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Serving Our Community

Posted on 12/15/2017 at 3:35 PM

The end of December marks the end of an era in Grinnell as Mayor Gordon Canfield will retire at the end of this year. He has been serving our community as mayor for 18 years (just shy of the 20-year record of Floyd Beaver) and has done a mighty fine job. I'm sure there are some of you who haven't seen eye-to-eye with him and even had disagreements over the years, but we are certainly thankful for his incredible dedication and commitment as a public servant to the City of Grinnell, and I think it's safe to say he's one of the community's biggest advocates. ​​​​​​

He has received many different awards throughout his tenure as Mayor, and earlier this year was inducted into the Iowa League of Cities Hall of Fame for his outstanding service to the League and municipal government in the state. He's also been recognized by the US State Department for his contribution and support of the International Visitor Leadership Program and has been the recipient of several local awards, including the Civil Servant Award from GPCF. 

Our office has the pleasure of working with the city on many occasions, and we feel fortunate to have worked alongside Gordon on many efforts. From serving on mayor task forces to having him speak with countless groups who tour the Louis Sullivan Jewel Box Bank to greeting the WHO Tractor riders with water and even traveling across the state together to promote Grinnell, we will miss seeing him on a regular basis. We wish him the best in retirement and look forward to the new chapter that will begin in 2018.

Please take a few minutes to attend an open house to celebrate Mayor Canfield's retirement next Wednesday, December 20 at the city offices. Stop by to thank Gordon for his years of service and wish him well in retirement. 

Another One Down!

Posted on 11/30/2017 at 3:57 PM

This time a year ago I, along with city staff, was in the midst of meeting with a number of community members, gaining feedback and ideas for the future of downtown Grinnell. This joint effort of the chamber and city led to the approval and subsequent implementation of the Grinnell Downtown Plan. For nearly a year now, our staff has been hard at work to make progress on some of the items on this list: from gathering spaces to destination events, a parking assessment to hospitality training and a signage program to recruitment efforts, we have occasionally found ourselves coming and going. But we're on our way to accomplishing many items on this list, and just this week our chamber ambassadors and community members officially helped welcome Sunrise Bakery to the Grinnell business community. 

Sunrise Bakery, located at 934 Main Street, is a direct result of the feedback we received during the meetings when participants listed a bakery as one of the top new businesses they would like to see in downtown Grinnell. Along with the brewery, which opened across Main Street earlier this fall, it's exciting to see some of the ideas we heard so much about taking shape. I am anxious to continue our work in the coming months to establish more of the programs that were part of the downtown plan, and develop more of the opportunities mentioned by many of our community members. 

You may be asking 'What's Next?', and let me assure you there is still a lot to do. But if you or someone you know is interested in any of the projects we identified as priorities for downtown, please get in touch so we can find ways for you to be involved! You can view the full downtown planning document here

Pictured above: Sunrise Bakery owner Melissa Vine cuts the ribbon as chamber ambassadors and community members welcome this new business to Grinnell. 

Shopping Small

Posted on 11/20/2017 at 9:29 AM

Small businesses, like those in Grinnell, make communities thrive. They support local job creation, business vitality, local expansion and economic sustainability. 

In 2010, American Express founded Small Business Saturday, to help elevate awareness for the small businesses across our communities, state and nation. This day is celebrated each year the Saturday following Thanksgiving (this Saturday). Many of our retailers will be open and offering special deals or giveaways on Small Business Saturday. I invite you all to 'shop small' and show love for all your favorite places, and encourage you to try a place you've never been. 

Remember, small businesses help ensure local economies stay strong and vibrant, and when small business succeeds, we all do. 

Check out these facts about Small Business Saturday in Iowa and make sure you're following our Grinnell Small Business Saturday event on Facebook or our website for all of you Grinnell steals and deals.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Posted on 11/15/2017 at 4:37 PM

Next Friday evening marks one of my favorite nights in Grinnell and helps kick off the 'most wonderful time of the year' according to Andy Williams. Jingle Bell Holiday is a fun-filled evening giving the opportunity to get out and explore our retail community - downtown sidewalks are filled with people, horse-drawn carriage rides are circling downtown, families are out enjoying treats and crafts and all the shops are decorated for the holidays. What's equally great about this event is that many service businesses and non-profit organizations get involved as well - it's wonderful to see our community come together in this way. 

