Grinnell Chamber

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Rachael Kinnick
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Celebrating the Independents!

Posted on 07/14/2022 at 8:03 AM
It's July, and we're spending part of the month recognizing our independent retailers for Independent Retailer Month! We are fortunate to have so many wonderful locally-owned retailers right here in our community, helping make it in a unique place for residents and visitors alike to shop. Many of us may be yearning for more retailers, and that's okay, too! If you or someone you know is interested in becoming an independent retailer, give our office a call. We'd love to help talk through your idea(s) and determine a possible path forward. 
To help celebrate independent retailers this month, we are again hosting our Facebook video series to share more about these businesses as well as their upcoming specials for Ridiculous Day! The event is scheduled for next Saturday, July 23 beginning at 8AM, and our businesses would love to see many of you there enjoying the day and shopping Grinnell. 
Independent businesses contribute so much to the economy and fabric of the Grinnell community, and we are grateful they have chosen to call Grinnell home. 
--Rachael Kinnick 

It Can Happen to Anyone!

Posted on 07/07/2022 at 8:02 AM
Has it happened to you? Fraud attempts are becoming more and more prevalent, with both individuals and businesses, and there are an increased number of victims right here in our community. Do you know the signs to look for, and ways to help loved ones who may be the target of scams? This afternoon, we are partnering with the Grinnell Police Department to host a fraud prevention seminar at Drake Community Library beginning at 2pm. Investigator Al Perales with the Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General's Office will be onsite to share more about ways to protect yourself, loved ones and your business from various scams. 
There are so many different ways scammers are trying to get to people these days, and Al has seen many of them. His knowledge and information on the subject are sure to make you rethink how you go about your daily life, and know the signs to look for to help prevent fraudulent attempts on your person or business, from computer issues to ransoms, grandparent scams and everything in between. 
Join us today at 2PM at Drake Community Library to learn more about this important topic and how you can help protect yourself and others. If you aren't able to join us in person, a virtual option is available. Find more, including the link to join virtually, in the event info HERE
--Rachael Kinnick 

Kicking Off the Holiday Weekend!

Posted on 06/30/2022 at 8:01 AM
Kicking Off the Holiday Weekend!
We're kicking off the Fourth of July weekend with lots of fun on tap in Grinnell! Beginning tomorrow, the Grinnell-Newburg All-Class Reunion festivities begin, welcoming alumni back to the Grinnell community with a variety of activities, including class reunions, a 5K, alumni art and talent shows and more. Additionally, Saturday evening will feature an event in Central Park - open to anyone regardless of alumni status - beginning at 7pm with live music, a cash-only beverage garden and Whiplash
Take some time to relax on Sunday, then head to Grinnell Historical Museum between 1-4pm to learn more about the community's history. More live music by alumni follows in Central Park between 5-7pm. Afterwards, head over to Merrill Park for $2 tethered hot air balloon rides (weather dependent), sponsored by Re/Max Partners Realty. Proceeds from the rides will benefit the Grinnell-Newburg Alumni Association. 
Make plans to join us Monday, July 4 as we celebrate with the annual Fourth of July parade which will begin at 5pm. You can find route and signup information here. The parade is supported by Grinnell College, Re/Max Partners Realty, Clarity Eyecare, Kinetic by Windstream and Windsor Manor. At dusk that evening, fireworks can be viewed from Ahrens Park. The fireworks are supported by the City of Grinnell's Hotel/Motel Tax Committee. 
Many more events are happening throughout this weekend and next week; check them all out in our community calendar. I hope you all have a safe and happy Fourth of July!
--Rachael Kinnick
p.s. We are still in need of a few volunteers to help with parade lineup (you're still able to be in the parade as well!). Reply here if you're able to help! And don't forget, fireworks are prohibited in City limits.

