Library collection to help boost small businesses

Carver County Commissioner James Ische and NYA Economic Development Coordinator Christie Rock Hantge unveil the Small Business Resource Center at the NYA Library on Thursday. (Times staff photo by Adam Gruenewald)

Carver County Commissioner James Ische and NYA Economic Development Coordinator Christie Rock Hantge unveil the Small Business Resource Center at the NYA Library on Thursday. (Times staff photo by Adam Gruenewald)

by ADAM GRUENEWALD
NYA Times

A new resource at the NYA Library will provide opportunities for small business owners to get a jumpstart on their ventures.
The NYA Small Business Entrepreneurial Collection at the library, featuring numerous books and resources, officially opened last Thursday.
NYA Economic Development Coordinator (EDC) Christie Rock Hantge first presented the idea of the collection to the NYA Economic Development Commission last summer as a way to help small business owners in the NYA area.
In addition to providing entrepreneurial training and small business counseling, the EDC has also been responsible for a commercial corridor revitalization deferred loan program to help small business owners fix-up the exterior facades of the buildings in 2011.
“Although the NYA EDC has access to small business counselors who can help individuals prepare business plans and financial documents, sometimes people need to do some research to help them formulate their own ideas,” Hangte said in a press release, explaining the commission’s desire for a collection. “That’s where a collection of books is so important. It’s a great starting point.”  Moreover, says Hantge “The best resource for creating new businesses and new jobs is from people who already live here.”
The NYA EDC liked the idea and voted to contribute $3,000 toward the purchase of materials for the new Small Business Entrepreneurial collection.  In addition, Hantge obtained a major contribution of materials from Steve and Beth Gasser of Hutchinson, owners of Vivid Image.
Among the books in the collection are books ranging from starting home-based computer repair to dog training to purchasing a franchise to blogging for profit to starting a vending business.
“This collection reflects current trends in marketing and addresses social networking and online based sales,” said Sandy Seha-Luoma, the associate librarian at NYA Library in a press release. “It also provides support for the logistics of running a small business like a guide to using QuickBooks and hiring your first employee.”
Carver County Commissioner James Ische, who attended the opening, was encouraged by the concept and how it might benefit the community.
“One of the best ways to create new jobs is by creating and growing businesses right here in our community,” he said. “This strategy is an effective economic development tool because it creates sustainable economic growth. Entrepreneurs that star and grow their businesses here will choose to stay here because it is the place they call home.”
He added that the collection will provide a much-needed and long-term resource for business owners.
“Starting or growing a business is hard work that requires entrepreneurs to do high quality research, think creatively, and collaborate with others,” he said. “Our new collection will provide a starting place to help prospective or current entrepreneurs to formulate ideas that can help their businesses succeed.”
Carver County Library Branch Manager Heidi Hoks said, while tailored to NYA, the pilot project could spread within the system or even grow within NYA.
“It’s a very practical collection,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful to have esoteric, but we need practical so that we can get down their in the trenches and go.”
Already, some of the books in the collection have gone out and three more were set out to go Thursday to other libraries within the system.
“That’s wonderful because they’re promoting it already to other people,” she said.
On the day of the unveiling, Hangte said she was “thrilled” the project became realized, and will compliment other efforts by the commission.
“One thing that we gad talked about at the economic development commission was how there was a resource section for people who were unemployed or searching for jobs,” she said. “Many of those people are very talented but have unfortunately lost their jobs in this down economy, but may have been thinking about a small business they could start but just didn’t know where to get the resource information. Maybe they were afraid to approach one of our counselors before they did some reading. As opposed to have people roam around the library, the idea was to put it all in one central location right next to the unemployment job section.”
Hangte added that she is also looking into partnering with local schools to have students do a class project with the resources as another avenue to build relationships or to have a small business plan contest.
“I’m so excited,” she said. “I really hope this project can be a model for other libraries within the Carver County system,” she said. “Please encourage people you know who have a small business idea to maybe check out this resource, help spread the word and help us fill up some of the vacant storefronts that we have here in town and in other smaller cities in Carver County. I know that we aren’t the only city that has downtowns that has some vacant space. This is really meant to support people that have some ideas to fill up those vacancies.”
For more information regarding the new Small Business Entrepreneurial Collection, please contact the NYA Library at 952-467-2665, or stop in to see the collection at the library located at 314 Elm St. West.  For more information on economic development resources and services available in NYA, please contact Hantge at 952-467-1993, or email her at crock@cityofnya.com, or visit the NYA EDC Web site at www.expand2nya.com.

Contact Adam Gruenewald at adam.gruenewald@ecm-inc.com.

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