I'm often asked why Jingle Bell Holiday is so early in the year, and I will tell you that our retailers (and all our businesses) have to compete with the rest of the world, both box stores and online, when it comes to where customers make their purchases. In order to do this effectively, Jingle Bell Holiday is set as a kick-off to the holiday season in an effort to keep more sales local and encourage customers to see what our businesses have to offer right here in our community.

Jingle Bell Holiday activities are set for 5 to 8 p.m. next Friday evening (November 17) and we're excited to see you downtown. Dozens of businesses and organizations have things planned for the evening, including open houses and activities, a winter farmers market, photos with Santa at Grinnell State Bank and double punches on your holiday punch card for any purchases made that evening. Michelle's Dance Academy will hold a holiday dance performance followed by the tree lighting at 5:15pm from the stage in Central Park and free horse-drawn carriage rides will be available through downtown from 5:30-8pm. 

A special thanks to the Claude & Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Grinnell Mutual, Grinnell College and Paragon Church for sponsoring Jingle Bell Holiday. 

For a complete list of activities and participants, check out the regularly updated 
list on our website.

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Posted on 11/14/2017 at 8:24 AM

Friday evening marks one of my favorite nights in Grinnell and helps kick off the 'most wonderful time of the year'. Jingle Bell Holiday is a fun-filled evening giving the opportunity to get out and explore our retail community - downtown sidewalks are filled with people, horse-drawn carriage rides are circling downtown, families are out enjoying treats and crafts and all the shops are decorated for the holidays. What's equally great about this event is that many service businesses and non-profit organizations get involved as well - it's wonderful to see our community come together in this way. 
 

I'm often asked why Jingle Bell Holiday is so early in the year, and I will tell you that our retailers (and all our businesses) have to compete with the rest of the world, both box stores and online, when it comes to where customers make their purchases. In order to do this effectively, Jingle Bell Holiday is set as a kick-off to the holiday season in an effort to keep more sales local and encourage customers to see what our businesses have to offer right here in our community. 
 

Jingle Bell Holiday activities are set for 5 to 8 p.m.next Friday evening (November 17) and we're excited to see you downtown. Dozens of businesses and organizations have things planned for the evening, including open houses and activities, a winter farmers market, photos with Santa at Grinnell State Bank and double punches on your holiday punch card for any purchases made that evening. Michelle's Dance Academy will hold a holiday dance performance followed by the tree lighting at 5:15pm from the stage in Central Park and free horse-drawn carriage rides will be available through downtown from 5:30-8pm. 
 

A special thanks to the Claude & Dolly Ahrens Foundation, Grinnell Mutual, Grinnell College and Paragon Church for sponsoring Jingle Bell Holiday. 
 

For a complete list of activities and participants, check out the regularly updated list on our website.

Have You Heard The News?

Posted on 10/03/2017 at 4:16 PM


We invite you to join us October 19 for an evening celebrating local food! The Grinnell Farmers Market is partnering with Local Foods Connection to host the first-ever Grinnell Farm to Table street dinner as a joint fundraiser for the two organizations. This five-course meal will feature vendor produce, meats and other items. 

Local chefs, Kamal Hammouda (Relish), Scott Turley (Grinnell College) & Melissa Berman (Grinnell Heritage Farm) along with the Grinnell-Newburg High School Culinary Arts students will be coming together to prepare the meal which will be served in a community table setting. Guests will have the opportunity to visit with, and learn more about, the local farmers who are partnering to provide the ingredients. 

The menu features a variety of products from Grinnell Farmers Market vendors and Local Foods Connection farmers including vegetables, pumpkins, candles, herbs, eggs, and more. Locally raised beef, chicken, pork and lamb are featured proteins, in addition to a vegetable and quinoa option for vegan attendees.

This event is designed to bring many people together to build relationships while celebrating our local farmers and local foods. Tickets for this first-ever event are on sale now and are limited. Don't wait - visit grinnellfarmtotable.com to get yours today! 

Uniquely Unified

Posted on 09/18/2017 at 8:49 AM



Our office works closely with a number of businesses and organizations in our community, and is always striving to better connect individuals to one another to make Grinnell a more dynamic and integrated place to call home. 

Next week, an event called Unity Project, hosted by Grinnell College, presents a unique opportunity for campus and community to converge, and I hope you will consider joining me in this interactive art venture. The event is designed to celebrate the uniqueness of each member of our community, and to raise awareness of how 'labels' are impacting the way in which we interact in our world. 

