Grinnell Chamber

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Rachael Kinnick
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Meet Cassy

Posted on 05/28/2019 at 9:27 AM

Hello, my name is Cassy Heitman! I am originally from Williamsburg, Iowa but have been studying in the Quad Cities for the past three years at St. Ambrose University. I will be entering my senior year this fall as a Strategic Communications and Public Relations major. 


At Ambrose I have explored the comm department's TV and radio stations, the music department, and specifically the marching band program that started from scratch my freshman year. I have been part of the band all three years and I now manage all media & marketing while also continuing to play tenor saxophone in the band. 


Last summer I had an internship at the Amana Colonies Convention Center and Visitors Bureau where I helped plan Wurst Festival, Oktoberfest, and the Bike Ride of Iowa County (BRIC). Since then, I have increased many of my skills in the PR field and I have also found a love for spending time at the Amana wineries and their other cute, little shops. I hope to fall in love with the shops all over the Grinnell area with this new internship at the Chamber of Commerce and hope to see my PR skills challenge! I'm excited to see where this summer takes me & I can't wait to learn everything there is to know about Grinnell!! 

--Cassy Heitman

Have We Improved?

Posted on 05/17/2019 at 12:02 PM

Last week members of our team attended the Community Health Needs Assessment convened by Unity Point Health - Grinnell Regional Medical Center and Poweshiek County Public Health to learn more about healthcare progress that's been made in our community over the past three years, and identify additional areas of focus for the future. Five key goals and initiatives had been identified which include:

1. Improved mental health access to providers and services

2. Increase quality, availability, and effectiveness of health education for children and adults

3. Improve air and water quality to impact better health

4. Improve access to affordable and adequate healthcare

5. Promote healthy diet and exercise in the county


Throughout the session, we identified areas of progress and success over the past three years, while also discussing additional areas for opportunity and improvement. We want to help our partners at Public Health ensure a wide response from the community, so if you didn't attend the event would you please take a few minutes to respond to this quick survey? If you have a great idea of how these five areas could be positively impacted in our community, please let me know. We'd love to hear from you and pass it along! 

Shout-out to Small

Posted on 05/05/2019 at 11:00 AM

National Small Business Week, Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce

Grinnell's small businesses are integral to making our community thrive and we want to recognize them for their ongoing dedication not only to their businesses and their customers, but to our community as well. For many decades, this week has been designated by the Small Business Administration as National Small Business Week and is celebrated across the country. We are proud to celebrate so many amazing entrepreneurs, small business owners and their businesses in Grinnell.


We also use Small Business Week as a reminder to look local first for all the goods and services that meet your everyday needs. Although not everything you need can be found in Grinnell, pledging to look local first is a way to directly give back to our community. Our small businesses play an important role in making Grinnell a wonderful place to live, learn, work, and play. 


Small businesses are critical to the economy and viability of communities. More than half of Americans own or work for a small business and those businesses create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. every year through their innovation and growth. As Small Business Week kicks off, please remember to look local first and join me in saying THANK YOU to the small businesses that make Grinnell an incredible community!

What Makes a Great Place?

Posted on 04/22/2019 at 11:48 AM

What comes to mind when you think of a great place? What are we doing well as a community? Where can we continue to build on our successes? What are some things we should be considering for Grinnell in the future? We recently asked these questions, and more, to several community members as we conducted focus group meetings to give an update to some of the work we've been doing since our last round of input sessions in the fall of 2016, and to gain feedback on ways we can continue to improve Grinnell. 


Throughout the course of these meetings, we heard many great ideas and suggestions, and several common themes began to emerge over the course of these 20+ meetings. We're working to compile these thoughts and ideas now, and will be identifying areas of focus which will be shared via this email newsletter in the future. We know we were not able to meet with many of you, but that you likely have some great ideas and suggestions as well. I'm hopeful you'll take a moment to respond with your ideas. How can we ensure Grinnell is a 'great place' for years to come? 


Calling All Women!

Posted on 04/15/2019 at 8:45 AM

We've partnered with the Knoxville and Newton Chambers to bring together women for a night of networking, coaching and mentoring sessions! Our Regional Mentoring for Women event will feature ladies from each of our individual communities and everywhere in between to share their stories and learn from one another. 


Next Thursday, we'll kick off the evening at The Cellar Peanut Pub in Newton at 4:30pm with drinks, snacks and networking. The event will feature a series of four round table discussions, revolving around common obstacles women face at home and in the work place. Discussions will be led by individuals from each community with strong ties to their topic. These topics include: 

  • Women in Leadership: Breaking the Glass Ceiling and Providing Opportunities for All
  • Balancing Work & Life: Comfortably Navigating Professional and Personal Life
  • Growing and/or Buying a Small Business: Taking the Next Step and Striving for More
  • Gaining Confidence and Overcoming Obstacles: Establishing Your Purpose in the Professional World 

We're looking forward to a great night of discussion and networking with our Grinnell ladies and are excited to make new connections with our partners and friends in Knoxville and Newton. Interested in attending? This is event is open to chamber members and non-members, business owners, employees, stay-at-home moms, students or anyone else! You can sign up on our website or check out the  Facebook event for more details. Not sure if your company is a chamber member? Give us a call at 641-236-6555 and we can help you out!


