Entrepreneurs in Pottawattamie County will soon benefit from a resource hub and co-working place under development by Advance Southwest Iowa.
Google announced a $250,000 grant Tuesday — as part of a larger announcement that the company is investing $350 million more in its Council Bluffs data center — to Advance Southwest Iowa to build out the hub, which has been in the planning stage for years.
Paula Hazlewood, CEO of Advance Southwest Iowa, said Google is providing the seed funding for the project.
"This is going to get us off the ground," Hazlewod said.
Wednesday was a warm day for a cool occasion as one of Council Bluffs’ newest businesses officially opened its doors to the community.
IceCap Cold Storage celebrated the first phase completion of its first state of the art cold storage facility with a ribbon cutting ceremony outside the building, complete with a playlist of cold-themed songs, including Springsteen’s “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” and Vanilla Ice’s eponymous “Ice Ice Baby.”
COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA (Dec. 8) – Advance Southwest Iowa Corporation announced today that it is joining forces with NewBoCo of Cedar Rapids as part of a growing Community Partners Pilot Program.
NewBoCo is collaborating with economic development organizations in communities around Iowa to help fill gaps in their local entrepreneurial ecosystem. The goal is to combine NewBoCo programming, resources, and knowledge with each local community’s experience, partnerships, and resources.
“We believe that in order for a community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to thrive, it needs to have strong programs supporting entrepreneurs, tech education, and innovation,” says NewBoCo Executive Director Aaron Horn. “We believe that Advance Southwest Iowa is an ideal partner for us.”
On Tuesday, November 1st, TS Bank, Advance Southwest Iowa, and several community partners hosted the 2022 rendition of the REV Pitch Competition. The event was held at PACE in Council Bluffs and small business owners pitched for the chance to win $14,000 to grow and scale their businesses. This year’s winners include Nesting Grounds at $10,000 and Fermented Felon at $4,000. Nesting Grounds is a female-owned business in Underwood and Fermented Felon is based in Bellevue. ...
Paula Hazlewood, Executive Director of ASWIC provides her opinion on the effect of local technology innovators with recently-introduced antitrust bills. "A common misconception is that data centers don't invest and give back to the communities/states in which they are located. Google supports countless initiatives and not-for-profits through monetary and/or human capital." Continue to the full article on the Daily Nonpareil.
See the supporting Federal Press Release.
CyrusOne’s newest, fastest and most secure data center will open in America’s epicenter of data center and telecommunications investment, but it’s not Silicon Valley. It’s in the “Silicon Prairie,” thanks to the Civil War, politics and the transcontinental railroad.
The first phase of our 60,000-square-foot data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, will open in fall 2020 and offer Hybrid Cloud solutions for customers’ data needs. By 2021, it will be fully open and offer 24 MW of power.
Council Bluffs will join CyrusOne’s nearly 50 data centers and will provide customers with unparalleled access to high bandwidth with close proximity to some of the world’s largest cloud companies empowering enterprise customers in their Hybrid Cloud journey with low-latency cloud connectivity.
Just across the river from Omaha, only moments away from Downtown, are the 65,000 people of Council Bluffs. Between the Bluffs and Downtown Omaha is the mighty Missouri River. But there’s more than just the river that stands between the two cities. For a long time now, there have been stigmas and assumptions that separate the cities.
Entrepreneurs, though, should be careful not to overlook Council Bluffs. The area has a lot to offer, and its leadership is ready and able to support and nurture new companies.
What makes Council Bluffs unique for startups? A lot says Niki Ferguson, who works as the Manager of Entrepreneurial Development at Advance Southwest Iowa Corporation. “Some great things are happening on the east side of the river,”...
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is a beginning for a business that’s opening or expanding in the community. But those celebratory events also represent the culmination of behind-the-scene efforts by business owners, economic development experts, government agencies, elected officials and many others.
Advance Southwest Iowa Corp. is a leader in cultivating Pottawattamie County’s economy, offering a one-stop destination for businesses looking to hang a shingle in Council Bluffs or one of the county’s other 13 cities.
The agency helps businesses navigate regulations, apply for incentives, evaluate sites, connect with partners and otherwise keep the process going to open their doors to customers. ...
With all of the chaos and unknowns that the pandemic brought to 2020, you may not have even given a second thought to Madness Haunted House not running during Halloween. Truth be told, the pandemic wasn’t the reason for a hauntless 2020 in Council Bluffs. When the former Mall of the Bluffs was sold in 2019, like other tenants of the mall, Bryon Beins, owner of Madness Haunted House, found himself looking for a feasible replacement location for his business.
Obviously, a haunted house isn’t a traditional business; from parking and noise concerns, to distinct safety requirements and fire codes (not-to-mention being seasonal), finding a new building for Madness in Council Bluffs went well beyond lease terms and square footage requirements. With thinking as unconventional as the business model, the Beinses were eventually able to come up with an atypical solution - COLLABORATION.
A partnership and co-location at Pioneer Trail Orchard Winery, Bar, Grill, & Pumpkin Patch would end up being what ensured that the celebrated Madness Haunted House would be back – bigger, better, and scarier than ever – for a 2021 haunt!
Advance was able to chat with both businesses for a synergetic edition of Founder Focus – Madness Haunted House & Pioneer Trail Orchard.
Q. When did you first open Madness for the first season?
A. 2012 Home haunt, 2015 Commercially
Q. Why a haunted house?
A. Honestly, it was so different from anything I have ever done before.
Q. When you did decide to start Madness Haunted House, how long did it take from concept to launch?
A. I didn’t come up with the concept, my former business partner did. He operated it out of his driveway for 3 years before it went commercial. When he wanted to make it an actual business, he sought me out to help him. Moving this from concept to a legit business was hard and took a lot of effort but I would say that change took about 2 years.
