Now that's rural
The call came from Illinois. The caller said, "I´m tired of the big
city, tired of the rat race. Would you send me some information about
the small towns you have on your web site?" It made Nicole Godek´s
day, for this was the first call she had in response to her brand new
site on the World Wide Web which promotes small town America. That´s
the subject of today´s Kansas Profile.
Nicole Godek is the founder and creator of a new Web site,
Nicole is a native of Grainfield, Kansas. She studied graphic design
at K-State and embarked on a career that took her to Nebraska,
California, and Colorado. After working in the print field, she
started working in Web site design and then founded her own web
design business in 2002. She called it StirStick Studio because it
mixes design and communication. More information can be found at
By 2007, she and her husband had a young family and they moved back
to her hometown of Grainfield. They now own the grocery store in
Grainfield, and Nicole continues to operate stirstick.com. Then
something happened which sparked a whole new line of thought.
Nicole said, "We wanted to redo a room in our house, so I did a
Google search for a contractor just like I would have done in the
city. But hardly any of our local contractors came up, and I realized
they weren´t online." Not only did the local businesses not come up
on the Internet, the rural communities in her region were not well-
Nicole said, "I thought to myself, how can I get my small town back
on the map and give back to a community that has been so gracious to
us? The people here in Grainfield are excited about the school and
the town. I figured we could use the web to share this excitement
That was the beginning of Nicole´s initiative to promote rural
communities and businesses online. She created a website,
This was a natural extension of Nicole´s existing business in print
and web design and new media. She already has clients as far away as
California and Florida.
Nicole said the goals of lovesmalltownAmerica.com are two-fold: One,
to provide a site where small town businesses and organizations can
expand and reach an online market affordably, and second, to provide
families and businesses looking to relocate with a comprehensive
resource to find the right fit for them.
Nicole said, "We offer the Web site as a service for the communities
and businesses. Because many of them are unfamiliar with the Web, we
do the writing and updating so it is as easy for them as possible.
We also do search engine optimization."
First, Nicole approached the city council in her home town of
Grainfield. After they signed on to the service, she started
expanding the scope of communities and businesses. Her Web site
features truly rural communities such as the town of Park, Kansas,
population 148 people. Now, that´s rural.
Nicole is passionate about small town America. She hopes others will
come to small communities and bring their businesses with them. Her
feelings were brought home, so to speak, when she and her husband
moved back to her hometown. Nicole said, "We have more house here
than we had in Colorado for much less than half the price."
But beyond the economic factors, Nicole said, "The atmosphere was
different than the big city we had moved from. People welcomed us
with open arms, there was real one-on-one interaction at the schools
for my kids, real estate was inexpensive and there was an authentic
community spirit that lived among everyone."
The call came from Illinois. Someone had visited Nicole´s Web site,
www.lovesmalltownAmerica.com, and was calling to get more information
because they were tired of the big city rat race. It was an example
of utilizing the power of technology to promote rural communities.
We commend Nicole Godek for making a difference with her community
spirit, and for using the tools of technology to help rural
communities reach out to the world through the world wide web.
Ron Wilson is the director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.