818, LLC, Des Moines

Having spent several years working together in a corporate environment, Melissa Carlson and Rachel Abel found they had a great working relationship, similar work ethics, and professional goals. In 2013, the pair decided to carry their partnership on to the next level, forming a small graphic design business together, which they named 818. They intentionally […]

Palek Studio and Gallery, Des Moines

Shawn Palek had been an airbrush artist for 27 years before he finally decided to seek out a location to serve both as a studio for his own creations and as a place to display his artwork on a more permanent basis. Working with his wife and colleague, Misty Palek, Shawn opened the studio, offering […]

Dumpling Darling, Iowa City

While teaching English in South Korea, Lesley Triplett grew to love the food sold by the local street vendors, especially their dumplings. Before she returned stateside, Lesley learned some of the basic tricks to dumpling making from a woman who operated her neighborhood dumpling stand. Upon returning to the United States, Lesley found she missed […]

Military Cost Cutters, Davenport

As a Marine stationed in North Carolina, Aaron Serrano realized he and his comrades were not taking full advantage of all the discounts offered to military personnel. Local businesses were offering price reductions, but they weren’t working together to create a database of all the discounts that members of the military could easily reference. Additionally, […]

Exceptional Health & Weight Loss Solutions, Hiawatha

For about five years, Dr. Linda Hodges contemplated opening a weight loss clinic in Hiawatha, Iowa. As a physician, Linda already had other professional duties, but once she was confident enough to handle new responsibilities, she decided to pursue the idea. The first place she turned to was America’s SBDC Iowa (SBDC). “Once I decided […]

Bella Ragazza, Burlington

One day, Wendy Klein was walking around downtown Burlington, Iowa when she realized the city was missing a women’s lingerie boutique. From that moment on, Wendy began developing an idea that would eventually become Bella Ragazza, a specialty shop in downtown Burlington. “I’d always wanted to be a small business owner,” Wendy says. “And my […]

Char-Mac Assisted Living – Lawton, Holstein & Manning

Jeanine Chartier is a rare combination of compassion, skill and tenacity, plus she’s a fierce advocate for the elderly. A lifelong resident of Lawton, Iowa, Jeanine is a savvy, caring entrepreneur who has helped improve the quality of life in three Northwest Iowa communities while taking time to mentor others. Jeanine Chartier had a full-time […]

CLenz Designs, Des Moines

Cody Ritz, originally from the Des Moines area, moved to Dallas, Texas to attend college. While there Cody fell in love with fashion and the industry as a whole. When he moved back to Iowa, Cody struggled to find a job in the fashion industry that allowed him to hone his creative abilities. Finally, after […]

Adore Your Walls and Liz Lidgett Fine Art, Des Moines

After attaining a Master’s degree in public art, Liz Lidgett wanted a career based around exposing people to artwork, who otherwise wouldn’t be. When Liz moved back to Des Moines after college, she worked as the corporate curator for Kum and Go’s art collection. Through this position she realized the high demand in Iowa for […]

Precast Concrete Company, LLC, Creston

As Darian David and his wife, Jamie, were considering buying Precast Concrete Company in Creston, Iowa, they had no idea what steps were needed to get the ball rolling. The previous owner wanted to sell his company to someone local he could trust and that he felt would run it the same way he had […]