Q. What's your favorite scary movie?
A. In the Mouth of Madness
Q. What scares you?
A. The unknown
Q. What do you love most about haunted houses?
A. The construction of sets, hidden doors and hidden scares
Q. Why CB? What do you love about Council Bluffs and/or Pott County?
A. I was skeptical at first if the concept would work in CB, but after spending time with our team (mostly based out of CB) and our growing fan base, well I was very sure that we were a welcome addition to the community.
Q. You originally housed the haunt in 5000 square feet at Mall of the Bluffs, which seemed to be a perfect arrangement at the time. After the sale of the mall, you were forced to halt the 2020 haunt. As bad as that sale initially seemed, knowing what 2020 brought with the pandemic, do you feel now that the timing may have been somewhat serendipitous?
A. Good point! We probably would not have run in 2020 looking back. Attendance would have been too soft to justify it. I am a strong believer in karma and everything happens for a reason. Honestly, I feel blessed. On our business plan, we were on schedule to either expand at the mall in 2022 or move locations. So, this just moved our time table up by a bit. Like a higher power just said well your plan is good but I think we can move your time table up a bit. So, we adapted.
Q. Finding a suitable location for a haunt, taking in account requirements of square footage, parking, sprinklers, lease terms, etc. proved to be a difficult task and incredibly frustrating at times, what kept you going?
A. Honestly, I was about to give up. Seemed like every place in CB that we were interested in had some sort of catch involved. Parking, city regulations, outdated wiring, etc. Seemed like the rug kept being pulled from right under us. It hurt. So yeah, I was about to give up. I don’t need the money, I have a great career and have accomplished a lot of goals in my life and I can always invest in another business venture. But my team... my staff… What would they do? I don’t do this for the money, it’s just not a driver for me. I do it for my team and for our fans. I believe here at Madness we have created the most talented and committed team at any haunted house. The environment here is a family. Some of these local kids have been with us since the start and are now adults, kids that just joined will be adults years down the way, other actors from other haunts have gravitated towards us to join. What kept me going? It was that team, I promised them I would never give up on them or Madness. I always keep my word and here we are. Being a person of your word isn’t always convenient but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Q. The collaboration with Pioneer Trail Orchard seems like a perfect fit, how did that come about?
A. Funny thing about that, it happened because it was meant to happen. We were out of options that made sense at the time on the Iowa side and then out of the blue, one of my staff members mentioned Pioneer Trail to me. I thought what the heck, let’s give it a shot. One phone call and several meetings later, we had a partnership. As for Prefect fit, I would have to agree. Not only are the Hemples great people, the environment will allow us to design and craft a show that will be nothing like any one has seen in the metro area. All at the best value around. Win/win. We are so excited to blow people’s minds in 2021 with this show!
Q. A question to both of you, what would you say to other businesses considering partnerships or shared locations?
A. Partnerships can help reduce costs by sharing resources and gain by pooling customer contacts and co-advertising.
Q. As far as your businesses, what are you looking forward to most after the pandemic? What's on the horizon?
A. Our businesses both depend on customers heading out to publicly socialize and have fun, so with everything opening back up we can get back to work and provide our forms of entertainment as we did prior to the pandemic.
Q. Brag about yourself - talk about Pioneer Trail Orchard
A. Pioneer Trail Orchard Winery & Grill and Pumpkin Patch has been offering family fun for 25yrs. With Madness Haunted Farm now operating our haunted facilities, our customers now have it all. Haunted entertainment, hay rack rides, bonfire parties, delicious food and drinks, wine from Prairie Crossing Winery & beer as well as occasional live bands & comedy on Saturday nights.
Q. Is there anything people don't know about the Orchard or its offerings?
A. It’s a family operation and business. We opened in 1995 and are now into our 26th year of operations.
Q. This seems like a perfect fit, bringing an expanded haunted house to your orchard. Did you have any reservations about partnering with Madness Haunted House for a location?
A. Haunted Madness is a perfect match with Pioneer Trail Orchard. We've always offered a Haunted House attraction, but the focus has been a less scary approach. We feel Madness's expanded enhancement will be an exciting change but also make it possible for Madness to stay in Council Bluffs since the Mall is no longer available for them. As for families with younger kids, we will still be offering the play area, corn maze and more as well as pumpkins and apples to pick each fall. The goal is to still provide fun for the whole family the best we are able.
Both Madness Haunted House and Pioneer Trail Orchard are assets to the livability of the community. Congratulations on a great collaboration! Stay up to date on openings and events at both destinations by following their social media pages.
To say 2020 has been unprecedented is an understatement. We’ve had to adjust to a new normal – changing the way we work, teach, socialize, eat, and shop, virtually everything! So far, in spite of everything, our communities have persevered. On the flip side, safety mandates, closures, and social distancing guidelines not only changed the way we live, but has tested the lifeblood of our economy - our small businesses. Their resiliency and ability to pivot has been incredible and should be celebrated!
Small Business Saturday has always been a great reminder of the importance of supporting local, this year, we at Advance Southwest Iowa Corporation + LaUNch want to highlight what you’re really buying when you shop small!
§ When you buy local, you help grow your local economy.
-Small businesses generate $68 of local economic return for every $100 spent with them. (1)
§ You’re supporting community organizations.
-Small businesses donate 250% more to community causes. (2)
§ You reduce your carbon footprint.
