A Business Woman Who Advocates For Community And Education
A wife, mother and community leader. That's who Carrie Pitzer is.
With integrity, honesty and hard work, Carrie has built a flourishing business in Neligh, Nebraska, that has no boundaries. As founder and president of the marketing and media firm Pitzer Digital LLC, she embraces technology, studies analytics and labors over ways to always meet her companies mission statement: Helping Small Businesses Succeed Is Our Business.
Carrie, age 38, lives near Oakdale with her husband, Wade, and daughters Shelby and Isabelle. Wade is a 1996 graduate of Neligh-Oakdale and Carrie graduated from Orchard in 1997. Both daughters attend Neligh-Oakdale.
All of the family is active in community and school events, from pancake feeds and parades to town hall meetings. Carrie and Wade are advocates for community involvement and are instilling that same belief in their children.
Carrie is a natural leader at every level. As a chair of the Norfolk Area Relay For Life, she helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research, education and patient programs. She's active on many educational boards in her community and was one of, if not the, youngest school board presidents in Nebraska.
At a community level, she's active in both business and economic development. From chamber leadership to city revitalization, she listens to the community and helps develop ways to incorporate their needs into fruition.
A Personal Look
Carrie is a longtime resident of Antelope County. Raised on a hog and dairy farm between Orchard and Royal, she is a 1997 graduate of Orchard Public School. Between school and extra-curricular activities, Carrie also balanced working at Morrison Farms, the Royal One Stop and Bill's Mr. G's in Plainview.
Carrie learned early that it takes hard work and commitment to achieve your goals. It came first-hand while milking cows, working on the microwave popcorn line and making sub sandwiches at the gas station.
With an academic scholarship, Carrie earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Midland Lutheran College in December 2000, having graduated a semester early and with honors. Carrie received the prestigious Society of Collegiate Journalists medal of merit as a mere sophomore and became one of the youngest Midland publication editors at age 19. During that time, she wrote for multiple daily and weekly newspapers, as well as freelanced for several magazines.
In her third year of college, Carrie accepted a full-time position at the Norfolk Daily News and balanced a commute to Fremont while finishing her degree. She earned numerous awards for writing, photography and design while at the Daily News, including the 2003 Associated Press Sports Column of the Year.
In 2005, the Pitzers bought land west of Oakdale, built a home and returned to Antelope County to raise their family. Carrie continued to commute to Norfolk until 2012. The next year, Carrie launched Pitzer Digital.
She is an advocate for community and economic development and is not only an officer on the Neligh Chamber of Commerce, but also serves on several committees for the chamber and City of Neligh. Her business was the first to receive an economic development loan in Neligh and also utilized the Downtown Revitalization Grant Program. She's also a member of the Oakdale United Methodist Church.
A Professional Look
Started as a part-time venture in the guest room of her home, Pitzer Digital has grown to have a storefront and employs 14 people, including 11 full-time positions, to create a huge economic impact in Antelope County. The media division has gained statewide attention having just been named the Laurel Johnson Community Sweepstakes winner by the Nebraska Press Association, signifying it as the top weekly newspaper in Nebraska — of all sizes.
While Carrie started Pitzer Digital as a part-time job in marketing — specifically website development and graphic design — it became a full-time gig within 2 weeks as she brought a much-needed technology boost to the area by providing businesses with a strong online presence to even the playing field as rural-based businesses compete with urban areas. Carrie’s SEO knowledge, combined with her marketing savy, proved to be a huge asset for businesses. Pitzer Digital built more than 100 websites within its first 18 months of business. Most were in Nebraska, but there were all sites for businesses in Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri.
Within three months of starting Pitzer Digital, Carrie hired her first part-time employee, Jenny Higgins, who is still with the company today. By the fourth month, Pitzer Digital hired its second part-time employee and began looking for a storefront. In January 2014, Pitzer Digital took a huge leap and expanded to include a media division by launching the Antelope County News (ACN) as a digital media since both Carrie and Jenny have vast media experience and bachelor of journalism degrees. The response was incredible as the Antelope County has since become the dominant media in the county in both digital and print (they purchased their first newspaper in Feb. 2016 and now own two newspapers and a magazine). Last year, the ACN website received more than 15 million pageviews, which makes it one of the top media websites in all of Northeast Nebraska — not just Antelope County. Their Facebook page has almost 10,000 followers (nearly double of any other weekly newspaper in the state), which is incredible for a county with just 6,500 households. Comparing it to other Northeast Nebraska media that cover multiple counties, the ACN’s numbers are incredible. Their social media engagement is also one of the highest in the state of all media. Carrie likes to say she’s using old-fashioned journalism in a high-tech manner. Clearly, it’s working, which leads to their success, as well as the success of other businesses that utilize the website for marketing. It also promotes great events and stories in Antelope County. The success of ACN led to Pitzer Digitial creating similar online sites for Knox, Holt and Boone Counties.
But Pitzer Digital didn’t stop by launching the media division. They opened their first storefront in August 2014 and became the first business in Neligh to receive an LB 840 loan. About a year later, they expanded their video capabilities by putting in a studio in a building across the alley. The video coverage was a huge draw for the company for media and marketing, but with more employees coming on to the company, they had to add more desks to that building and shrink the studio. Basically, they outgrew two buildings within a couple of years and desperately needed a much larger building. So in October 2017, Pitzer Digital purchased a different building on Main Street that was large enough for everything, including a video studio. They utilized a grant through Neligh’s Downtown Revitalization Program to assist with the project that increased their storefront size more than 20 times. The building was formerly a clothing store, so the purchase included the embroidery business, which added to what Pitzer Digital offers for it marketing division. They have retail Neligh was lacking with clothing and office supplies, including SD cards, flash drives, paper, envelopes and more.
Carrie’s husband, Wade, joined the company as advertising director in April 2015 and the couple became fully invested in Pitzer Digital. As the company grew, they continued to expand. In Feb. 2016, they purchased The Orchard News, which was Carrie’s hometown newspaper. It had a mere 317 subscribers. They expanded the coverage and transformed it into a county-wide newspaper of Antelope County News/Orchard News. Between subscribers and over the counter sales, the newspaper is now at 1,209, making it the fastest-growing community weekly newspaper in the state. As mentioned earlier, it was recognized as the top weekly newspaper in the state in April as well.
With their love of print journalism, Pitzer Digital purchased Living Here magazine in June 2017 and moved the Northeast Nebraska/Southeast South Dakota magazine from Yankton to Neligh. They then purchased the Bloomfield Monitor in October 2017 and transformed it to the Bloomfield Monitor/Knox County News with the same philosophies as the Antelope County News newspaper. It has also been very well received as a county-wide newspaper. With the purchase in Bloomfield, Pitzer Digital dramatically expanded its printing services as the purchase included a print shop. The can locally print carbonless forms, envelopes and much more.
This is a business that began five years ago in Carrie Pitzer’s guest room and now has a huge storefront in downtown Neligh. There are 14 people employed at this startup who are making local purchases, raising families locally and volunteering in their communities. This business also succeeds by helping other businesses succeed. Their motto is that — Helping Small Businesses Succeed Is Our Business.
Organizations Past & Present