beck, senior project leader and loan specialist with the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project, or REAP. 

10 things I have learned in my 10 years with the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project

1. Small business is BIG business in rural areas (90 percent of the businesses have 10 and fewer full-time employees).

2. Staff within REAP and its partner Rural Investment Corporation, a certified Community Development Financial Institution, are not afraid to take a good, hard look at what they are doing and evaluate if it is indeed what our market needs.