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Rachael Kinnick
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Mark Your Calendars for Prairiepalooza! 

Posted on 09/11/2019 at 4:16 PM

You may be wondering, what on earth is Prairiepalooza? It's a new, one-day music festival being held in Central Park the end of this month. Mark your calendars now for Sunday, September 29 for this fun event!  


Nearly a year and a half ago, our organization along with our colleagues at the City of Grinnell, began brainstorming ways to enhance and better utilize Central Park as the space was just getting ready to re-open after its major renovation. We and other organizations have done a number of things in that space since that time, but have always dreamed about a music festival that could be compelling for community-members, surrounding communities and tourists alike. Enter Prairiepalooza. The event is designed to be a day filled with music, activities, food and beverage and great conversation with community, and the genre can change year after year keeping it fresh and exciting. 


While our team is furiously working to finalize more details and bring the event to fruition, we are very excited to announce that our headlining act for this inaugural show is Love & Theft, a country-music duo out of Nashville, Tennessee with several hits including Whiskey on my BreathAngel Eyes, and Runaway


Prairiepalooza is an event open and free to the public; VIP ticket options are available and food, beverage and some activities may require a fee. Learn more and stay updated with event details by liking the facebook page and event here or visiting! We'll plan to see you on Sunday, September 29 in Central Park for the first-ever Prairiepalooza! 


p.s. We are seeking organizations and groups to provide kids' activities (can be as a fundraising opportunity!) for this event. If you're interested, click HERE for the application or call our office at 641-236-6555

One Year Ago...

Posted on 09/03/2019 at 9:39 AM

As I was looking back through past newsletters this week, I realized that a year ago last week we launched a follow-up survey to the childcare feasibility study to gain a better understanding of the before-and-after-school care needs in the Grinnell community. Fast forward nearly a year to the date, and I'm excited to share the news of a new program being developed to help address this community need. 


It has been a lengthy process that our organization has helped lead along the way, from conducting a community-wide feasibility study, to actively convening a working steering committee since hearing the study results, and spending the better part of the past year completing due diligence in an effort to help address the ongoing challenges facing childcare in and around Grinnell. After spending time and energy working to help address this issue, I am very proud to be serving as an inaugural board member for LINK Grinnell, an organization committed to support the community's long-term and ongoing efforts for childcare and youth development in the Grinnell community. LINK's mission is to lead, inspire, nurture and keep children enriched, engaged and educated in the Grinnell community and will begin by launching an after-school program (next week!) housed at Davis Elementary School. 


The organization learned this week that the LINK program is authorized to commence next Tuesday, September 3! If you know of someone in need of after-school care, please encourage them to complete the interest form found on LINK's website. Together with our business community, we are excited to be addressing this ongoing community need and look forward to convening similar projects and efforts in the future!

Extend Kindness

Posted on 08/22/2019 at 9:44 AM


International Student Pre-Orientation Program enjoyed a scavenger hunt around downtown this week. Ninety-four students from around the globe join the Class of 2023.

Our office and the community-at-large has been a flutter of activity this week as we slowly begin to welcome the many new members of the Class of 2023 to Grinnell and Grinnell College's campus this week, and all their peers returning for their remaining years as Pioneers. As they begin to arrive, I encourage all of us to take the time to go out of our way to be welcoming to our new community members and their families, and extend kindness as they become acquainted with Grinnell. 


They've never lived here - they're not familiar with our community. They'll likely make our wait times a little longer in restaurants, our drive time slightly increased as we have more pedestrians around town but let's be thankful and patient for all of it. These students (and their families) are vital to the economy and growth of this community we all love. They may become employees in many of our businesses and organizations, they will get involved to help make a positive impact during their time here, and it's possible many may never leave this community as they fall in love with it just as we have. 


So let's remember to be kind, helpful and patient this week and the next few weeks to come especially. Our educational institutions bring a beautifully young and diverse community that many communities would do anything to attract. Let's all do our part to extend kindness to help make them feel welcome here for years to come. 

--Rachael Kinnick

Calling All Entrepreneurs!

Posted on 08/15/2019 at 10:49 AM

Are you an entrepreneur looking for a great opportunity? Or an entrepreneur at heart waiting for the right time to take a leap of faith? There are some great opportunities in Grinnell right now, from purchasing an existing business and making it your own, to starting something new, and our office wants to help you succeed.  


Last month the Iowa Secretary of State's office announced that Iowans set a record for most new business filings in a single month, for the second month in a row, with over 2,500 new business ventures filed in the State. These business filings are a very positive economic indicator for the State, and Grinnell is prime for business development.


With a few existing opportunities, and several ideas and priorities for the community in the future, we encourage any entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs to contact our office to see how we can help you in your next steps. Simply reply to this email or contact us at 641-236-6555 to learn more and get started today! Click HERE for a list of available businesses and spaces in Grinnell!

