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A Neligh business was recognized this week at the state level for its commitment to downtown revitalization and economic development. That dedicated led to Pitzer Digital being named Business of the Year by the Nebraska Main Street Network.
Pitzer Digital, a marketing and media firm with offices in Neligh and Orchard, was presented the award by Elizabeth Chase, executive director of the organization.
Pitzer Digital is owned by Carrie and Wade Pitzer and employs Jenny Higgins, Logan Lawson, Samantha Cleveland, Meggie Flenniken, Wendy Flenniken, Jacob Pavlik, Kevin Miller, Rich Burgess, Dylan Widger and Bryce Frey, along with several other individuals on a part-time basis.
Chase said past recipients of the Business of the Year award have worked hard to improve downtowns by adding new jobs or expanding their customer base. She said some have made dramatic physical improvements in their building while others have taken a strong leadership role with the local main street organization and helped increase peer participation in the program.
“The financial investment is important to Neligh and to the state of Nebraska,” Chase said. “This award is presented to a main street business that has demonstrated the most interest and action to their downtown revitalization effort through improving their own business.”
Neligh Mayor Joe Hartz was on hand for the presentation and complimented Pitzer Digital for its impact on Antelope County.
“Congratulations on a great job of growing with our community and helping bring Antelope County together with the news. It’s been great for not only Neligh, but for the entire county with great reporting and more jobs being created because of what you’ve done here,” he said.
Hartz said when Pitzer Digital expanded its media division to include a newspaper by purchasing The Orchard News, the company created a domino effect that has improved all local media. The Orchard News has transitioned into a county-wide publication as the only print publication covering all eight communities in the county though the Antelope County News. Pitzer Digital also works regularly with the Tilden Citizen and Elgin Review to serve advertisers.
“You brought color to our county and now most of our papers are in color, and that’s wonderful,” Hartz said. “I think competition is good for us and helps us to grow. You’ve done a great job of invigorating our news, so you deserve a big congratulations for what you’ve done for not only Neligh, but all for Antelope County. It’s great having you in our community.”
Neligh Economic Development Director Greg Ptacek said Pitzer Digital has become widely recognized throughout the state for its unique approach to both marketing and media. It is often discussed as a success story for entrepreneurial businesses as it recruits millennial employees to a rural area and continues to change the rural media landscape with social media prowess and strong content.
“It’s really amazing to see that our first LB 840 loan has had such success and is being honored with this prestigious award,” Ptacek said. “Pitzer Digital is a role model business for the Main Street business community, and we’re incredibly happy and excited that they’ve chosen to remain committed to Main Street Neligh and truly invest in the community.”
Ptacek said Pitzer Digital was the community’s first LB 840 loan recipient. With the loan, the company was required to have two full-time positions by spring 2015. It now has more than a dozen full- and part-time employees.
“It’s not just traditional bricks and mortar that have been huge for Neligh. It’s also the number of employees they’ve brought into the community, who are stopping at the bank, grocery store, pharmacy. That really shows a commitment to Main Street Neligh and shows what a good Main Street should look like.”