§ You’re supporting your neighbors.
§ Small businesses create a sense of community.
§ Small businesses are what make our community unique
§ Locally sourced foods taste better.
§ Local owners appreciate you more!
Nationally, 60% of businesses forced to close during the pandemic, were never able to reopen.3 These closures hit main street the hardest, especially restaurants and retail. Fortunately, in our corner of Southwest Iowa, the rapid response from the state, support of organizations, and the way our community rallied around our small businesses, Pottawattamie County has fared better than other parts of the country. The struggle is not over and we need to continue to be diligent in our efforts to shop local, this year more than ever – think local and shop small.
For our entrepreneurs and small business owners, we want to help you in any way we can. On Monday, November 23rd and Tuesday, November 24th we will be out and about celebrating you with a social media blitz, (Social distanced and masked, of course)! If your business is planning any specials or sales for Small Business Saturday, or even if you just want to get a message to you customers – we want to know, and help get the word out! In addition to our Celebrate Small social media blitz, we will also be highlighting local Black Friday & Small Business Saturday plans on a Celebrate Small landing page – free! If you’re interested just sign up here!
1. fundera.com 2. Score.org 3. Yelp Economic Impact Report
When people think of entrepreneurship, visions of 20-somethings in repurposed loft-style offices coming up with the next tech innovation may come to mind. The reality is that entrepreneurship, according to Oxford, is simply, “a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so”. After more than 20 years in logistics and transportation, Rocky & Julie Luna of Pomodoro Fresh Italian took the entrepreneurial risk and leap of faith to turn their passion for cooking made-from-scratch comfort food into a business. The inspiration for a business plan can come from anywhere, for the Lunas that inspiration took the form of a pasta maker Julie purchased for Rocky as a Valentine’s Day gift five years ago. From there, one of the couple’s nine children requested a pasta bar for her graduation party, Rocky and Julie catered all the food for over 100 people and received enthusiastic reviews. Could this be their way to begin to cycle out of corporate life? Before too long, the Lunas were headed to Georgia to buy a food truck. Upon their return, the couple met with Revolution Wraps to plan logos & marketing, as well as meeting Holly Bensen-Muller at Kitchen Council(the Metro’s food incubator & commercial kitchen), as Julie said, “It took off from there”. In 2018 Pomodoro joined Kitchen Council, utilizing the commercial kitchen to prepare their scratch-made food, and the Pomodoro Fresh Italian food truck hit the road. Pomodoro focused on the smaller communities in Iowa and Nebraska, as well as at area wineries and craft breweries. Besides themselves, the Lunas staff their food truck events by hiring local residents from the communities they visit.
After some encouragement their neighbors, Kenny and Mary Petersen, who own a building, Julie and Rocky made the decision to open a brick and mortar location of Pomodoro in Council Bluffs. They spent the next six months acquiring equipment, mostly at auctions, and personalizing the restaurant at 722 Creek Top exactly how they wanted it. The tables are named after Iowa communities from Iowa City to Dubuque, and includes a community table (another awesome idea of Kenny and Mary), as well as libraries for both adults and kids. “We are excited to be able to welcome people to the restaurant, when the time is right, and serve our scratch-made, eclectic offering – we want to serve people like we serve our own family” – Julie Luna
Of course, when Pomodoro made the decision to open their brick and mortar location, they could have never foreseen what was to come with the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant opened on May 5th, although differently than as originally planned. The Lunas are following all CDC guidelines and taking all precautions to ensure the safety of their customers, but they also understand not everyone is ready to dine-in, so along with free delivery, the food truck is parked outside the restaurant (complete with plexiglass barriers) for to-go orders. Remember those food truck events at the breweries and wineries? Pomodoro loves to support local and features beer, wine, and ciders from Full Fledged Brewing, Sacrilegious Ciderworks, Rich Harvest Vineyard and Winery, and Breezy Hills Vineyard. With seven children still at home, including 1 vegetarian, 1 vegan and 1 on a gluten-free diet, the Lunas definitely appreciate the importance of dietary restrictions and offer gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, and even made-to-order keto options in addition to the daily specials and regular comfort foodmenu items.
Rocky grew up in Tennessee and Julie in North Dakota and finished her undergrad at Creighton, so why Council Bluffs? Julie says they saw great opportunity in Council Bluffs and love the small town feel and close-knit community that CB offers, adding, “The response in Council Bluffs and Iowa communities has really been amazing!”. While discussing the architecture, bridges, great food scene, and all the details that make Council Bluffs unlike anywhere else, Julie also praised the City of Council Bluffs, inspectors, and all parties involved in launching the restaurant, “They have all been so accommodating and responsive, it’s honestly unheard of and really been amazing”.
Thank you, Pomodoro for your investment in Pottawattamie County. Congratulations on your success and on the LaUNch of your brick and mortar restaurant! When asked about Pomodoro’s journey in Council Bluffs, Holly at the Kitchen Council said, “We're happy and excited for Pomodoro's next adventure in opening their very own brick and mortar restaurant in Council Bluffs. We're proud to see how their business has evolved over the last couple years from starting out at Kitchen Council as a food truck and caterer. They've established themselves in the community to be so much more and we wish them luck in this next chapter”. Support Pomodoro by checking out their extensive comfort-food menu online, follow them on social media, and of course, order soon! For current hours during COVID – check their Facebook & Instagram!
Talk about your background and your life.
