BIG IDEA COMPETITION: FEB. 1 in HASKELL

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? Do you have an idea for a business? Would you like to win $15,000 to help launch your big idea? If so, we have an event you need to attend.

The ACU Springboard Competition helps local entrepreneurs develop their business model at an early stage and get feedback on their business ideas from local investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders. It’s like a mini Shark Tank for rural Texas.

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The competition includes three phases, each designed to help your team move to the next milestone.  The phases include…

  1. Initial Elevator Pitch (Done in Haskell on February 1, 2018)
  2. Training Workshop and Mentoring to create a business model
  3. Business Model Competition, ending in the top 3 teams presenting at the Springboard Community Lunch in April  for a chance to win $15,000

Get started today by registering for the Haskell elevator pitch event held on February 1, 2018. All you have to do is share your idea in two minutes or less and get feedback from our judges. Your team could end up winning $15,000 in cash and in-kind resources to help pursue your big idea.

At the Development Corporation of Haskell (DCOH), we know opportunities like these are few and far between; therefore, we do not want you to miss this opportunity to turn your big idea into a reality. No idea is too small or too big to compete. You do not have to have all the details figured out initially. You just have to come with your idea.  To register, call or email the DCOH at 940-864-3424.

The DCOH would also like to help you with additional business resources on launching your big idea or expanding your business. We can help you further develop your idea, help you get resources together and also help with workforce issues.  We can also put you in touch with other partners around the region who can help you with business planning, financing and more. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 864-3424.

 

Sip, Shop & Stroll

By Jimi Coplen

Get ready for a fun evening out in downtown Haskell on December 7, 2017, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. The Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center along with the Development Corporation of Haskell will be hosting a Sip, Shop and Stroll holiday event. Businesses will be open late for your shopping pleasure. There will be live entertainment and several drawings for Haskell Dollars. There will also be a friendly, ugly sweater competition.

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The Sip, Shop and Stroll event will consist of businesses providing refreshments as you stroll through the downtown and shop. Every twenty dollars spent on this night enters shoppers into drawings for a total of $200 Haskell Dollars. Receipts can be shown at the COC office and a ticket will be given for each $20 spent. Shoppers must be present to win, and a winner will be drawn every 30 minutes.

Also, there will be an ugly sweater contest. If you would like to play along, simply wear your ugliest sweater and check in at the COC office. Someone will take your photo and a panel of judges will decide who in fact is wearing the ugliest sweater. All entries must be entered by 6:30 p.m. and the winner will be picked at 6:45 p.m. The grand prize will be $50 in Haskell Dollars.

If you are a business with no storefront and would like to participate in the event, a space can be provided for you to set up in downtown. You will need to bring your own table. If you have a storefront and would like to extend your hours for this event, please let us know as well. We will be putting a list together of all participating businesses. There is a $10 fee for non-chamber members to participate.  You do not have to be located on the square to participate.

Make plans to join us Thursday night, December 7, 2017, from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. for a fun-filled, holiday event. For more information call the COC at 864-2477 or the DCOH at 864-3424.

Host Your Next Meeting in Haskell

If any of you follow the DCOH & Chamber Facebook page – Haskell Texas USA – you may have noticed that we have been focusing on places to meet in Haskell. As locals, we sometimes forget what is in our own backyard and how we can utilize those venues to drive our local economy. We can all agree that we want a stronger economy, right?

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When a group comes to Haskell, they sleep in our motels, eat at our restaurants, buy our gas and shop at our retail stores.  People want to spend money when they are out of town. They multi-task while they are here and run errands, pick up a gift, and fill up their tanks before they head home. We all do this when we visit a different town. That is why it is important to remember Haskell when scheduling meetings and events.

Think about this: Do you belong to a regional organization of any kind?  Do you belong to a club? Does that group get together and meet? Is your family planning a family reunion this year? The next time they are looking for a location, speak up about all the great spots we have in Haskell. From small events to large ones, Haskell can accommodate almost any group size. Here are some of the meeting spaces available in Haskell:

  • Civic Center
  • Country Club
  • Macias Ballroom
  • The Women’s Space
  • First Bank Texas Meeting Room
  • The Hospital Education Room (Meetings must be heathcare related.)
  • American Legion Hall
  • Church fellowship halls

Can you believe we have that many places to host a meeting or event? They have everything you need, including tables, chairs, AV equipment and sound systems. Many of them also have kitchens available.

