Erie, Kansas Launches New Community Website

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June 4, 2015: Erie, KS has launched a new community website on LoveSmallTownAmerica.com, an online network for small towns, at: http://www.lovesmalltownamerica.com/erieks.php

Love Small Town America provides another powerful tool for Erie to recruit new residents by providing a package of webpages to establish a community portal on www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com. This opens the door for other community attractions, including businesses, churches, schools, organizations, and more, to have a web presence as well.

Erie’s new website features community information, a community calendar, photo gallery, business pages, job listings, real estate listings, and more. The calendar will be updated monthly with new events and residents can subscribe to receive updated listings by e-mail.

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LSTA.com releases eye-catching new website features!

LSTA.com homepage

Vivid background photos, an eye-catching header image, and custom font choices for the page title give LSTA members even more ways to draw in visitors and display their community’s unique personality.

LoveSmallTownAmerica.com proudly introduces exciting new features to add an additional level of personalization and flair to community websites.Community webpages now include an eye-catching header image and premium level members have additional custom options designed to make a bold impression on visitors. Continue reading

LoveSmallTownAmerica.com Mothers Are…

Yes, Mothers’ Day was yesterday. But, here at LoveSmallTownAmerica.com, we celebrate the amazing women in our lives every day of the year. Small towns are full of hardworking mothers who care for their families and give back to their communities. We wanted to take a moment to celebrate our small town mothers on our blog. We asked for submissions on our Facebook page and got quite the list of shining adjectives to describe LoveSmallTownAmerica.com mothers. Our mothers are all these things and more. Mothers – Love Small Town America appreciates you!

Love Small Town America mothers are all of these things and more. Word cloud courtesy of Wordle.com

Love Small Town America mothers are all of these things and more. Word cloud courtesy of Wordle.com.

LSTA & KS Dept. of Commerce Offering ROZ Communities Free Webpages

Love Small Town America and the KS Dept. of Commerce Have Partnered to Bring ROZ Communities Free Webpages

ROZs Can Join LSTA for FREE

ROZs Can Join LSTA for FREE

From now until Feb. 13, ROZ Communities (towns or counties) can apply for a free webpage and Love Small Town America membership. You get a great, worry-free web presence, free advertising and promotion, a listing in our directory of towns and/or counties, and connections to a growing network of small towns. It’s easy, it’s free, it makes a difference. The Kansas Department of Commerce feels so strongly that this is a vital step for ROZ communities to take, they’re footing the bill so ROZ communities can get in on this great opportunity. Scholarships are limited, so apply as soon as possible to ensure you are one of the lucky ones!

What is the ROZ Webpage Scholarship?

A one-year scholarship (valued at $225+) that covers the cost of a community webpage and membership in the Love Small Town America network to provide accurate, interesting information about your community, share events, post jobs and real estate listings, connect local businesses with publicity and affordable webpages of their own, and get your community noticed!

Check out a community webpage and click through the different tabs to see the many features. Visit: Grainfield, KS.

What Are the Benefits of a Love Small Town America Webpage?

Our members are part of a network of small communities. Every member gets a full-featured web presence that is completely hassle-free. We do all the work, from building the site, to writing the copy, to performing maintenance and updates. We also include free promotion as part of the deal to help you show the world why they should call a small town home and to showcase the best small towns in America. Learn more about the many benefits you’ll receive as a Love Small Town America member when you apply for the webpage scholarship.

How Do I Apply?

Fill out a scholarship application and return it to Chris Harris at charris@kansascommerce.com. Communities (counties or towns) participating in the ROZ program with a population of 5,000 or fewer can apply.

Or: Contact Luke Mahin at Luke@Lovesmalltownamerica.com or 785-374-3067 for assistance filling out your application or to ask questions.

Featured Business: Harvest Market

Owner Dan Godek knows the community of Gove County comes together at Harvest Market.

Love Small Town America is the online home for some of small town America’s best businesses. We’re giving them a chance to share with the world just what makes them so special. Please welcome our very first featured business to the Love Small Town America blog: Harvest Market

Where can you find delicious BBQ meats, household essentials, and a dead rat all in one, convenient location? Residents of Grainfield, Kansas know that Harvest Market is the place to find all of these things – and more!

At Harvest Market, household essentials line the shelves alongside quirky surprises.

Grocery stores are often the heart of small towns, where citizens gather to share the latest news and pick up a loaf of bread. Grainfield finds this in Harvest Market – and a little extra.

Harvest Market has been in operation in Grainfield in some form or another since the late 1920s. Current owners Dan and Nicole Godek have updated the market with energy-efficient equipment and expanded product lines, keeping Harvest Market a viable part of the small town economy while respecting its historic tradition of serving the people of Gove County, KS.

The family-owned store has imbued Harvest Market with a lively spirit that draws in customers from all over the area. Slogans like, “Eggs, Tomatoes, Toilet Paper… Everything You Need to Decorate Your Favorite Neighbor’s House,” and “We Get Up in Your Grill,” are proof that grocery shopping doesn’t have to be a chore.

Shopping trips become lively excursions at Harvest Market with a little help from the local "wildlife".

Although Harvest Market does have eggs, tomatoes, and toilet paper (and produce, dairy, party trays, beauty products, beer, tobacco, and more), it’s their mouthwatering array of Harvest Market Brand BBQ meats that promises to make summertime special in Kansas. The sight of pulled pork, beef brisket, and BBQ beef fresh from the heartland have wrecked more than one carefully planned dinner menu, but we have a feeling no one is complaining.