I am a 2015 World Team Member, 2016 Olympian in the sport of wrestling, and an Entrepreneur thereafter. It all started with my move to the United States in 2006, at the age of sixteen. I didn't speak English, I knew only one person at the time (Curt Wahle), and I had no plans of staying, but it all changed when I met Trevor Carritt and Carol Carritt. Without them, I wouldn't be where I am at today. During the years, they've played the role of guardians, friends, coaches, mentors, support system, and anything in between. Thanks to them, I was able to learn the English language, graduate from Lewis Central High School, earn a full-ride scholarship to the University of Nebraska at Omaha... and later on to Boise State University after the wrestling program at UNO was ceased.
You moved away after graduating from Lewis Central and have since moved back, what brought you back or what do you love about Southwest Iowa?
Yes, after my graduation from Lewis Central, I accepted a full athletic scholarship to attend the University of Nebraska at Omaha. After three short years in Omaha, UNO made the decision to cease the wrestling and football programs, leaving me on the street. Fortunately, I received offers from multiple universities to continue my higher education and collegiate athletic career. I chose to finish my athletic career at Boise State University, where I earned a bachelor's degree in Business/Marketing and met my beautiful wife, Whitney Ivanova. Once I graduated, I received an offer to coach and attend graduate school at Maryville University in Saint Louis. I coached with the legendary coach Mike Denney, whom I wrestled for at the University of Nebraska at Omaha prior to my move to Idaho. The reason I moved back to Southwest Iowa after I received my Master's Degree was to get closer to what I call my American home, Crescent, IA, and to be closer to my American family. After all, I have a huge support system here and Southwest Iowa will forever have a special place in my heart.
What, to you personally, are your greatest accomplishments?
- Marrying my wife, Whitney Ivanova and having our son, Izyn Ivanov.
- Being very close to both of my families, Bulgarian and American.
- Becoming an Olympian and a World Team Member.
- Earning a Master's Degree in Strategic Communication and Leadership and a Bachelor's degree in Business/Marketing.
I know you have multiple projects and companies in the hopper, can you touch briefly on each one of those?
1. Zuptu - Team Management Reimagined. Trevor Carritt and I are business partners in this company. This software is extremely simple to use and is the perfect solution for any business or organization. Few of the benefits include, but not limited to are Task Assignments; Training and Compliance Tracking; Record Keeping; File Management; Data for Cloud-Based Storage; Project Analytics; Interactive Calendar; Email and Text Notifications; Reoccurring tasks, projects, and training reminders; etc. Zuptu is a HIPAA Compliant Software. Learn more at www.zuptu.com.
2. Top Tier Performance - Nutrition Company. With our signature product called GRIT, we target any endurance and combat athletes. GRIT is the only 3-stage formula on the market engineered for Pre-, Intra-, and Post-Workout results. Learn more at www.ttpnutrition.com.
3. The Best Wrestler - Founder of the Lightest Weigh-In Singlet in the World, the Feather Singlet™. In all international competitions for wrestling, wrestlers must weigh-in with a competition singlet. A regular singlet may weigh around half a pound, which means that wrestlers must be half a pound lighter than their weight class just so they can weigh-in with the singlet on. The Feather Singlet™ changes that since it weighs only 0.1 lbs. Learn more at www.thebestwrestler.com.
What sets Grit above other supplements and/or what do you want your potential customers to know about it?
- GRIT is the only 3-Stage formula on the market, engineered for Pre-, Intra-, and Post-Workout results.
- Clean and highest quality ingredients, guaranteed or I wouldn't put my name behind it.
- Approved for all ages and athletes. We have Olympians, World Champions, NCAA champions, High School kids, and even younger kids drinking it.
- Hydration, Quick Energy, Lasting Endurance, Muscle Recovery and Prevents Muscle Fatigue and Soreness.
- This product was developed from personally experiencing the pain and muscle fatigue of not having a product like GRIT when I was competing.
You obviously have an entrepreneur mindset, what motivates you? What is your driving force as an entrepreneur?
- Obviously, it all starts with the mindset of having financial freedom for our families, right? Don't we all wish for this? The dream house, dream car, exotic travel vacations, etc. But once you are in the trenches, something strange happens. Your thinking shifts, your mindset changes, you begin finding your real "Why", priorities clarify, and you learn what truly fulfills you. Having experienced all that, I've learned that money is not the goal, nor it provides internal fulfillment. My fulfillment comes from impacting other people's lives. Making a difference in someone's life is priceless. That is what motivates me... that is what gets me out of bed in the early mornings.
Who or what has been your greatest inspiration?
There are so many to mention all and they constantly change. They fall into three categories: family, wrestling, and business. Family: my parents Ivan Ivanov and Mariya Ivanova, Whitney Ivanova, and Trevor Carritt and Carol Carritt. Wrestling: Mike Denney, Cael Sanderson, John Smith, and Valentin Jordanov. Business: Russell Brunson, Tony Robbins, and Brendon Burchard.
Is there any part of your life that you’d change if you had the chance to?
Absolutely NO! I've loved and learned from every setback, lesson, and reward.
Your success in Pottawattamie County is paramount to our organization, but what can others in the community do to help you spread the word about your companies?
I would encourage others to at least take a look at my websites, see if it's something for them or someone they know. But, most of all I would be happy to network and get to know other business-minded people. Let me know if I can help and provide value for you. Thank you!
Tell me a little bit about you & Cody.
I have been married for 23 years to Callie, we have 2 daughters, Paige 23 - who is a NICU nurse at Bryan East in Lincoln and Jacey 20 - who is a sophomore majoring in Marketing at University Nebraska at Lincoln. I grew up in Carson IA. Shortly after high school I entered the electrical apprenticeship.
