April 1 - 5


Grand Island's Proud Past Inspires NewGeneration of Visionaries

By Jamie Karl, President

Grand Island Chamber

“In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”


- Harry S. Truman


Those are the words that came to mind during the Grand Island Chamber’s annual meeting, where DJ Eihusen, president and CEO of Chief Industries, delivered a timely and inspirational message.


Eihusen, the 2024 recipient of the Chamber’s Richard Good Distinguished Service Award, spoke about how lucky Chief was to be part of Grand Island’s business community. He also reflected on the entrepreneurial boom that occurred in this community during the mid-century years after World War II.


From the late 1940s through the ‘50s, ‘60s, and into the early ‘70s, several legendary Grand Island businesses were born. Among them are The Bosselman Enterprises, Eakes Office Solutions, Five Points Bank, Hornady Manufacturing, and Chief itself.


Eihusen said that if Grand Island’s business community today can duplicate that era’s remarkable spirit, vision, and community purpose, there is no limit to what can be achieved in the 2020s and beyond.


Chamber’s Role in Mid-Century Boom


Coincidentally, a few weeks before the Chamber’s annual meeting, a Jan. 5, 1956 edition of The Independent was discovered in the basement of our building.


Titled the “All-America Edition,” it celebrated the naming of Grand Island as an All-America City in 1955. (By the way, Grand Island — which would go on to be named an All-America City again in 1967 and 1981 — is the only Nebraska community to receive this honor more than twice.) The newspaper also spotlighted Sharon Kay Ritchie, the GI native who had just been crowned Miss America for 1956.


This nearly 70-year-old edition of The Independent captured the healthy outpouring of community pride from area businesses. The attitude of was: We’re all in this together. We all made this happen. A rising tide lifts all boats.


It’s also worth noting the Grand Island Chamber was prominently mentioned in that 1956 edition. Under the headline “Chamber of Commerce Propelled Third City Progress,” the paper showcased the Chamber’s role in economic development and attracting new industry, community events, and tourism and conventions.


“All in all, the Chamber is an organization of Grand Island and for Grand Island,” the paper reported. “It proved that when it fought for, and won, the All-America title for this city.”


Looking Ahead


In 2024, Grand Island has a new generation of visionaries leading our private and public sectors. Like those post-war years, today’s business leaders, developers, and elected officials are working together with a plan to grow the city and enhance its quality of life. They are keenly aware this is Grand Island’s time to shine.


Grand Island’s population today is more than double of what it was back in 1955. A growing city means there are new challenges, but there are also more opportunities. With the right kind of planning and teamwork, there’s no reason Grand Island cannot double its geographic footprint over the next two decades.


During this new era, count on your Chamber to lead the way by doing the following:

  • Supporting local entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as pro-business causes;
  • Finding new ways to connect the area’s business leaders;
  • Enhancing and expanding information services for Chamber partners;
  • Taking more steps to attract workforce talent, while continuing to help develop and retain talent that is already here;
  • Working with the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corp. and supporting its mission to attract new business; and
  • Supporting the Grand Island Convention & Visitor Bureau and its work to define Grand Island as a destination and grow the tourism economy.


Chamber partners can help propel this momentum by staying engaged and focused on what’s best for the community.


Let’s take a page from the city’s glorious past by consistently demonstrating Grand Island’s unique spirit of innovation and cooperation. This is how we will create a more prosperous future.

Here's a Tool to Get Control of Your

Health Insurance Expenses

The Grand Island Chamber is focused on delivering benefits for partners. So we’re proud to report there’s a new and affordable health insurance group-coverage product available for Chamber members.


According to Matt Green with Chamber partner GTA Insurance Group, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s ChamberChoice plans can help employers control insurance costs without compromising on quality. These plans are a great option for small and medium-sized businesses, offering a variety of coverage options, predictable payments, and world-class support.


The Chamber urges interested members to have a discussion with their broker to understand how a ChamberChoice plan could save them money. Use the Chamber’s business directory to find a broker if you don’t already have one.

Grand Island Celebrates National Internship Month

The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce and Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation are reminding businesses that April is National Internship Awareness Month. This annual event spotlights the benefits that internships offer students and employers by playing a key role in developing future talent. Read more.

2024 Top 35 Under 35 Awards

Key GI Businesses Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries

This year, Grand Island’s Hornaday Manufacturing — one of central Nebraska’s top employers — is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Vice President Jason Hornady was recently interviewed by The Independent (subscription), telling the paper, “We love our community. We love being here.”


Meanwhile, Chief Industries is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The Independent published this story spotlighting the company’s seven decades, noting Chief is not only a major employer but that the company “is helping reshape Grand Island’s future with developments such as Prairie Commons, Conestoga Marketplace, and many other projects in the community.”


Congratulations to both these Chamber partners. We’re proud you call Grand Island home.

