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Vacant storefronts are a concern for most downtown districts, but that’s not the case in Neligh as a domino effect of development is in full force.
Longtime business owners Jeri and Dennis Anderson announced earlier this summer they planned to close Moyer’s Clothing Store, which had been for sale for about a year. Jeri Anderson retired with the closing Monday.
But the building won’t stay closed long as a domino effect of change takes place, showing Neligh’s downtown district is as vital as ever.
Pitzer Digital LLC, which owns the Antelope County News, will move into the Moyer’s building at 314 Main Street and open as the new occupants on Monday, Aug. 14.
That move opens up two buildings on 4th Street since Pitzer Digital has outgrown not only its first building at 110
E 4th, but also it’s second building two doors down.
Those two buildings won’t be empty even a day as the administration of ESU 8 plans to move into both Pitzer Digital buildings during the multi-million dollar renovation of its building at 302 Main Street.
“We could almost form an assembly line for moving boxes between the buildings,” joked Carrie Pitzer, president of Pitzer Digital. “It’s an exciting time for everyone involved, especially Jeri. While it would have been ideal to keep a clothing store in Neligh, her retirement is well deserved. She has done so much for the community over the years.
The Andersons moved from Worthington, Minnesota to Nebraska in 1976. Dennis had recently graduated from agricultural banking school and had landed a job with the Oakdale Bank. After two years, Dennis worked with Farm Credit Services of America in Neligh for 35 years before retiring.
Jeri worked for a clothing store, True Value, Village Shop and Village Boutique in addition to some of her own entrepreneurial endeavors.
“I had a daycare for eight years between True Value and Village Shop. We purchased the T-Shirt Factory in 2000 and sold it in 2007,” Jeri said. “Then in September of 2010, Moyer’s was going to close so we purchased it so it wouldn’t close. We have had it going for six and a half years and it has been great.”
Moyer’s has been a long-time staple in the community that not only meets the needs of people here, but also brings in customers from a distance to the Neligh community.
“We have regular customers from Kansas, South Dakota, Idaho and all around Nebraska, like O’Neill, Albion, Norfolk and more,” Jeri said.
She added, “It will be hard to leave Moyer’s. It has been great owning it and running it and the customers are great. It warms my heart when elderly ladies come in and thank me for being here with Moyer’s.”
ACN Expands Services
Pitzer Digital bought more than just the building from the Andersons. The marketing and media company also bought the embroidery business and plans to have its graphic designer, Samantha Cleveland, oversee that division until she takes over the embroidery business for herself.
“Embroidery fits well with what our marketing division offers, and it’s really a great opportunity for us to help Sam branch out as a business owner in the next year or so,” Pitzer said. “This is a great service, and we’re excited to keep the embroidery business in Neligh serving all of Antelope County.”
Cleveland said she’s both excited and grateful for the opportunity to run the embroidery division and eventually buy it from Pitzer Digitial.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Cleveland said. “I appreciate the opportunity to not only run the embroidery division, but then be able to buy that part for myself and continue serving all of Northeast Nebraska.”
Pitzer Digital is celebrating its fourth anniversary this month and has rapidly grown from an at-home startup to a storefront with digital media, print media and a magazine thanks to the recent acquisition of “Living Here.” Pitzer said there are even more changes in the works with the company.
She said moving into the Moyer’s building will improve efficiency between staff and cut energy expenses. It also allows room for the company to grow its commercial printing even more.
“While we’re excited to offer embroidery and clothing for schools and businesses, it’s the commercial printing that really has me the most excited,” she said. “With the equipment we’ll be moving to Neligh, we anticipate being the largest commercial printer in the area. All of your printing needs will be available right here in Antelope County.
ESU 8 To Start Renovation
The second largest employer in Neligh also is ready for its long-awaited renovation project.
Educational Service Unit 8 is housed in a building set in the heart of downtown Neligh. The building will be getting not just a facelift during the next 18 months, but many other major changes.
One of the buildings used by ESU 8 was built in 1901 and the other in 1911. Both have housed the Education Services Unit #8 for nearly half of a decade.
But all the expansion and growth over the years has turned the building into a maze. When Bill Mowinkel, administrator at ESU 8, joined the team he was surprised that the building was working for them.
“It really is hard when you want to find our tech department and they come in this south door, and we say, ‘Well, you go right, right, left, and then another right and a left, and another left then you will see them,’ ” said Mowinkel. “We will try to get rid of that.”
The need for renovation and expansion has been obvious for a while, and acquiring one more building is what gave ESU 8 the option to start planning for the more than $4 million dollar renovation.
“When the building to the west of us became available, it gave us an area for us to move temporary offices into while they renovate here,” Mowinkel explained.
Unlike most major renovations to educational buildings, this project is not being funded by a bond. Due to planning by administration, ESU 8 has the funds available to pay for the project.
The ESU 8 staff will be in various buildings in Neligh during renovation, including the former Becca’s building across Main Street, besides leasing the two buildings from Pitzer Digital.