Cody is married to Suzie and they have a 3-year old son, Lincoln. Cody also grew up in Carson. Cody and I were a year apart in school. He attended Iowa State studying Ag Business and then worked for Cargill right out of college.
Why did you decide to start your own company, to take that leap?
Cody and I went into business together in 2007. Funny thing is we both have the same answer on why we started a business. We both knew from a very early age that we wanted to own a business. We used to have an ongoing dialogue about all the opportunities out there and then one day we decided that we were like-minded enough that we should go ahead and pursue them together.
Why Council Bluffs? What do you love about your location and community?
We chose Council Bluffs because we wanted to be closer to the metro area, and being life-long Iowa residents, we wanted to stay in the state. Our current location is perfect for us, great access to the interstate and we have plenty of room to continue to expand our operations.
Talk about your business… brag a little
In the beginning we operated a tree and stump removal business. I had construction experience so it was natural to eventually start offering construction services, as well. In addition to tree work we started by pouring concrete and doing demo and handyman type jobs. We continued to add services and expertise over the years. In the early years we only took money out of the company when we absolutely had to. We reinvested heavily in tools, equipment, and talented people. In 2013 we co-founded a service business in the natural gas industry with 3 other partners. In late 2015 we sold our interest in the natural gas company to the other partners and used the proceeds to fund the PowerTech purchase in early 2016. At the time of purchase there were 8 full time employees, Cody and I included - we now have 45+. Our growth has been both organic as well as through acquisitions. We have acquired 4 smaller businesses and incorporated them into our operations - and we are in constant search of more that fit our profile. At the time of purchase, PowerTech was a facility maintenance contractor with just a few clients. Since then we have added 3 new business units: Construction, Electrical, and Power Generation, and have diversified our client base to over 300 repeat clients. We are very proud that over 95% of our business by revenue is from repeat clients. We have also extended our reach, our administrative office and most employees are CB based, however, we have satellite employees scattered all over Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota - where most of our business activity is centered. We do operate in other states, but only on project by project basis. It’s a little early but we are in the beginning stages of exploring opportunities in renewable energy including solar. We are committing to the exploration by installing solar on all four of our buildings here in CB. We are installing enough solar power for our property to be considered energy independent.
Late in 2018 we made the very difficult decision to sell our tree care business and put all our focus on PowerTech. We agonized over the sale and would not have done it had we not found such a great buyer. We sold to a national firm who did not have a presence in the area. They retained all the employees and offered them more opportunity than we were able to. The decision to focus was without a doubt the right choice. Last year was our best ever in many ways.
So, what’s on the horizon at PowerTech?
Last year Cody and I realized that we have been very fortunate and it was time to start giving back to our communities. We have formed what we call the “The Power to Give” committee within our company. It’s a play on our tag line, “The Power to Solve”. Since time and money are both finite, we formed the committee for the purpose of being very thoughtful and intentional with our giving. We want to have the biggest impact possible with limited resources. Collectively the committee is very passionate about helping children succeed and become the best adults possible. We have spent time consulting with teachers, administrators, school-based interventionists, and psychologists and have decided we want to try to help local schools fund and run programs to address mental health. We are going to attack our charitable efforts with the same fervor and determination we used to build our business, in fact, our intention is to run it exactly like a business. The goal is to build a self-sustaining entity that will help local area children in perpetuity.
Thank you, Cody & Josh for taking the time to share your founder story with Advance – and for choosing to start and grow your business right here in Pottawattamie County! For more information about PowerTech, visit https://powertechteam.com/
As founder and principal of Rachel Dorr Accounting, Rachel couples her passion for small businesses and community with her accounting discipline and operational experience. By helping entrepreneurs overcome obstacles with their financial processes, she helps fill the gap between running a business and growing a business.
Rachel’s commitment to Pottawattamie County and southwest Iowa is evident, not only did she and her husband, Ben choose to raise their children, McKenna (10) and Bennett (8) in Macedonia, Rachel is also passionate about serving the community. Rachel is co-chair of Donia Days (Macedonia’s annual town celebration), coaches and coordinates youth sports, and is the co-founder and manager of Macedonia Ballfield Group. She is a course facilitator for Omaha’s REACH construction industry certificate program, and also served as a mentor for the 2019 Minding My Own Business youth entrepreneurship challenge. Rachel has also volunteered within the community for Riverside Elementary, Grist Mill Fine Arts, Impact Hill, and also serves on the Board of Directors for Advance Southwest Iowa – representing rural Pottawattamie County.
“Working with Rachel Dorr has been a true pleasure. Every economic developer’s hope is to connect businesses with all of the resources they could need to ensure their success. Rachel not only followed up with every referral, but she capitalized on how she could help them in return.” Said, Shalimar Mazetis, Rural Development Manager for Advance Southwest Iowa, also adding, “For instance, we helped Rachel get in touch with the REACH program at the Greater Omaha Chamber for connections; instead of just letting them know who she was, she offered to teach classes for them, and so began a wonderful partnership. I am thrilled to have such a savvy, quick, and helpful business growing right here in Pottawattamie County!
About Me – Rachel Dorr
After freelancing through college (round 2), I knew I wanted to keep my current clients after I graduated. I wanted to maintain the flexibility of self-employment, and have the opportunity to help many small businesses vs one company as traditional employment would offer.
It was then, I realized I should take my own advice and fulfill my desire to help small businesses in my community grow and thrive.
