Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Nebraska’s Good Life Draws Couple from Niagara Falls

- from the desk of Eugene Rahn, erahn@inetnebr.com, Center for Rural Affairs REAP Senior Business Specialist in North Central Nebraska.

Nebraska’s Good Life Draws Couple from Niagara Falls to the Halsey Stockade Inn

Diane Goodier is a recipient of one of the Women and Company Micro-enterprise Boost Program cash equity awards given through REAP in April - see article in the May REAP Business Update - http://www.cfra.org/reap/newsletter/2005_05/cash_awards.htm . Diane, husband Chuck, and their two boys are new to Nebraska. They hail from the Niagara Falls region of New York.

The Goodiers wanted to leave the hustle and bustle of the Northeast and settle into a quieter lifestyle in Nebraska. They had no ties to Nebraska; they just felt a calling to re-locate here. And they are happy they did.

Diane and Chuck were able to buy the Halsey Stockade Inn from a couple who wanted to retire. They took over operations last fall.

The Inn has a deluxe furnished cabin, 11 sleeping rooms, six campsites, a hot tub, and breakfast bar for customers. It was a perfect fit for the two since both had been involved in hotel and property management in New York.

Eugene Rahn, Senior Business Specialist with REAP in North Central Nebraska, worked with the Goodiers to prepare their business plan and financials and to help locate the financing to make the deal possible. The Stockade Inn is just outside the 90,000 acre Nebraska National Forest, so they are well situated to serve tourists from all over the state and country.

The couple immediately got involved in organizations that will help promote their business. Diane is the committee chairperson for the 2nd Annual Junk Jaunt, a 220 mile perpetual yard sale with fun and treasures galore, scheduled Sept 23-25, 2005. And they have joined the effort to refurbish or rebuild the swimming pool in the forest, now 75 years old and the only pool in the country located in a forest.

With the equity award from REAP, Diane plans to start a convenience - gift store for campers, locals, and tourists by renovating an existing building on the property. She hopes to attract other rural businesses to sell farmer’s market goods and produce on-site during the season this year.

In addition to their work as inn-keepers, the couple brought some related vocational expertise with them, as Diane provides tax preparation services from her office at the Inn and Chuck is an experienced heating and air conditioning specialist.

While they have missed some of the amenities of city life, such as the specialty shops and gourmet dining, they have no regrets on their move so far. They love the wide open spaces of the sandhills, the friendly people in Nebraska, and the opportunities available to their sons in a small rural school district.

They love watching the sunrises and sunsets and seeing tumbleweeds blow down the street once in awhile, just like in the movies. Hats off to the Goodiers for a successful start as new business owners and for getting to know REAP in Nebraska. Check out the http://www.halseystockadeinn.com/ website; it can tell you much more.

for more information post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org

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