Growing Sarpy County Competes By Thinking Small

Competition is all around and more is on the way. Small businesses in Sarpy County are counting on that personal touch to keep up with economic growth in the area.

Sarpy County is one of the fastest growing counties in Nebraska. There’s lots of economic development and more is on the way with the development of an outlet mall near Gretna. But most of this growth is coming in new areas or the suburbs. So how are small businesses in Sarpy County cities competing with everything that’s going on around them?

“For the outlet mall, they're offering product at a discounted price. It might not be the same thing I have.” Kim Ahlers has owned and managed a small boutique in downtown Papillion for almost seven years and says personal service keeps her business alive and her customers agree.

“I love this store because of the personal service,” said customer Amy Schmid. “They carry great brands. I can call Kim if she has it. I love this store because of the personal service, like at boutiques.”

With more competition on the way, Ahlers doesn’t seem to be worried, saying there’s a feel in downtown Papillion that you can’t get at bigger stores or large malls.

“Papillion has a great little section with downtown. We have that small town feel here. Right now 80 percent of my business comes out of midtown Omaha, West O, Millard and Bennington, people who come in love the small town feel and love the quiet little store.”

Ahlers is hoping that small town feel continues to draw customers despite the temptation of big, brand new and discounted things to come.

Papillion hopes a new town plaza will also help business in the area. Construction should be finished by May.

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