I believe small businesses are the backbone of this country. They benefit our economy through innovation, job creation, and keeping money in the local community. Accounting, bookkeeping, and taxes are some of the most time-consuming tasks in business. And, generally, these tasks are often shoved aside as business owners are busy focusing on running their company. Honestly, not everyone is a number nerd like I am. That being said, having a strategic partner like myself, to help implement the right financial tools and strategies, owners can create the business they’ve always imagined.
I particularly enjoy working with entrepreneurs getting started. I’ve seen the difference it makes when a business gets off on the right foot with properly managed financials.
Southwest Iowa is a wonderful place to live and work. I have lived here most of my life. I graduated from Mt. Ayr High School, spent a couple of years during college in the Kansas City area, and eventually moved to Council Bluffs where my husband, Ben, and I lived for about 8 years. After starting a family, we decided to get back to our rural roots and settled in Macedonia in 2011 and is where we call home.
Having an office in Oakland has afforded me the opportunity to keep my company local and offer an option for people in the community who want to do business in their community. I see many opportunities for businesses to start and grow here and am excited to see what the future has in store for Oakland and surrounding areas.
Just in time for tax season, Rachel has developed a tax preparation division and will be offering individual and business tax filing services. She sees this as another opportunity to serve the people of her community by offering personal and professional quality services. Rachel has a track record of helping her clients boost profitability and facilitate growth through effectively managed financials.
Rachel Dorr Accounting is located at 101 N. Main St. #6 in Oakland, Iowa. You can also reach Rachel at 712.566.5330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2015 while on maternity leave with their first child, Maisy, Becca and Ryan Wiggins faced a tragedy that every parent quietly fears. At a two-month check-up for Maisy, the pair were informed that they needed to see a neurologist. At that appointment, they received a devastating diagnosis, Maisy had Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Type 1. SMA is a disease that robs people of physical strength by affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, taking away the ability to walk, eat, or breathe and is the number one genetic cause of death for infants. As Becca explained, “it’s similar to ALS but has infant onset. The Wiggins were given a grim prognosis with no treatment options - Maisy could have a life expectancy around two years and that they should take her home, love her and enjoy the time they had left with her.
Things took a potential positive turn when the family was informed of a clinical trial taking place with trial sites around the US, one being in Denver, CO. Like most clinical trials, there were some caveats to participation, one being that Miss Maisy would have to maintain oxygen saturation at or above 96% while sleeping. Unfortunately, the family faced a devastating setback while in Denver. The altitude exacerbated Maisy’s breathing difficulties, she ended up hospitalized and unable to qualify for the trial. Again, the Wiggins family went home, defeated.
As they thought they had lost out on their last hope, they were notified by the trial board that Maisy would be allowed to try qualifying at another trial location at lower altitude. The Wiggins family packed up and headed to Chicago knowing this was the last hope for a better quality of life for Maisy. The same participation requirements would still need to be met and Maisy had not yet recovered from her decline in Colorado and was struggling to maintain her oxygen levels, but they had to try. They were immediately on their way to Chicago, during the qualification phase they called all of their family and asked for prayers, they needed a miracle for Maisy’s sats to even get to 96%, let alone maintain it. The family would get that miracle, not only did Maisy’s oxygen get to 100% - it maintained that level during the entire test – she had qualified for the clinical trial. However, like most trials, it was a double blinded study and they would never be told if Maisy had received the treatment or was in the placebo group, and if she had received the treatment, if it would even work.
With many unknowns with Maisy’s life, one thing they did know was that Becca would not be able to return to her previous job at Iowa Western, Maisy’s care would be a full-time labor of love.
Going to a single income family was a struggle, not-to-mention the medical bills, so Becca was looking for ways to supplement their income. Becca bought 4 runs of graphic t-shirts with $150 and sold them online – and they sold quickly! She then reinvested her profits into more inventory, and again sold them. By the spring of 2018, her basement was full of inventory, and the constant stream of customers in their home wasn’t ideal for Maisy and her fragile state. Then Becca got a call from her older sister, Sara about a property she had seen for lease at 126 E. Broadway in Council Bluffs. Becca knew that with Maisy’s 24/7 care, she couldn’t commit to opening a brick and mortar on her own, but with her family on board it could happen. The whole family, all entrepreneurs at heart, took the leap together. Becca, her sisters, Sara Berge and Rachel Adams, and their mother, Tracy Linquist all took an equal 25% share in the business and Dusted Charm was opened in May of 2018.
Dusted Charm is an adorable boutique, with super-cute clothes and accessories, but what makes them unique is their focus on the customer and making shopping an experience. Dusted Charm has also made an effort to be very size-inclusive, carrying pieces from small to 3XL. Being in the store, you feel like you’re shopping with friends you’ve known forever – no judgement or intimidation, just fun, not to mention the ladies are hilarious and their positivity is infectious. Community and family are paramount to Dusted Charm’s business model. They hold monthly give-back events – donating 25% of an evening’s proceeds to a non-profit or school. Becca doesn’t forget how the community rallied behind her family when she and Ryan were in Chicago for Maisy’s clinical trial. A benefit event had been held in McClelland which raised nearly 30K for the Wiggins family. The generosity and support of the community meant the world to them and is why these give-back events and the sense of community are so important to Dusted Charm.
Maisy is now almost 5 years old, a living miracle and has defied the odds that were stacked against her. She is an awesome big-sister to her little brother, Hawk William. Needless to say, Maisy was in the treatment group and has made slow and steady gains the last 4.5 years. The devastation that would have caused many people to fold, became Becca’s motivation, Maisy truly taught her to shine in light of darkness. The dedication and love of these women-entrepreneurs, as well as the support of their entire family, ensures the success of the business they’ve built together.
