The Art of Education University, Osage

The Art of Education University, founded by Jessica and Derek Balsley in 2011, is a local Iowa success story of building a global company in a rural community. This business is located in Osage, which it is a small town in North Iowa with a population of around 3,600. The Art of Education University is […]

Petunias & Pixie Dust, Osage

Lacey Huisman and Michele Johnson founded Petunias & Pixie Dust for a simple reason- their community needed it. They had noticed that there was a common lament from their friends and coworkers in Osage- no one could find attractive and affordable clothing. Michele had been purchasing clothes online from online boutiques for years, but there […]

Café Sign Floral and Gift, Lenox & Bedford

Becky Smith has found momentous success in her recent start-up flower shop, Café Sign Floral and Gift. Like many Iowans, she has deep, family roots in agronomy and farming, and she has always felt drawn to using her skills to take care of the earth. After a 21 year career, she decided to change direction […]

Ice Cream Junction, Oelwien

While working as a janitor for the Oelwein School District, Robin Vinson passed by the empty Ice Cream Junction building every day. She felt like the business was calling to her because of its previous significance within the community. So in 2019, she purchased Ice Cream Junction and reopened June 1st. Ice Cream Junction is […]

Little Lights on the Lane, West Branch

In 2010 Erin came to the SBDC to expand her photography business. She wanted to start an event center for weddings and reception. Erin was looking for a building that she could purchase with some bank financing. However, banks were hesitant to loan her any money even though she and her husband had an excellent […]

Oh So Sweet by Tiphanie, Davenport

Oh So Sweet by Tiphanie, owned by Tiphanie Cannon, was started as a cupcake shop in May of 2014 but has since grown to offer other delicious baked goods as well as lunch. Using old recipes that were passed down through the generations to provide customers with the best, freshest homemade bakery items that the […]

S&B Farmstead Distillery, Bancroft

S&B Farmstead Distillery in Bancroft, Iowa is the proud vision of entrepreneur Sara Winkleman and comes from some unlikely beginnings. Sara is not a descendent from a family of distillers nor does she have an academic background or training in the distilling industry. In fact, she was originally a hair stylist and salon owner. So […]

Red Cedar Lodge, Charles City

  Red Cedar Lodge began with a walk-through of an overgrown farm where Tom Winterink used to play as a child. The property had recently come on the market and during a hometown visit, Tom and his wife Lorraine explored the property with a new camera, snapping pictures along the way of the old barn, […]

Staci Ackerson: 2019 Neal Smith Entrepreneur of the Year

Staci Ackerson, a United States Navy Desert Storm veteran, acquired Shankland Insurance in 2012. Staci wanted to expand her business and her husband, Stacy, a retired contractor, knew that Charles City had loads of untapped potential. With Stacy’s vision of rehabilitating the historic Charles City Western Railroad depot in mind, Staci reached out to the […]

Mechanics for Vets, Sioux City

In 2015, Corey Duckett came up with the idea of Mechanics for Vets. He worked out of his garage for 2 years helping his friends and then decided in 2017 he wanted to go mainstream with the idea, and in 2018 filed the necessary paperwork. Mechanics for Vets is a nonprofit mechanic shop out of […]