Special thanks to our local sponsor, UnityPoint Health - Grinnell Regional Medical Center, along with our partners, Pagliai's, Peace Tree Brewing Company, and Gezellig Brewing Company for their support of the evening! 

One to Watch - Katy Wells

Posted on 04/09/2019 at 12:28 PM

The One to Watch Award recognizes individuals who have started businesses, expanded operations or done exemplary work as part of an organization. These individuals strive toward the highest levels of personal and professional accomplishment, and serve as role models for others in the business community. 

Our final One to Watch recipient is driven, energetic, outgoing and personable. These qualities paired with her work ethic and dedication are proven keys to her success. 

She works with clients to achieve strategic and creative approaches to help their businesses thrive. Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for her work and clients has helped her quickly grow her business. 

When she’s not working, you can find her volunteering her time to help organize golf tournaments on behalf of area non-profits, and sometimes out on the course herself! 

Help us congratulate Katy Wells of Double You Marketing on her One to Watch award. 

Fiber: Do You Want It? 

Posted on 04/04/2019 at 3:29 PM

Nearly two and a half years ago, the Chamber and City collaborated to convene focus group meetings to better understand and determine next steps for downtown. Throughout these meetings, a number of 'common themes' were articulated which resulted in this document , including having broadband/reliable internet available to businesses and residents in Grinnell. We have spent much time over the past two years better understanding this need, and meeting with various providers to determine possible solutions.  

The City and Chamber were recently approached by Mahaska Communications Group (MCG), a division of Musco Lighting in Oskaloosa, to explore the possibility of running fiber to the Grinnell community. After several initial conversations to further explore this option, they have launched a survey to better understand the community need for the service. Would you take a minute to answer this two-question survey to help MCG understand the level of community support behind this potential project? If the survey yields favorable results, we will work with the MCG team to develop a more defined timeline for running service to Grinnell, which would be likely to occur in the 2020 calendar year. 

We look forward to working with our community members to better understand this need in our community. We are also beginning to look at 'next steps' and have recently re-convened focus groups to identify future priorities for the community. If you're interested in being involved and giving feedback, please let me know so we can be sure you're included in these ongoing conversations. 

--Rachael Kinnick

One to Watch - Susan Schmidt

Posted on 04/03/2019 at 12:13 PM

The One to Watch Award recognizes individuals who have started businesses, expanded operations or done exemplary work as part of an organization. These individuals strive toward the highest levels of personal and professional accomplishment, and serve as role models for others in the business community. 

The third One to Watch recipient is a native of Grinnell, and is passionate about the community. For years she has been inspired to consider an entrepreneurial venture and recently took the steps to make it happen. She is dedicated to growing a hometown business and is continually inspired by others in the community. 

Having opened a business in June 2018 in a downtown space, she is passionate about fashion and helping ladies feel their best while having a fun place to shop. Although her business hasn’t even celebrated one full year yet, she is establishing new partnerships and building connections with Grinnellians and other communities alike. She established partnerships with other boutiques in neighboring communities to host various shopping events encouraging women to travel and explore new stores. 

She has many exciting ideas on the horizon, and we’re pleased to recognize Susan Schmidt of Suzi’s Boutique as a One to Watch this year. 

One to Watch - Bill Kostow

Posted on 04/01/2019 at 4:04 PM

The One to Watch Award recognizes individuals who have started businesses, expanded operations or done exemplary work as part of an organization. These individuals strive toward the highest levels of personal and professional accomplishment, and serve as role models for others in the business community. 

Our second One to Watch recipient is quickly developing into a true community leader. Whether through his professional role or his dedication to the youth of our community, he has committed his leadership and time to numerous organizations and leagues. 

He’s a leader with core values and understands community and faith. He teaches these values to the children in our community through his active involvement in sports teams as a coach, volunteer and supporter. His mentorship, knowledge and energy is contagious. 

His number one rule is to Have Fun and the second is to Listen. These rules albeit basic, are refreshing and thought provoking whether in a work environment or on the fields or courts. 

He is one of this year’s most nominated individuals, and we simply cannot ignore his dedication to this community.

Congratulations to our second One to Watch recipient, Bill Kostow of Lincoln Savings Bank and Community Youth Volunteer Extraordinaire! 

One to Watch - Cheryl Juhl

Posted on 03/29/2019 at 4:01 PM

The One to Watch Award recognizes individuals who have started businesses, expanded operations or done exemplary work as part of an organization. These individuals strive toward the highest levels of personal and professional accomplishment, and serve as role models for others in the business community. We awarded 4 One to Watch awards this year. 

Our first One to Watch recipient is someone who is driven, caring and compassionate. Last year she responded to an advertisement seeking an entrepreneur and has certainly gotten her feet wet in business ownership over the past year. She recently started her own business in the service and retail industry and is committed to helping make Grinnell a vibrant place to call home and her business compares to something you might find in much larger cities.  

She is passionate about animals and loves spending her days with them. Alongside the building owner, she worked hard to outfit her new space to help satisfy a growing community need; pet care and supplies. 

We look forward to seeing what she accomplishes with her new business.


Congratulations to our One to Watch recipient, Cheryl Juhl, owner of Hair of the Dog Salon. 

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