Even if your group is small, every dollar counts in small communities. It makes a difference. Also, if you put together packets for your group, check in with the DCOH or the Chamber of Commerce for maps, booklets, etc. Also, some of the local businesses have marketing giveaways they will give you to fill your packets.

If you would like to bring a group to Haskell or put on an event, but you are not sure how to get started, stop by the DCOH office and let us help you. To get more information about our meeting spaces, visit www.haskelltexasusa.com/ or call us at 864-3424.

Yard of the Month -KHB

Christina Isbell, Keep Haskell Beautiful

Yard of the Month recognizes Haskell citizens who contribute to the overall aesthetics and health of our city by maintaining exceptionally clean and beautiful properties. Nominations for the program are open to the public January – December of each year, and one winning “Yard of the Month” is selected by KHB volunteer judges. A sign will be placed in the winner’s yard, along with photos on KHB website and Facebook page.

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HOLIDAY SEASON: In the months of October, November and December a Yard-of-the-Month award will be given based on holiday decorations and other seasonal presentations. This is usually for Halloween and Christmas/Hanukkah but may be awarded for Thanksgiving decorations.

Have you seen a yard that’s worthy of being honored as “Yard of the Month?”  To submit a nomination, send an email to keephaskellbeautiful@yahoo.com or call 940-207-1729. Winner’s for the following month will be selected on the third Monday of each month.

 

Leadership Project Helps Bring Digital Sign to Downtown

By Christina Isbell

In a joint effort between County Judge David Davis, the 2015-16 Knox-Haskell Rural Leadership Class and the West Central Texas Council of Governments (COG), Haskell has a new digital sign on the northwest corner of the downtown square. At the end of the 8-month class, the Haskell group, hosted by the Development Corporation of Haskell, encouraged the class to develop a community project. Members were Susan Jarred-Aycock, Jamie Ferguson, Nicole Buchanan, Jamie Jordan, Christina Isbell and Veronica Anderson.

“It was a great experience to be a part of a project for our county and the Leadership class and to work with a group to complete this service project,” Jarred-Aycock said.

Klose Welding, West Electric and Haskell County helped to install the digital sign.

“We are excited to have been involved in the digital sign project,” said Patti Davis, Regional 9-1-1 Program Coordinator for West Central Texas Council of Governments. Public education efforts in public safety are an ongoing process, always evolving to accommodate new technologies.

According to the coordinator, the new digital sign is an additional approach that our Regional 9-1-1 Program will be utilizing to educate the citizens of Haskell County on the proper use of their 9-1-1 system. This collaborative project is a prime example of how the community and its leaders have come together to implement a tool that will be utilized by individuals and organizations throughout the county.

“It was our pleasure to enable the project to become a reality through the grant funds awarded to the County, especially in light of the big impact it will have on the communication of important messages to Haskell County residents,” she said.

Not only will the sign have 9-1-1 messages for the community, the sign also will be used for countywide events. To set up guidelines for the sign, Judge Davis will create a board of county personnel, Keep Haskell Beautiful/Leadership Program, the Chamber of Commerce and other citizens. To have future events included in the messages, citizens can contact the county judge’s office at 940-864-2661. Please have patience with the group as they learn to use the sign and software associated with it.

DCOH Needs Your Building for Possibilities Tour

Haskell Homecoming is slated for October 20-21. During this memorable weekend, the DCOH will be hosting a Possibilities Tour to showcase available buildings around town.  We would like for our visitors to be able to walk through buildings and think about the endless business possibilities available right here in Haskell.

In order to prepare for this event, we need realtors and building owners to participate with the DCOH and answer questions about cost, square footage, and showing their building during this time. If you are unable to show your building, we will help find people to do that for you. Also, don’t worry too much about how the space looks. We aren’t expecting every space to be in tip-top shape. But we will need some room for people to move around safely.pt-logoOur goal is to feature buildings that are for sale or lease; however, even if a building is not for sale, but an owner/manager would like to showcase it on the tour, we are happy to add them. An example would be someone who has done renovations, or changed up the space in some way that people who have ties to Haskell would enjoy seeing.

