Striving for self-sufficiency: For a town of 305, Stapleton has much to offer

The Veterans Club in Stapleton is a central meeting point for many people throughout the Sandhills community of 305 people.

The town of 305 residents needs a few things, but it is still pretty much self-sufficient.

Stapleton sits about 30 miles north of North Platte, and just a half-mile west of the junction of Nebraska state highways 83 and 92 in Logan County.

“We have 54 Chamber members in a small town and they all, no matter what we need, we get it from them,” said Cindy Frey, who owns several businesses along with her husband Steve. “We’re a very active community.”

Frey, Marcia Hora and newcomer Stacey Anderson believe the community has a lot to offer.

“For a town of 305 people, when you think about it, we have a grocery store, a hardware store, a propane business. We have a print shop, we have a newspaper, we have two boutiques, we have the Vet’s Club, we have a restaurant, we have a bank, we have the courthouse, we have an accountant, we have a remodeled Community Center — through grants and fundraisers. We did that ourselves,” Hora said.

There is a gym that is open 24/7 and a new massage therapist, as well as a new antique store that opened recently.

“We are working to be totally self-sufficient,” Hora said.

Hora owns Creative Printers and The Stapleton Enterprise, the town newspaper.

“I was not born and raised here,” Hora said. “My husband and I got married in 1973 and moved to Ringgold to work on a ranch. I needed a job so then I started working at Creative Printers at the newspaper in 1976.”

Hora purchased the business in 2016 because she felt it very important for the community to have a newspaper.

Anderson is the village clerk, and she and her husband, Eric, moved to Stapleton in June.

“I’d never been to Stapleton and came here for the first time in my life in June,” Anderson said. “My husband got promoted from a ranch in Hyannis to a ranch here to manage it, so I came along.”

Anderson has been in the medical field for more than 20 years and the couple has a 10-year-old. She said her first impressions of Stapleton sold her on the town.

“Amazing — the community is so warm and welcoming,” Anderson said. “Cindy Frey was one of the first people I met. She’s my go-to person. Then I met Marcia.

“You go into the store and it’s like everybody knows you.”

She said everyone calls her by her first name.

“We got involved in a church and it wasn’t like we were the newcomers,” Anderson said. “Our son loves the school.”

Frey was born and raised in Stapleton.

“What keeps me here are my businesses and the small community,” Frey said. “Our youngest is developmentally slow and this town is her guardian angel.

“They’ve watched over her, they make sure she is where she is supposed to be.”

Steve and Cindy purchased Frey’s General Store in 1979.

“That was the year we got married, and I guess we just never thought to leave,” Cindy Frey said. “I’m not a big city person. North Platte even overwhelms me.”

Steve runs and manages Frey’s General Store and Frey’s Propane.

“We’re pretty self-sufficient here,” Cindy Frey said. “All we need is a doctor, dentist and a pharmacy.”

And of course, all three ladies said — a salon.

“I think if you live in a small town it’s like a family,” Hora said. “Our school is a Blue Ribbon elementary school.”

Hora said there are 203 students enrolled in the school this year.

“From a 10-year-old’s perspective, lunch is amazing,” Anderson said with a laugh. “The teachers are outstanding, but the lunch is amazing.”

With small town businesses faced with competition from online shopping, Frey said there are a lot of reasons folks still shop at their businesses.

“I think it’s Steve mainly, but it’s also when the guys break down in the field, they’re not going to stop and go to Menards,” Frey said. “We’re a convenience store of hardware.”

She said the propane business keeps them going.

“Steve can do hydraulic hoses, we’ve got roller chain,” Frey said. “Our motto is ‘if we don’t have it, you don’t need it.’”

Anderson also works with her husband on the ranch.

“We have a huge ranch and this is so convenient,” Anderson said. “I don’t want to go all the way to North Platte, I want to come in here.

“If we’re in a hurry, if something’s broke, Steve and Cindy are on it. They’ll fix that hose right there.”

The general store usually has everything they need, Anderson said.

“So if I have to pay a couple of dollars more, that is worth it to me to come in here to see them, get it instead of having to go all the way to North Platte and back to the ranch.”

She said it’s convenient.

“We want to give them the business,” Anderson said. “If we’re going to live in this community we want to support it.”

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