ALLIANCE — Box Butte Development Corporation (BBDC) hosted its annual Membership meeting Wednesday, Nov. 6 at the Westside Event Center in Alliance.

BBDC has had a busy year in regards to business development—in Alliance alone, according to BBDC Executive Director Chelsie Herian. Bolek Bilt moved to a new location and expanded, Alliance Health, Rasmussen Performance & Repair and Red Beard Garage also moved locations. A-Town Zesto is under new ownership and Denver Air Connection is a new business. In Hemingford, new businesses include Village Pizza, MC Signs and Decals, Lux Salon and Buchheit Percision. Farmers Co-op expanded and Treasured Grounds in under new ownership.

Board Vice President Dawn Butcher lead the blessing prior to lunch being served. Butcher then called to official meeting to order, introducing officers, board of directors and staff. Retiring board member Tonya Mayer with Hemingford Telephone Company was recognized for her seven years of service. Election for Board of Directors took place and Dawn Butcher was re-elected Dustin Chester and Blanche Randolph were voted to the board.

Awards were then presented by Herian and Assistant Director Shaylee Hance. Entrepreneur of the year went to Russ Finch (Green House in the Snow) and Allen Bright (Antioch Machine) for their work of manufacturing and exporting of the Greenhouse kits.

Large Business of the Year award went to Farmers Co-op in Hemingford. The co-op has been in business for 100 years. Their grain silo expansion project was noted as a way to “better serve their members and patrons,” Herian said.

“The new silo (that now holds 919,000 bushel) is helping eliminate the need for ground storage and better utilizing their property. This is a huge benefit to not only co-op but its patrons our area farmers.”

The Small Business of the Year award went to Brewery 719. The Brewery is a new business to the Alliance community and has brought a new and exciting venue to the community.

Tourism Partner of the Year award was accepted by Friends of Carhenge on behalf of the “Kites over Carhenge” event which was host this fall. It was noted this is the first year for the award.

Following awards, Hance gave the annual tourism report. She said the many project and opportunities such as hosting social media influencers, update their website, design new brochures and learn about video marketing and much more. She further noted extending their digital reach with advertising. In 2020, the plan is to release information in regards to how to help associations, businesses and attractions market and host new and expanded events in order to continue to attract visitors and enhance the quality of life in the county.

“We also have big plans using video marketing to not only advertise to visitors but to recruit new members to our community,” Hance said.

Hance further noted the people of Box Butte County have to be “the walking, talking billboard for who we are and what we are. ... There is plenty to do here you just have to be willing to tell people about it.”

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