Participants will string yarn between poles with statements which reflect their identities, creating a canopy of human connectivity, ultimately showing that we are all connected by something. This interactive art project will take place next week, Thursday through Sunday at a variety of times (learn more here). 

I'm excited to be a part of this event, and to use it as an opportunity to learn more about all the people who call Grinnell home, and what brings us together to make our community stronger. 

Vote for Six

Posted on 09/08/2017 at 4:56 PM

Next Tuesday marks the day to vote for school board members, and we have six positions up for election in the Grinnell-Newburg School District this year. Did you know that voters are not limited to voting for your district only, but should instead cast votes for each open seat, including the three at-large seats? 


Grinnell-Newburg School Board Candidates: 

District 1 - Dennis Phelps or Laurel Tuggle 

District 2 - Helen Redmond

District 3 - Emily Guenther 

At-Large (2 year term) - Stephen Sieck 

At-Large (4 year term) - Barbara Brown, Meg Jones Bair, Andy Steward - vote for two*

*There are two open seats for At-Large 4 year terms. The two candidates with the most votes will be awarded the seats.


Our school is so important to this community - not only are they educating the future of our community, country and world, but our schools are an important driver of community development and growth. Our school system is one of the first things prospective residents and businesses research, and our school board helps shape the future of our district along with the district's administrators and educators.

While you may not agree with everything a candidate stands for, please know that your vote does make a difference, and is very important for the future of our school district and ultimately, community. 

Elections will be held at the Elks Lodge (720 3rd Avenue) for all voters in the district this year and polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Please exercise your right to vote this coming Tuesday, September 12.

All the Feels

Posted on 08/28/2017 at 9:37 AM



Excited, nervous, concerned and proud may best describe my mood today -- I dropped my oldest kiddo off for his first day of Kindergarten at Bailey Park! He was so excited and I know he is in great hands as our school district has wonderful staff and administrators. 

Students of all ages are heading back to school in Grinnell this week, from kindergarten to college students the community has been bustling with last-minute school shopping and activities. Our staff has met with many new students, teachers, administrators and parents over the past couple weeks and are excited for the year ahead! It is always fun to share information about the community and help connect them in various ways. Additionally, our office works with each of our educational institutions, Grinnell-Newburg School District, Grinnell College and Iowa Valley Community College, in various capacities throughout the school year and we are excited to be talking with them about additional ways we can continue to engage the business community in their planning. 

Our schools are so important to our community, and we are grateful for the opportunities to be involved with their organizations as we continue to implement new programs which better engage our community and businesses. We encourage each of you to get involved in some capacity, whether it be through volunteering or providing feedback when asked. 

Speaking of opportunities, there are two next week! A learning environment session will be held next Wednesday, August 30 at 6pm - the purpose of the event is to host an active learning session for our community regarding learning environments that foster creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication. The following evening, Thursday, August 31 the Chamber of Commerce & League of Women Voters are co-hosting a School Board Candidate Forum at 7pm. This is your chance to hearfrom many of the candidates seeking election to the school board. 

Best of luck to all the students, teachers, administrators, staff and volunteers as they begin another exciting year!

Celebrating Fresh

Posted on 08/14/2017 at 4:18 PM

Did you know our office manages the Grinnell Farmers Market? The market is held every Thursday from 3-6pm and Saturdays from 10am-noon at the corner of Central Park at 4th Avenue & Broad Streets. This week we celebrate National Farmers Market Week (August 6 - 12, 2017) all across the nation. The annual event, sponsored by USDA, highlights the important role farmers markets play in our nation's food system. Farmers markets serve as a lifeline for many producers whether they're beginning farmers looking for a place to start, or established farms mitigating risk by diversifying their revenue streams. When you commit to buying from farmers markets, not only are you putting the freshest, most flavorful food on your dinner table, but are making a real impact on a farmer's livelihood. Not to mention much of that money gets re-circulated into our local economy much the same as if you were shopping at a brick-and-mortar location in Grinnell.

In celebration of National Farmers Market Week, we are launching Grinnell Market Fresh, a new meal service aimed at making access to market easier for customers. The meal service will emulate other services such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, but with a local twist as all produce is provided by Grinnell Farmers Market vendors!

Grinnell Market Fresh brings the market right to your dinner table: we'll provide everything you need to make the meal, including the recipe! To order, simply go to grinnellfarmersmarket.com, click on the Grinnell Market Fresh logo and place your order. We're taking orders for the first meal from now through August 14, and you'll be able to pick up at market on August 17th!

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