In the Spotlight: GI Chamber's 5-Star Accreditation

The Independent (subscription) recently reported on the Grand Island Chamber’s 5-star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber, making it one of only 145 chambers in the U.S. — and one of only four in Nebraska — to earn the highest honor from the national organization. Chamber Vice President Courtney Glock played a key role in the organization's work to earn this elite status. Read the full story.

At a Glance: GI's Cost-of-Living Advantage

Inflation continues to affect businesses and families, but Grand Island residents can breathe a little easier knowing they enjoy a cost-of-living advantage. According to Sperling's Best Places, Grand Island’s total cost of housing, food, childcare, transportation, health care, taxes, and other necessities is 16.3% lower than the U.S. average.


A typical home in Grand Island is roughly 40% less expensive than the U.S. average, according to the site, and nearly 11% less expensive than the average Nebraska home. Renting a two-bedroom unit in Grand Island is 38.5% cheaper than the U.S. average, and 10.2% cheaper than the state average. 

Railside Downtown Development Tour

Join Railside on Saturday, April 6, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the Downtown Development Tour. The tour is self-guided and starts at Amur Plaza. This is a great opportunity to see the recent developments and renovations taking place in downtown Grand Island.

Study: Nebraska Offers 12th Lowest Cost of Living

A recent comparison by 24/7 Wall St. finds Nebraska is one of the nation's leaders when it comes to overall cost of living. Ranked 12th best overall, the Cornhusker State is most competitive in the categories of housing and electricity costs, while transportation costs are Nebraska's least competitive category in the study.

OSHA Finalizes Walkaround Rule

OSHA has finalized its controversial “walkaround rule,” which would give union representatives the ability to accompany OSHA inspectors during a facility walkaround, regardless of whether the representative is an employee or the facility is unionized. The rule poses significant threats to companies’ intellectual property and provides workplace access to union leaders.

In this news release, the U.S Chamber wrote: The rule injects “union organizing tactics into inspections that should be focused solely on workplace safety. This regulation further demonstrates this administration’s determination to aid unions whenever possible, even at the expense of an agency’s core mission. The Chamber is considering all options, including litigation, in response to this flawed rule.” While the rule will likely be challenged in court, employers are urged to consider taking steps now to prepare for it to take effect, experts say.

U.S. Chamber: Contact Your Senators on Tax Relief Plan

The U.S. Chamber is asking business owners and employees to encourage their U.S. senators to support passage of H.R. 7024, the “Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act” this year. This bipartisan bill would extend several pro-growth business tax provisions that have expired, including the R&D deduction, 100% bonus depreciation deduction, and the EBITDA standard for deducting business interest expenses. The U.S. House has already approved the bill, but it’s currently held up in the Senate.

Read the U.S. Chamber’s letter of support, then contact Nebraska’s U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer and Pete Ricketts

MFG Day Training Webinar, April 4

While MFG Day (Oct. 4) is still months away, it’s not too early to start planning your event. The Chamber urges its manufacturer partners, as well as education partners, to register for this complimentary April 4 webinar to help with efforts to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

Take Advantage of Your Chamber Partnership

Grand Island Chamber members are being encouraged to take advantage of all their Chamber has to offers. Jamie Karl, the Chamber’s new president, recently sent this note to partners, urging them to get involved, if they’re not already. “If your engagement has fallen off in recent years, especially after the pandemic, now is a great time to get re-engaged — because a lot of big things are happening in Grand Island,” Karl wrote.

Learning Seminar: High Quality Conflict

Managers spend roughly 40% of their time involved in conflict in some form. Conflict is unavoidable. Whether professionally, at work, with a co-worker, or personally in your relationships, it is just part of being human. Fortunately, the skills we need to have high-quality conflict can be learned.

Join us on April 17 for an in-person seminar that will expand your knowledge on one of the most problematic issues in the workplace.

Presented by Lee Elliott.

Register Here

Welcome New Partner

Bert's Commercial Cleaning

  • Provides nightly, weekly, or bi-weekly cleaning services for businesses in the Grand Island area
  • Offers carpet cleaning, construction clean-up, and moving services

[email protected]

(308) 258-0798

Thanks for Attending

Restore Physical Therapy

Ribbon Cutting

March 21

Thunder Road Sports Bar

Ribbon Cutting

March 29

Upcoming Chamber Events

Upcoming Partner Events

April 4, 11, 18, and 25

Survivorship 101: Cancer Rehab Program

April 6

Unite Against Violence: Bar Crawl for a Cause

April 9

Grand Island Public Library Open House

April 11

Mosaic - Discover the Possibilities Lunch

and Tour

April 12

Green Dot Bystander Intervention Training

April 13

Women's Day

April 19

Hideout Comedy Event

Featured Career Opportunities

For a full list of job opportunities, click here.

To post a new job opportunity, login to your Chamber web account.

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