America’s SBDC Iowa is an outreach program of Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Three on the Tree, Mason City
Three on the Tree is a cozy coffee shop in downtown Mason City, opened by risk-taking entrepreneur Katie Wold under the umbrella of her creative retail space Market 124. When Katie Wold founded the first version of Market 124 in 2006, she made $300 in the first year. Over the last 13 years, her vision has evolved and grown to encompass, Three on the Tree, Turtle Creek Pottery, and a retail location under the same roof in a historic building in downtown Mason City. Katie is an entrepreneur who is dedicated to bringing the heart of our communities back downtown. Her focus is on helping local small business owners and creators by providing a permanent space to sell their products, rental/communal space, creating experiential gathering spaces in the heart of downtown Mason City, and building a space for North Iowans to come.
In 2012, Katie came across an empty historic brick building and fell in love with it. The building was built ca.1912 and originally housed Hart Motors, a car dealership with showrooms on the second floor and basement level. The spacious building required extensive renovation, but Katie could envision its future. She said, “It was important for me to be downtown. The center of the community needs to be the heart of the community, something that’s lacking in modern life. We’ve been able to be a part of the progression of downtown as it comes back to being the heart of the community. Restoring our historic buildings is a part of that process.” Renovations on the second floor have created eight rental spaces for small businesses to build their own endeavors. Several of Mason City’s small businesses got their start selling in Market 124; Otto’s Oasis and Grandma Sugar’s Cupcakes are both beloved North Iowa businesses who began in Market 124, established a customer base, grew, and eventually moved on to their own locations.
Katie opened Three on the Tree, a cozy coffee shop with a car theme in homage to the building’s original purpose. Three on the Tree is a continuation of the popular Mason City independently owned coffee shop, Beanzy’s. Katie had thought for years that adding a coffee shop would be a great fit for Market 124, but was reluctant to compete against Mason City’s two existing independently owned coffee shops, both of which were located downtown. Then, the owners of Beanzy’s approached her – they were ready to be bought out and hoped Katie was interested in the opportunity. Three on the Tree opened in September 2019.
The North Iowa SBDC & NIACC Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center began working with Katie in 2011 when she was thinking of expanding her business and relocating to Mason City. The SBDC & Pappajohn Center have worked with
Katie as she relocated, opened her new location, stabilized and expanded her business plan, and added new vendors and different aspects to Market 124. The SBDC & Pappajohn Center have met with Katie to discuss funding and help connect her to grant and loan opportunities, including the City of Mason City Revolving Loan Fund, the North Iowa Corridor Revolving Loan Fund, and a facade improvement loan dedicated to encouraging downtown revitalization facilitated through Main Street Mason City.
Katie has shown herself to be a nimble entrepreneur, always learning and adapting her business to economic reality. When the GoldmanSachs 10,000 Small Businesses program announced it would be coming to Iowa, Katie immediately applied, was accepted into the second cohort, and graduated in summer 2019. She used the program and its comprehensive mentorship aspects to work out the fine details of adding Three on the Tree to her business. Committed to supporting fellow artists/creators and entrepreneurs. Katie is active in the community and is always looking for ways to give back. She serves on several boards, including the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center advisory board, the Mason City Chamber of Commerce board, and the Main Street Mason City board (serving three years as vice president). She has also served as a pitch competition judge for the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy (a summer camp run by the NIACC Pappajohn Center), and is committed to serving as a business mentor through the North Iowa Mentor Network.