Columbus business tour celebrates diversity of locally owned businesses

Pages from Columbus Business Tour Flyer 10-10-2013An article in Thursday’s Columbus Telegram highlighted a recent small-business tour that invited residents to get to know some of the diverse local businesses that help Columbus’ community thrive.

From the article:

“From long-standing businesses to newly opened stores, a tour through Columbus showcased a diversity among establishments in the city.

A group of about 20 people went on the Discover Columbus tour held Tuesday evening. They were driven to eight local businesses where they met with the owners and learned a bit about the background of each.”

On a crisp fall evening, a diverse group of participants toured local establishments offering everything from photography to tax preparation and massage therapy to unique boutiques “Sometimes it can be hard to walk in a new store for the very first time,” said Christa Yoakum, coordinator of Nebraska Is Home. “This was a fun way for friends to visit some new establishments together — particularly cross-culturally –and for business owners to chat with community members about what they offer.”

Participants commented that they wanted to do it again and even suggested a few businesses they were curious about for a future tour. Several people said they had been curious about new businesses but felt uncomfortable about going in a first time. Many also expressed delight in knowing services available locally at good rates. Guests and business owners connected through stories of the business owners.

Maria Davila, owner of Servicios En General, and Eduardo and Mary Morales, owners of Venemex Video and Photography, described developing their businesses in response to seeing a need in the community or being asked for their services by community members. Davila and Jerry Morales, owners of First Class Auto Detailing, also said they were looking for business opportunities that fit with raising their families.

Future tours are being planned for Columbus, and Lincoln community members who heard about the Columbus event expressed interest in creating a similar tour in Lincoln.

Businesses toured in this first Columbus tour included: El Tapitio, Servicios en General, Venemex Photography and Videography, Mother Nature’s Emporium, Fabulous Forever, Lavender Thyme, First Class Auto Detailing, and Kay’s Place for Massage Therapy. The tour was co-hosted by Connect Columbus, United Way of Columbus, Centro Hispano, Central Community College, Center for Rural Affairs, REAP (Rural Enterprise Assistance Program), Nebraska Is Home, and Nebraska Appleseed.

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