Shop Dusted Charm at 126 E. Broadway, suite 3 in Council Bluffs. Shop Black Friday from 9am – 5pm, where the first 40 customers will receive a custom tote bag for 30% off your entire your purchases, and 20% off the rest of day. Plus, get doorbusters from 9am – noon. Come back on Small Business Saturday at 9AM where the first 40 customers will receive a tote bag, 10 bags will contain special surprises-one being a $100 shopping spree (to be used that day), shop and fill the bag and receive 25% off your entire purchase.
While commercial beer sales have grown stagnant, even falling - the dollar sales of craft beers have increased 7% and now account for 24% of the U.S. beer market. In 2018 there were over 7,000 craft breweries in the US, with an expected 1,000 additional openings by the end of 2019 – one of those being Council Bluffs’ very own, Full Fledged Brewing Company. According to the Brewers Association, Iowa is ranked 16th with 4 breweries per capita,* so it may seem surprising that prior to Full Fledged opening this summer, there were no craft breweries located in Council Bluffs – a fact that did not go unnoticed by Marshall and Dessie Redmond.
When Marshall approached his parents about attending an 18-month brewmaster program through the American Brewer’s Guild, they fully supported his dream with the stipulation that Marshall would own his own brewery by the time he turned forty. While in school, Marshall interned at a brewery to gain experience. After graduating, he found a job working in New Mexico under a brewmaster, before finally landing a job as a head brewer, himself in southern Nevada.
The Redmond’s were living in Texas when they decided to take a leap of faith to start their own brewery. So began the search for the perfect location. Dessie, who had grown up in the Midwest, admits that Iowa was not originally on their radar as a possible location. While researching areas near family, Council Bluffs (and its lack of a brewery scene) came up as an option. Dessie remembered a close friend taking her on a tour of the city and the 100 block as a teenager, and that she liked the uniqueness of the area, but other than that the couple had very little knowledge of Council Bluffs. They planned a visit in November of 2017 and the rest, as they say, is history. Dessie was offered a job and moved to the area within the year, and after tying up loose ends in Texas, Marshall followed six months later. After two years, a location change, and even a name change for the brewery, Full Fledged held their groundbreaking celebration in February of this year and finally opened in July, Marshall’s dream had come to fruition – keeping his end of the deal to his parents .
Although they initially knew they were taking a risk by choosing to locate in the spine of the Entertainment District, Marshall and Dessie are thrilled with how their space in Council Bluffs turned out! Located at the cross of interstates 80 and 29 - and right next to the MAC, Bass Pro, and the Iowa West Field House – The Redmond’s could see the potential for growth in the area and look forward to having new neighbors in the future. The brewery now has ten of their beers on tap, with three additional brews currently fermenting. “Marshall loves experimenting with new recipes,” Dessie said, adding, “actually it’s probably what I admire most about him, his ability to use both sides of his brain simultaneously, being both creative with recipes and also knowing the science and chemistry behind it all”. Full Fledged has room for 20 taps, 18 will be their own brews, which they plan to rotate a few seasonally. The remaining two taps will feature ciders from Sacrilegious Ciderworks in Glenwood, Iowa – which provides a gluten-free option. Besides Dessie & Marshall, Full Fledged now employs five beertenders and a full-time tap room manager. “We want this to be a community and family-friendly space. We couldn’t be more thankful for the people of Council Bluffs, the positive support has been incredible”
Mark your calendar for Fall Fest at Full Fledged Brewing Company as the celebrate their Grand Opening on Saturday, October 12th with free lunch from Rustic Cuts starting at noon, a corn hole tournament and live music by a Touch of Grey. Get all the details on the Full Fledged Facebook Event Page.
*per 100,000 21+ adults
As Adley sat in his 8th grade class, he noticed the new kid, Clayt, looking at fishing websites, as he sat doing the exact same thing. The common interest was the catalyst for a new and lasting friendship - and eventual business partnership. Both boys, now 15, continue to spend as much time as they can fishing in farm ponds and quarries, (or anywhere they can get a ride) around Treynor. With the amount of time they spend fishing, it comes as no surprise that they had an interest in making their own soft plastic baits. What started as a google search for molds, quickly turned into a business plan for Salvage Bait Co.
Less than six months ago, Clayt and Adley pooled all of their birthday, Christmas, and any other money they could pull together to order the molds, aluminum injector, and materials to make their own bait. When it came to the material, the boys were looking for an alternative. Due to the high volume production, the sprue (plastic waste piece left after molding) is thrown away by the mass producing bait companies, as reusing isn’t cost and time effective. The boys began reaching out to the large plastic bait companies around the United States and asked them if they could buy their sprue. Acquiring the plastic in this way helped with cost and more importantly, helped the environment by keeping that waste out of the landfills. The boys soon realized that with the amount of their initial investment, they would need to try to capitalize on their hobby, and Salvage Bait Company began. Paula Hazlewood of Advance Southwest Iowa said, “Salvage Bait Co. are the type of young entrepreneurs we want to see in Pottawattamie County, they’ve identified and solved a problem we didn’t realize existed. Entrepreneurship is an essential part of modern economic development.”