The tour is scheduled for Saturday afternoon (Oct. 21) from 2-5 p.m. We will create a map that people can pick up prior to going on the tour. We would also like some of our older population in town to be in each building to tell the stories about what was there before. These stories and history are the reason some people invest in these spaces. They love the back-story.

People love their hometown and many dream of coming back someday. We want to provide them with information to help them make that decision. Some will simply want to take a trip down memory lane, and that is also fantastic. They will tell their friends and help us generate some positive buzz about Haskell.

After the event we will have a gathering point with refreshments for a discussion about what people saw and envisioned in those spaces. We will also be sharing photos and articles after the event. We will continue to answer follow up questions that people have long after the weekend is over. We want to get people talking and dreaming about possibilities in these spaces.

We will have a meeting with interested parties in September to go over more details. If you have a building in Haskell that you would like to feature on the tour, please call the DCOH at 940-864-3424 to get on our list…even if you aren’t 100% decided, still get on our list. Also, if you would like to be a person who shares the history of a certain building, let us know. This is a going to be a fun event and a great opportunity to feature Haskell.

 

 

How Economic Development Works

By Jimi Coplen

Business recruitment is always something the DCOH is working on. In the past, the DCOH has been successful at a variety of different businesses that have been recruited to Haskell. Some have been successful and continue to be in business today. Some of the businesses have closed due to owners passing away. And, some businesses simply do not make it because being in business is hard work. Other businesses were so successful they were sold and moved to different locations. New business is part of the ebb and flow of all communities, and the DCOH continues to look for businesses to move, start-up or expand in Haskell.

One way the DCOH works is to identify gaps in the community. We look for things that are missing: retail gaps, service gaps, manufacturing gaps. For example, Haskell does not have an eye doctor, or optometrist. That is a gap, or a service that people drive out of Haskell to find. We then have to evaluate if that type of business could be supported in a community this size. Then, we have to find a market or people in that field, and show them that a gap exists here. Then, we must convince them that there is an opportunity in Haskell to start a business.  The process can be fun, but long and much patience is required!

Did you know that the old Monsanto building used to be owned by the DCOH, and it housed a small motor home manufacturer? This gentleman sold his company and went to work with his brother in Stephenville building horse trailers. The DCOH then recruited Delta Pine, a cotton breeding company, and sold the building to them. They later became Monsanto. When Monsanto opened their megacenter in Lubbock, it absorbed the Haskell research center, leaving the building for sale once again. With the help of the DCOH, it was most recently purchased by Steele Fire & Apparatus to expand their business. They are one of Texas’ leading manufacturers of brush trucks, tankers and skid units. We are proud to have them doing what they do in Haskell.

People do not always understand how economic development works. Through these articles, we hope to give you a glimpse into this world of business recruitment, retention and expansion. The DCOH is working for Haskell, and we hope to continue to do so for many years. If you know of anyone wanting to start or expand a business in Haskell, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 940-864-3424. As always, you can follow our Facebook page at haskelltexasusa.

 

Marketing to Millennials

by Jimi Coplen

Millennials, those born between 1982 and 2004 (give or take a few years), are one of the largest consumer shopping groups in today’s society. How they choose to shop and what they choose to buy can make or break certain industries. How can small businesses adapt and thrive when it comes to marketing to millennials?

millennialThere are multiple answers to this question, but let’s focus on two things we know for certain about millennials:

  1. We know they prefer convenience.
  2. We know they prefer to shop online.

As life gets busier and busier, shopping online has become a convenience for all generations, not just millennials. You must be able to meet your customer base where they are. Here are a few ways to do that.

Websites: Websites are one of the easiest ways for people to shop online, but people have to know you have a website. You must be driving customers to your website, preferably through social media channels. Are you posting your latest merchandise on the site, and can your customers actually place an order from the site? It should be easy for them to purchase your product without ever having to make a phone call or leave their home.