Summer Has Arrived

Posted on 06/23/2022 at 7:59 AM
Not only did we mark the Summer Solstice this week, but the temperatures have certainly accommodated the change in seasons as well. Summer is my favorite season in Iowa as the weather warms, everything is in full bloom, gardens are starting to produce, we're heavily into the baseball season and, of course, pool time! 
The downtown flowers are looking absolutely stunning again this year, and the effort is in large part to a few very dedicated volunteers, the Garden Club and City staff who water them diligently every day. Thank you, all, for helping beautify our downtown in this way every summer. Of course, it's also Farmers Market day, so if your own gardens aren't producing just yet, or you'd rather leave it up to the experts, be sure to stop downtown this afternoon between 3-6PM to gather all sorts of fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers. 
The Grinnell Little League season is winding down this week, and I want to give a shoutout to all the coaches who volunteer their time and energy for several weeks to help guide children through the season, and the Little League volunteers who work hard to pull everything together from field prep to concession stands and anything in between. And since we're talking baseball, if you haven't been following the Grinnell Tigers this summer, I'd encourage you to do so! They're on a roll, and we couldn't be prouder of all the student-athletes making a difference on and off the field. 
I hope you'll take some time to enjoy a few of the things I've mentioned this summer in Grinnell, and let me know your favorite summer activities by replying to this email!
--Rachael Kinnick

Open for Business!

Posted on 06/16/2022 at 7:59 AM
Grinnell is open for business. Downtown businesses may have a lot of new action going on with their exterior (and sometimes even interior) spaces these days, but they are open for business! You may recall a few months ago us sharing about the upcoming façade project, and if you have been downtown in the last few weeks, you are most definitely aware that it is in full swing. And while that can be an inconvenience, it is certainly going to be a positive impact to our downtown buildings and ambiance once it is all complete.
As part of our job, we are reminding you that even though it may seem more chaotic right now, these businesses are open and they want and need your support! Of course, we recommend calling ahead of time if you might be concerned of a closure, but please continue to support them throughout the construction cycle and beyond. 
Speaking of open for business, if you or someone you know is interested in opening a business, our office is happy to have a conversation to help get you started. We have heard from a number of Grinnellians in the past several weeks who are eager to start a new adventure, and we would love to hear from you, too, if this is something you may be considering! 
--Rachael Kinnick 

Volunteerism to the Rescue!

Posted on 06/09/2022 at 3:27 PM
This week we saw first-hand how volunteerism helped save the day. As a boil advisory was issued Tuesday morning (since lifted) due to a water main break, community members came together to begin determining next steps and needs. 
In times of disaster, there are often unsung heroes, and while there are entirely too many to name, I want to recognize former Grinnell Hy-Vee store director, Ryan Benz, for his quick thinking to recognize that bottled water would be a major need. You see, Ryan is now the store director in Newton and immediately realized a number of people were starting to load up one item from his store: water. He instantly called to see if they could help coordinate an effort to provide water in the community, and in conjunction with Poweshiek Emergency Management's Brian Paul, there were 4 semis in Grinnell less than 4 hours later! On top of that, volunteers came out to help hand out water to community members - what an amazing thing to witness and be a part of! (Please note: I am naming only a couple folks here, but there were MANY, including Ben Hall of Fareway, who undertook similar efforts this week to keep our community going.) 
Volunteerism is important not just in times of disaster, but every day. I think it's easy to take for granted the community events, activities and initiatives and just expect that they will happen. But the reality is, they often need many sets of hands to help make them successful. This weekend proves this yet again, from the Rotary's Chicken BBQ being held today to Grinnell Little League's hosting of Small Town Baseball tournament starting tomorrow and Imagine Grinnell's Prairie Burn 100 being held on Saturday. There are many opportunities to get involved to help make our community a better place, and many of these organizations are desperate for help. 
Please consider giving of your time to help our community and its organizations, whether it be in times of disaster or any normal day. And if you're around this weekend, Imagine Grinnell is still in need of several folks to help make their event a success! 
--Rachael Kinnick 
p.s. As of 1:10PM today (Thursday), the boil advisory has been lifted for Grinnell! Many thanks to the City Water Department, their contractors, and all who helped coordinate disaster response efforts this week - we appreciate you all! 