Harvest Market brand BBQ draws customers from all around.

Owner Dan Godek draws inspiration from his own children (or maybe from his childlike zest for life!) and makes a shopping excursion to Harvest Market fun for all ages. A big gnome, little gnome, dead hand, and toy rat wander mysteriously about the store every day just waiting to be found. If searching for a toy rat doesn’t sound like your kind of fun, a carnival mirror is an oracle of truth that could provide the answer to whether you should place that candy bar or that bunch of bananas in your shopping cart.

Looking for a great deal?

Coupons rotate frequently at Harvest Market, so check back soon.

Harvest Market rotates coupons on their Love Small Town America site, so check back regularly for updated promotions. Through May 31, 2012, they are offering a bargain on sunflower seeds – perfect for enjoying outside as the weather warms up.

BIGS Sunflower Seeds are on special at Harvest Market this May.

What Does Harvest Market Love About Small Towns?

They’re quiet, peaceful, affordable, friendly, safe, vibrant, caring, and conservative.

What Does Harvest Market Like Best About Love Small Town America?

Harvest Market calls Love Small Town America their home on the web. But it’s more than just good business sense – it’s about good.

“The fact that Love Small Town America is doing good. It’s helping small towns. It’s helping small town businesses. It’s going to give back to its communities through scholarship and grant programs.”

Harvest Market will be giving back to the community themselves, as a sponsor of the 4th annual Cruise, Shoes, and BBQs fundraiser this Memorial Weekend. With food, beer, and fun, it’s a natural fit for Harvest Market.

Harvest Market's friendly grocery aisle gnome.

Do you shop at Harvest Market? Have you ever found the toy rat or tried Harvest Market BBQ? Let us know in the comments! 

What can businesses learn from small towns?

A new book, Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy, examines the lessons that businesses can learn from small towns. Small Town Rules argues that the interconnectedness of a global, web-based system of commerce where, “your customers can talk to everyone else,” presents similar challenges and opportunities to those of a small town, where, it could be argued, everyone talks to everyone else, too.

Small Town Rules

The book is co-authored by Becky McCray and Barry Molz, two digital heavyweights who have used the interconnectedness of the web-based system of exchange to foster respective careers in rural small business advocacy and entrepreneurship. Together they have outlined seven rules that businesses can learn from small towns and shared them in this book.

Whether or not the seven lessons revealed in this new book are ground-shaking epiphanies or statements of common sense remains to be seen; it’s not available until April, although you can pre-order now on Amazon.com. However, the symbiotic relationship between small towns and businesses is one that resonates with us at Love Small Town America. What do you think a business could learn from your small town? Tell us in the comments.

If you can’t wait until April, Small Town Rules co-author, Becky McCray, will preview her new book at the Social Media Tulsa Conference March 15-16, 2012.

 

Rural Opportunity Zone Incentives Take Effect January 1, 2012

Would you like to move to a small town? How would you like to move to a small town and pay no income tax for 5 years and get help paying off your student loans? Well, who wouldn’t want that?! If you live outside the state of Kansas and are dying to call a small Kansas town “home”, you may qualify to take advantage of an ingenious new incentive program that is luring people to the heartland.

Small towns in Kansas have taken the Rural Opportunity Zones program and run with it. This program is a creative way to help people take advantage of the benefits of small town living while giving rural counties in Kansas an incentive to attract young professionals and families and reverse the rural brain drain. The program benefits took action as of January 1, 2012.

From the Kansas Department of Commerce: On April 11, 2011, Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law the Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZs) program. ROZs are designed to reverse dramatic population declines over the past decade in rural areas of Kansas. The program is a central component of a broader plan by the Brownback Administration to spur economic development and expand job growth in 50 counties around the state. The program took effect July 1, 2011.

With two attractive incentives, moving to a small town just got a lot more enticing. A state income tax exemption applies to individuals moving to an ROZ from outside the state. Forty-four of the fifty participating counties are offering a student loan forgiveness program as well that could net participants up to $15,000 off of their outstanding college loans.

Kansas reported a slight increase in population for the year 2011. By December, more than 150 people had already applied for the ROZ program, so we may see that number continue to rise. Most of the people who leave Kansas move to Texas and the Governor links this out-migration with income taxes. The idea is that ROZs offer an opportunity for Kansas to compete with states that offer more aggressive tax situations.

Gove County, home of the LSTA headquarters in Grainfield (and LSTA towns Park and Quinter), opted in to the ROZ program at the end of December and we are very excited about welcoming some new residents to our wonderful communities to enjoy small town living! The decision to participate in the ROZ means that Gove County (and all the other ROZ counties) are choosing to embrace change and take brave steps to a brighter future. It’s not an easy step – but we think it is a good one.

We hope we see more of these kinds of incentives: programs that support small towns, bring growth to rural areas, and give people the chance to create their own opportunities.

For more information on the program or to apply to move to a Rural Opportunity Zone, visit the Kansas Department of Commerce website.

ROZs-designated counties are Barber, Chautauqua, Cheyenne, Clark, Cloud, Comanche, Decatur, Edwards, Elk, Gove, Graham, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rawlins, Republic, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Trego, Thomas, Wallace, Washington, Wichita, Wilson and Woodson