Social Media: If you do not have a website, social media is your next best option. Are you regularly posting new merchandise online? Are you making it easy for customers to contact you? Are you offering online payment and shipping? You may also have to boost (pay) those posts. If you are not paying a little bit to get those posts seen, people are not seeing them. Facebook can easily hide your posts. If customers haven’t visited your page recently and interacted, your posts are not showing up on their page. You will have to boost a post for people to see it. This is inexpensive, but be sure you set a maximum rate so you do not spend any money you didn’t intend to spend. If you have a website, you should also be using social media to drive people to your website where they can see the rest of your merchandise. They may not want to buy what is on your Facebook page, but they may see something on your website that interests them.

Facebook Live: Right now facebook is giving preference to live videos. This may change in the future, but right now this is the golden ticket of free advertising. So, don’t be scared to get in front of the camera and show off your store, your new merchandise, etc. People will watch. And, if they don’t see it while you are live, you can post it to your page when you are done and facebook will give it high viewership.  Also, share it on your personal page. This also helps viewership. And, do this regularly! It’s free!

As always, the DCOH is here to help you tackle this new model of advertising. Simply give us a call at 940-864-3424.

Wild Horse Prairie Days 2017 – June 2-3

Summer is almost here and that means it is time for the 22nd Annual Wild Horse Prairie Days Rodeo and BBQ Cook-Off weekend! The rodeo and cook-off will both be held Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3.  See the flyers below for team line ups for the rodeo.

Rodeo Schedule 

Friday, June 2

9 a.m. – Team Roping

8 a.m. – 8 p.m. – Craft Show  (Civic Center)

12 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Project Show (Civic Center)

5 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Chuckwagon Meal

7 p.m. – Ranch Rodeo

Saturday, June 3

9 a.m. – Ranch Horse Competition

10:30 a.m. – Ranch Horse Competition Finals (Awards at the Civic Center)

8 a.m. – 8 p.m. – Craft Show  (Civic Center)

12 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Project Show (Civic Center)

5 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Chuckwagon Meal

7 p.m. – Ranch Rodeo

Sunday, June 4

9 a.m. – Barrel Racing

10:30 a.m. – Jeff Gore, Cowboy Preacher at God Loves You Ministries, westside of the downtown square.

BBQ Cook-Off & Cornhole Schedule

Last year was the first year the Haskell Chamber hosted the WHPD BBQ Cook-Off in conjunction with the rodeo and with the help of our event organizer, Tell Stevens, we hope to have an even better event this year.

This year the event will be brought to you by the Haskell Chamber of Commerce and Bailey Toliver Chevrolet. We are also adding several new categories and events to our cook-off including a kids steak competition on Friday night sponsored by Modern Way, cornhole tournaments on both Friday night and Saturday and a welcome event on Friday night. Here is the schedule of all the fun.

Friday, June 2

6 p.m. – Welcome event and cornhole tournament

7 p.m. – Kid’s Steak Competition sponsored by Modern Way (14 and under)

7 p.m. – Steak competition (15 and up)

Saturday, June 3

8 a.m. to 5 pm. – WHPD BBQ Cook-Off. Categories include Bloody Mary, Beans, Chicken, Ribs, Brisket. Turn in times will be throughout the day.

10 a.m. – Cornhole tournament

We will be looking for judges to help with all the categories for both Friday night and Saturday. If you would like to be a judge, please contact Tell Stevens at 2147-500-4506.

For more information about the cook-off and to see all entry fees and prizes, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/whpd.cookoff.  To sign up, fill out the form here.

National Small Business Week

By Jimi Coplen

In honor of National Small Business Week, the DCOH would like to thank our small business owners for all they do for Haskell, the citizens and the region. We could not do what we do if it were not for small businesses. They not only provide goods and services, generate sales tax dollars, and employee folks, but they also donate to various causes such as scholarships and events. It takes a lot of tenacity and grit to own your own business. It is not for the faint of heart. Hats off to each of you!

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Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.

As you shop this week, be sure and say “thank you” to your local business owners. Let them know how much you appreciate them for all they do! Show them some love on social media by checking in and/or posting a picture from their establishment. When you do, use the hashtag #SmallBusinessWeek and #deeproots. For more information on this event, check out https://www.sba.gov/nsbw/ or call the DCOH at 940-864-3424.