2009 – The Fairbury City Council voted unanimously to grant $20,000 from the LB840 fund to TLC Creations, owned by Tammy Cleary of Fairbury. TLC Creations is an event planning and party supply outlet for Fairbury and the surrounding area.
TLC Creations began as a home-based business. Operations commenced in the basement, then moved into the garage behind home, where a small shop was set up for client consultations. The business experienced such growth just by word of mouth, that the small shop was no longer adequate to hold client meetings or to house inventory. Cleary wanted to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a full-service event planner and in order to do so, she contacted Main Street Consulting Group for assistance in taking her business to the next level. “Tammy came to me and expressed her desire to pursue her dream of becoming a full-service event planner. She needed a plan and financial assistance,” according to Julie Lambert, CMO.
With the help of the Rural Enterprise Assistance Program (REAP), Southeast Nebraska Development District, the City of Fairbury and a private investor, Lambert engineered a plan utilizing a combination of low-interest loans and grant money in order to carry out the expansion plans. A total of $45,000 was pledged by the participating partners to enable TLC to purchase a storefront on the north side of the Square in downtown Fairbury, plus rental equipment and inventory. The expansion will create at least one new full time job and breathe new life into a storefront that has stood empty for many years.
REAP is Nebraska’s largest microenterprise program and operates on a statewide, rural basis through regionally based Business Specialists. REAP helps fill four gaps for small businesses: Lending, Training, Networking, and Technical Assistance through peer and individual memberships. In addition to the four core components, REAP operates Nebraska’s first and only Women’s Business Center. For more information contact Janelle Moran, REAP Business Specialist at (402) 335-3675.
Legislative Bill 840 was passed to create the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act. An amendment to the Nebraska Constitution paved the way for LB840 legislation. With voter approval of a local economic development plan and specifically defined tax revenues, municipalities are allowed to use these public funds for economic development purposes not otherwise allowed by statute, i.e., loans, grants, purchase of land and development of industrial sites, etc. Fairbury voters approved their plan in 1998 and the tax that funds it. LB840 is used to improve local job opportunities and expand the tax base. It is needed to remain competitive with communities in other states that have similar authority for economic development. LB840 allows a community to have more control of its future by targeting how the economic development funds are spent through the voter approved plan. Fairbury’s LB840 economic development plans has performance requirements and a nine-step application process.