The process of hand-manufacturing their 100% recycled bait is somewhat time-consuming and involves heating the plastisol to 350-400 degrees and injecting it into the molds, waiting to cure, adding their scents to the baits, and of course packaging and shipping (this writer assured Salvage Bait that their entire process wouldn’t be revealed). In the few months since they’ve started, these environmentally conscious entrepreneurs have already turned a profit. 100% self-funded, they are now reinvesting their profits back into the company. Adley already had his own social media presence as a brand ambassador and influencer for the fishing industry and focused on social media advertising for Salvage Bait Co. Clayt and Adley then commissioned a website, www.salvagebaitco.com, to sell their products online. Their bait, at $4 per pack, is the same price or less than their national competitors.
The goal of Salvage Bait Co. is two-fold, as Adley said, “We’re buying our product to help the environment, but ultimately we want to get more people engaged in fishing”. It appears to be working, since their launch, they have seen a sharp increase in kids at their high school fishing, some of them daily. Besides selling new soft plastic baits, Salvage Bait Co. also offers another innovative service. As plastic continues to fill oceans and landfills, the same is true for ponds and lakes. Plastic baits discarded in bodies of water can be eaten by the fish and other wildlife, and if too large to pass, will almost always result in death. Anglers now have an option – for only $15 per pound, Salvage Bait will recycle your spent soft plastic baits and return them to you. “It’s recycling you can see full circle, It would be kind of like if you recycled a pop can, and it was then returned to you refilled,” Adley laughed.
The young men hope that ten years from now Salvage Bait Co. is still in business, but point out that although no one else seems to be doing what they’re doing, maintaining supply may be difficult. Luckily both entrepreneurs have a back-up plan. Besides working, going to school, and running a company, the boys are both involved at Treynor High School, both participate in football and in the fishing club (yes, there is a fishing club!). Adley plans to go to college for engineering or in the medical field, but hopes to work as an engineer in the fishing industry. Clayt plans to go to school and major in agriculture and farm with his family. The owners of Salvage Bait Co. epitomize the promise and drive of the young iGen and Iowa’s future entrepreneurs and leaders.
[Stay tuned to ASWIC’s Facebook page to see my results with Salvage Bait Co.’s recycled soft-plastic baits]
Upon driving through the town of Walnut, Iowa, it’s easy to see why Trace and Claudia Frahm chose to raise their boys here 20 years ago. Walnut, known as Antique City, is home to nearly 20 antique shops and hosts multiple events throughout the year, bringing in tens of thousands of visitors. Walnut has an immediate familiar and comfortable feel, it’s the kind of town you’d expect to see in a Hallmark movie. The quaint little city’s appeal is what Trace compares to, “a hug from grandma”. The Frahms were considering many communities within a radius of Omaha before choosing Walnut as their home. “We saw a town of 800 that had all the amenities we needed, and maybe some that it shouldn’t have had for a town of that size; plus you get the benefits and convenience of being located right off the interstate,” Trace commented.
In talking to Trace and Claudia, you’d never guess that they were transplants to Walnut, they have definitely adopted the city as their own, wasting no time becoming involved in the community. Claudia continued her job with an Omaha bank, however telecommuting [possible with the fast internet available in Walnut] offered her the opportunity to work from home while raising their sons in Walnut. Trace, a true dreamer and visionary, has been a longtime City Councilman and also sits on the WIDA Board of Directors. Trace credits the local residents working side-by-side with the local government for a common cause. When asked about Walnut’s economic development goals, Trace said, “We learn from the big cities and see the impact, but we think small when it comes to business”. Shalimar Mazetis, manager of rural development for Advance Southwest Iowa, said, “Trace completely embodies a progressive builder mentality. He is always looking at things others are doing and is able to see how it can be applicable to Walnut or Pottawattamie County, in other words he is a genius at scaling ideas to fit. He is a true asset to have on the Walnut City Council and I just know we are going to do BIG things together for Walnut and Pott County”.
When Trace and Claudia purchased their dream home, a large historic home on a corner lot, it brought an opportunity for the adjacent lot next door. There was an existing home on the property that Trace and his builder, Shawn had planned to renovate, however in the midst of the project it became apparent that the cost to renovate to code would exceed a new build. Trace was inspired by Becky McCray of Small Biz Survival and had also learned of a pop-up shed village in Tionesta, Pennsylvania. Being the entrepreneur that he is, Trace thought, why not replicate that model in Walnut? So the house came down and the planning for Walnut Market Village began. The project is a 3-4 phase endeavor, with phase 1 completed as of June 1st. Phase 1 included two custom 500 square foot sheds with lofts and ADA compliant sidewalks and entries. The sheds fit in with the existing streetscape down to the beautiful professional landscaping. The remaining phases will allow for additional micro-retail spaces and potential unique Airbnb spaces.
The now completed sheds are available for daily, weekly, or monthly rental for businesses who may not yet be ready for their own brick and mortar storefront, or for those entrepreneurs who want to test their product with a pop-up store. Officially open for less than a month, Trace has already received a lot of interest. The Kringle Man Danish Pastries, Milk & Honey Restaurant, and Frosting, Inc, were all pop up shops during the recent Walnut Antique Walk on Father's Day weekend. These aren’t your typical garden sheds, the heated and air conditioned buildings are beautifully finished with vaulted ceilings, plenty of natural light, wood floors, and modern light fixtures. - The attention to detail is evident.
If you are an entrepreneur looking for a retail space, or even curious about the pop-up village, it’s worth the quick trip from the metro to check out the Walnut Market Village and the other exciting things happening in Walnut. Trace and Claudia can be reached at 712-579-2215 or by email at email@example.com. “The best thing a person can do is reinvest in their community, think unconventionally and out-of-the-box, while also keeping what’s worked in the past”. –Trace Frahm
Trace & Claudia Frahm at the Walnut Village Market beneath the restored Main Street clock.