Swelling Population

Posted on 06/02/2022 at 3:28 PM
This weekend and next, our population will swell approximately 15% as we welcome participants of Grinnell College's Alumni Reunion and Small Town Baseball, respectively. The economic impact of these two events cannot be understated, and our hotels and small retail/restaurant establishments in particular, are well aware of the impact events like this have on their place of business. 
Did you know that visitors are more likely to return to a location and/or consider a move in the future if they have a positive experience during their travels? Think of your own traveling - if you have a positive experience are you more or less likely to revisit? And what if you have a negative experience? 
When you see our guests out and about this weekend and next, I hope you will offer a friendly smile, wave or word of welcome to ensure they know just how grateful we are to have them here. 
--Rachael Kinnick 
p.s. A number of activities are planned this weekend including Farmers Market and the return of Music in the Park this evening in Central Park! Check out these and more upcoming events on our community calendar

OK! Brain Health Matters

Posted on 05/26/2022 at 3:30 PM
May is becoming nationally affiliated as Mental Health Awareness Month, and I'm here for it. Personally I don't think we talk about mental health enough, and we need to. Two years ago, we hosted one of our first Connecting for Women virtual events and had the pleasure of hearing from Jami Haberl of Iowa's Healthiest State Initiative as one of our speakers. The topic? Normalizing talking about mental health, which is why I am proud to wear a green OK button often. The number of people (just today, in fact!) who ask me what the button means, allowing us to have a quick conversation about mental health is astonishing and encouraging.
While talking about mental health is all fine and good, our speaker at this years' Connecting for Women event, Hayley DeGreve of the Gray Matters Collective, talked about mental health in the context of brain health, and for many on the call I think that normalized it even more. You see, we talk about general health often, right? We know we should eat healthy, get exercise, visit our doctor routinely, etc. but our brain health isn't necessarily at the forefront of those discussions. But it should be. We need to take more time for ourselves, find our passions, seek help and medications when we need them. 
I encourage you to seek your own brain health, whatever that looks like for you. Perhaps it's taking more days off, seeing a mental health specialist, or simply taking better care of you and looking out for those around you. Whatever it looks like, please do it. Our brain health is critically important to the way we function each and every day. Normalize talking about it, and make it OK! 
--Rachael Kinnick 

They're Always Dreaming!

Posted on 05/19/2022 at 3:30 PM
This has been a fun, albeit very busy, week in our household. The end of the school year is always one of my favorite times - to see how much my children have grown in a years' time and all that they've learned. It is a joy to see the progress from the start to the end of the year, and as final reports and tests are coming home for the summer it reminds me just how much they are always dreaming. Their dreaming would not happen in the same way if they didn't have such supportive and amazing teachers and staff to make it such a positive experience. 
Today's newsletter is a recognition of these individuals and how much they sacrifice to support our children. At a conference I attended this week, Dr. Ann Lebo, Director of Education, reminded those in attendance of the roles schools have, and continue to, play in addition to their role of education. They are a community hub of information, activity and support, and the teachers, staff and administration who give it their all every day should be commended (my words, not hers!) for the time, energy and love they pour into their students every single day. 
So as the school year comes to a close next week, please take a few minutes to say 'thank you' to those who are in the midst of educating the next generation day in and day out, whether you have current students or not. We may not always agree with every aspect of education and what or how things are taught, but one thing I hope we can all agree on is that we have some amazing folks helping build our young people into future leaders and I, for one, am grateful! 
--Rachael Kinnick 
p.s. Head to the Grinnell Farmers Market tomorrow morning from 10A-Noon for your chance to 'Plant a Pizza'! Thanks to Olson Garden Market for sponsoring this fun and free activity at market again this year.

Asparagus & Rhubarb A Plenty

Posted on 05/12/2022 at 3:31 PM
Wasn't it just last week I wrote I wasn't sure if spring would ever arrive?! Well, it seems we may have bypassed spring and gone straight to summer. Which is great when it comes to Farmers Market - today is opening day and it's certainly feeling a bit more like late summer weather, but we'll take it!
We are so excited to welcome back to market so many familiar faces and products while also welcoming new vendors to this season's lineup. For all the latest on the Grinnell Farmers Market, CLICK HERE. Did you know we also send a monthly Farmers Market email, with all things market related? Sign up to receive this monthly update HERE
We are incredibly appreciative of ongoing partnerships to help support the market and its operations. Special shoutout to Grinnell Mutual, UnityPoint Health Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Total Choice Shipping & Printing and Grinnell College. We are excited to be welcoming back some additional activities including the Plant-a-Pizza with Olson Garden Market at next week's Thursday & Saturday markets! 
Albeit a bit warm, today's weather will be beautiful and a wonderful excuse to get out of the office or house for a bit to come downtown to check out all the goodies opening day has to offer. We'll see you at Central Park this afternoon from 3-6PM, and Saturday morning from 10-Noon! 
--Rachael Kinnick
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