Katy Kassian owns local gift shop Buffalo Gals Mercantile in Regan, North Dakota.

Name: Katy Kassian

City/Town: Regan, North Dakota

Where else can we connect with you online?

Facebook: www.facebook.com/buffalogalsmercantile 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/BGMercantile 

Website: www.buffalogalsmercantile.com

Who is your community?

My community is diverse. Friends, my country neighbors and church.

Give us a behind-the-scenes look at your average day.

Up early to cook breakfast for the hubby, usual assortment of farm chores- chicken wrangling, looking after the cows, tractor jockey- whatever is needed that day. Then some time for my business-creating custom sewn items or baking biscotti. Phone calls to various people to see what’s new in small business, finding information for others who ask my help, extensive gardening/canning (we put up over 80% of what we eat), a little downtime on the front porch rockers, a little reading time, some hubby time.

What challenge in your life or work are you most interested in overcoming?

First, I am most interested in reminding rural communities that the dream is still possible. To get past the ‘old guard’ and open up opportunities to people who want to try.  Secondly, I would like to get past hubby’s objections to an onsite store/shop right here on the farm.

If you could do any job, what would you do and why?

I would be a small town/rural community business ambassador. Shouting the possibilities from the roof tops and finding out what the different communities have and what they want to bring in and sharing the word with entrepreneurs, along with involving the youth (HS level) because they will be the future.

What is the most beneficial aspect of living in the OTA region when it comes to your career?

The incredible network of people I have developed. Our area is so rich in history and ideas and Can Do attitude. Anything I may need to know or need to get my hands on, all I have to do is put the word out and somebody will know who or where.

At what intersection do you live your life?

I live at the intersection of way out there and no is just a word.

Where do you think good ideas come from?

Everywhere and nowhere. From the heart and from experience and need.

What’s one current trend you think will change the world?

The way we farm. They are becoming more technologically advanced and able to produce more with less (when Mother Nature cooperates).

What’s the best way to put inspiration into action?

By just doing.

What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken?

Bucking the status quo in our community. It drives hubby crazy that I actually voice my opinion at the risk of being socially ostracized and then some.

What’s your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?

There’s been so many!  I would say leasing our restaurant to someone who treated it worse than bad rental house tenants and not being able to recoup. I learned that it would have better to sell the building outright.

Who do you hope to leave a legacy for?

My kids and their kids. That anything can be done.

Who is the most connected person in your life, and what personal characteristics make him or her so well-connected?

That would have been my dad. He knew everyone (literally) everywhere.  He was very outgoing, dedicated to making life better, hard working and had a way of making you talk about yourself and always kept notes on who had what and where so that whenever anyone asked, he had the answer.

Who is the most creative person in your life, and why?

Linda Stuhlmiller- my ex mum in law and one of my best friends. She’s the woman who could take a toothpick and a pocket knife and build you a castle in the woods complete with décor.

Who is the most community-focused person in your life, and how do they impact their communities?

Jo Kahlifa- owner of MoJo Roast Coffee in Westhope, ND.  “Make a footprint, make a difference” is her motto. Every bean she roasts comes from Fair Trade farms and she actively supports the Café Feminino foundation as well as women’s causes in the community, Annies House, is mentor to a number of small biz owners, and champions small business wherever she can.

What passion project are you working on right now?

To show people of all ages in rural areas that, YES, you can be part of your nearest communities without actually having to live in town. Living in a very small community or in the country has its own added challenges. 😉

I hope to galvanize the people of Regan, Wilton and Mercer into action before the people who want to make a difference get tired of the fight, and give up. And to show that all ideas have relevance and that nearly anyone, anywhere, can do business and make a difference.
In their own life.
In the nearest community.
In the lives of others.

From a young age, I have always had “bright ideas” and knew how to connect people with what and who they needed. I am a listener and a watcher. I am not afraid to be the bad guy when needed. Saying out loud what others won’t (because ABC won’t like me anymore…) has never bothered me. I continually attend start-up, business, downtown, community meetings. Why? simple. Knowledge is power. And some how, in some way, what I know may make a difference to someone else. When an obstacle is in the way, I can usually find a way around it, when I want to.