Hornady Manufacturing is the 2018 Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation’s Business of the Year.
Hornady Manufacturing received the honor Wednesday at the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corp. annual meeting.
Hornady Manufacturing Company is a family-owned business headquartered in Grand Island. Steve and Jason Hornady lead the company, which is a world leader in manufacturing bullets, ammunition, security products, reloading tools and accessory designs.
Dave Taylor, GIAEDC president, said Hornady has “changed the bullet manufacturing industry.”
“Their innovative products are highly sought after — not only in the United States, but in the global market,” Taylor said.
Hornady Manufacturing started in 1949 in Grand Island. Joyce Hornady, Steve Hornady’s father, started the company. Jason Hornady is Steve’s son.
Steve Hornady said his father started the business with a vision of manufacturing the best ammunition on the market for consumers.
“What we do here is make bullets and ammunition,” Hornady said. “That is what we do — period — and we are very good at it.”
He said the company’s mission is to develop, build and deliver to its customers a “quality product that they could rely on for recreational shooting.”
In a video presentation, Jason Hornady said that “as a company, we strive to be easy to do business with, responsible partners in our industry and responsible partners in our community.”
He said they want to be the “best employer and treat our employees as well as possible to make sure that everybody continues to thrive.”
“We are committed to Grand Island, and we will be here forever,” Steve Hornady said.
In receiving the award, he thanked the GIAEDC. He said his company and other Grand Island employers are “struggling to find qualified help to get more people to come to work.”
The community has low unemployment. Hornady said there is also a housing shortage that is impacting the community.
He said he is part of a group that is “trying to figure out how to grow Grand Island.”
“One of the things we hit over and over again is our housing shortage,” Hornady said. “It takes an investment by the governmental entities to partner with private enterprise to build more housing. We can’t grow if we can’t get more people because they can’t get a place to live.”
Hornady Manufacturing received LB840 job incentive funds in 2010.
It is building a new addition to its operation at the former U.S. Army Cornhusker Ammunition Plant west of Grand Island.
“We are in the process of building a 150,000-square-foot facility out there that will open in August,” Hornady said. “But, without the EDC helping us, we would have never been able to get that land and be able to build that facility.”
He said it is an honor to have the local community recognize his family’s business.
“It is deeply appreciated that your community says, ‘Thank you. We are glad you are here,’” Hornady said.
Keynote speaker for the annual meeting was Norm Krug, owner and founder of Preferred Popcorn of Chapman.
Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, Preferred Popcorn has grown to three locations and more than 80 employees. The company will be opening a new processing center at its Chapman headquarters that will double its production capacity this summer.
Krug said the company’s mission statement is: “We strive to honor God by producing high-quality products and serving customers with integrity.”
“Our motto is that we are large enough to meet your needs but small enough to care,” he said. “It expresses why we have been successful in what we do.”
In telling the company’s story, Krug said Preferred Popcorn was “forced into the export market because nobody knew about us.”
The company now serves customers in 70 countries around the world.
Krug was a family farmer when he and friends started the business. His family has grown popcorn on the family farm for more than 40 years.
He remembers the influence his father had on him.
“He would come home and pop popcorn after a hard day on the farm,” Krug said. “That is where the vision started. He would add flavors to this wholesome grain that we raise in Nebraska and have some fun with it at the same time.”
There were four points that he wanted to audience to take away from his speech.
— Remain positive.
— There are great people all over the globe.
— Expect problems and continue to face them.
— Look where God is working and join him there.
Krug said the popcorn business is more sophisticated now than 20 years ago.
He said it is essential to embrace technological change, but to “hold on to what is valuable and to the roots that anchored your original business.”
Faith is also an essential component of Preferred Popcorn’s success.
“We don’t spend any time on our board talking about who is the greatest among us because we want to make sure that we give all the glory for any success we have had to the Lord because we know that is where it comes from,” Krug said.
For any business, he said, there are always ups and downs in the business cycle, but faith is the anchor that provides the stability of purpose.
“We can be bold in what we believe,” Krug said. “There are days when it is not good. There are days when it is not profitable. However, you don’t want your daily vision to be ruled on by that one bad day. There are a lot of tough days in life, and you have to have a longer-term vision.”