Although David City and the county at large is losing one major employer with Fargo Assembly closing shop, Butler County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kelcie Keeling said she believes it’s important to focus on what is still present, not lost.
This is one of the main reasons that two businesses located in downtown David City had ribbon-cutting ceremonies late last week even though both have been operational for some time.
“We wanted to really showcase businesses that we have been able to retain here,” she said during a recent interview with The Banner-Press. “It’s a big deal, and it’s one that when the Neujahr sign went up – yes they’ve been open since January, but once this appeared here, and then with Miranda’s business right down the street on Fifth Street, we wanted to highlight some of the really great things that are happening in David City.”
The businesses Keeling referred to are Neujahr Home Center – formerly Zegers Home Center – operated by Leslie and Jess Neujahr, 470 N. Fifth St; and David City Barbershop, owned and operated by Miranda Pelan.
Pelan, a David City native, practiced cosmetology in Lincoln for 20 years before relocating back home when she met her now-husband, Zach, about two years ago. She said that she never really thought much about taking the entrepreneurial path, however, when the space became available for lease following the passing of the previous barber manning the location, she took a leap of faith.
A lot of that decision was made from her friends and family gently pushing her.
“I got a whole lot of encouragement from people here in David City,” Pelan said.
After taking out a lease on the space, a substantial renovation was completed throughout the spring months before she finally opened for business around the Fourth of July. A great deal of time and effort went into the formidable renovation, but ultimately, it was time well spent.
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“It’s very exciting, I never ever thought that I’d be a business owner,” Pelan said. “But I love it. I love, I don’t know, just making this my own. It’s different but it’s good.”
Just down the block, the Neujahrs have picked up right where the Zegers left off when they handed over the reins to the new operators. The business started operating under the Neujahr name on Jan. 1.
“We purchased everything from them, and Mike still actually comes out and helps Jess on the Job, and Leona comes in if we have questions,” Leslie Neujahr said. “… It’s more or less we just switched over keys, we walked right in and took over the business. The sold us everything, so it was more or less a turn-key operation.”
The major goal for the couple is to keep providing Butler County area residents with the excellent service they have come to know and expect from the David City business.
“We are hoping to maintain the same quality of business that they (the Zegers) did for 30 years,” she said.
Keeling said that a major component of her job is finding ways to network with businesses and doing whatever she can to help ensure their success. Being a Chamber member, she said, is a major benefit to business owners, especially ones looking to find their footing in the early stages of ownership.
“We will help you thrive, we will help you get your message out there, we will connect you with other businesses – we have a great support team and staff,” Keeling said.
Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.