Exploring the Way We Worked

Posted on 08/05/2019 at 1:24 PM

Grinnell College and the Drake Community Library have again partnered to bring the latest Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) exhibit available for viewing at the Library. This partnership allows Grinnellians and Iowans to have access to the cultural resources of the Smithsonian right here in our community. The Way We Worked is a tribute to the workforce, and features stories about how we worked, the way we did it, who worked and the why behind working. 

As we explored earlier this week for a Chamber Ambassador visit, the group was enthralled by the interesting facts and photos donning the display, sparking interesting conversation about tales from previous generations. Fran Conn, retired from Starnes TV & Appliance, noted that her father started the business in 1952 when televisions were just hitting the market, and recalled large groups of people standing outside the downtown storefront to watch the television for the first time. What a fun memory! 


Grinnellians have their chance to share more memories of the way we worked in our community as the next Smithsonian exhibit (Winter 2020) will be taking elements of the current feature and molding into a uniquely curated display for Grinnell using bits and pieces of our own history and work culture. As you explore the exhibit currently at the library, I encourage you to jot down memories or ideas that come to mind so they can soon be shared with the team working to curate our own exhibit. You can submit your stories HERE.


In the meantime, make a trip over to the library to explore the current Smithsonian exhibit to learn more about the history of the way we worked. 

Have Your Tickets?

Posted on 07/18/2019 at 2:36 PM

Whew, it's a scorcher out there today! Here's hoping it's not quite as warm during our Farm to Table Dinner which will take place Sunday, July 28 beginning at 5pm (don't worry, we'll move indoors if it's this warm!). Have you reserved your seat(s) yet? This event is a great way to support two organizations in the Grinnell Farmers Market & Local Foods Connection while enjoying a fantastic meal, supporting our local farmers, producers and chefs, and getting to meet and mingle with other community members. 

Guests will enjoy an evening dining near the beautiful outdoor atrium of the new Humanities & Social Studies Center on Grinnell College's campus. The evening features a five-course meal that will introduce you to many of the products sold at the Grinnell Farmers Market or produced by Local Foods Connection farmers. Each course is derived and prepared by local chefs and aspiring chefs. Farmers will be dining with guests and engaging guests about their products and sharing more about their operations.  


Guests are encouraged to sit with someone they've not yet met in an effort to form relationships and build community. Tickets are limited and going quickly, but you can still reserve yours today at Hope to see you in a couple weeks as we host a fun event to highlight two local organizations committed to feeding our community. 

Do You Know The Signs?

Posted on 06/20/2019 at 4:12 PM

Have you been a victim of fraud? Do you know the signs and how to be best aware? Next week we'll be co-hosting a session along with the Grinnell Police Department, St. Francis Manor & Seeland Park and Mayflower Community, to educate individuals of various scams and the signs of fraud in an effort to help protect community members from becoming victims.


Recognizing that Grinnell is home to many retirees, and the 'grandparent scams' are becoming more and more prevalent not only across the country but right here in our backyard, we decided to take action and host an informational session to help generate more awareness.


Anyone (friends, family, neighbors, community members, young, old - you name it!) is invited to attend the free session to hear from fraud expert Neil Shultz with AARP and Al Perales with the Iowa Attorney General's Office. The session will be held next Tuesday, June 25 at 10:00 a.m. at Drake Community Library and RSVP's are encouraged though not required.


Join our business community as we collectively learn more about ways to prevent and recognize fraud and how we can work together to keep our community members protected. You can find more information and sign-up here.

LIVE in Grinnell ♫

Posted on 06/06/2019 at 2:15 PM

LIVE in Grinnell ♫

It's finally summer, and we're kicking it off with a plethora of opportunities to catch some fabulous live music in Grinnell! 


Join us for Farmers Market this afternoon in Central Park from 3-6pm where we'll have live music from local artist Erik Jarvis and all sorts of fresh produce and baked goods. Be sure to stick around after you experience the market for the GMS Sixth Grade Choir giving a performance at 5pm comprised of hits from 'The Greatest Showman' at the Central Park stage as a pre-cursor to Music in the Park at 7pm which will feature the Community Band. 


Another sign summer is officially here: today was the last day of school for the Grinnell-Newburg district, pools and patios are open and the splash pad in Central Park is on for the season! And if that's not enough, our first Friday Night Live of the summer takes place tomorrow (Friday) evening beginning at 7pm in Central Park with live music from Damon Dotson. Admission to this event is free thanks to generous sponsorship from Hotel Grinnell, ASI Signage & Grinnell College! Beverages, food and additional activities are available for purchase.


If you've not gotten your fill of live music yet, you can catch the Prairie Burn 100post-race celebration (and join them for a gravel ride in the morning) in Central Park featuring live music Saturday afternoon and evening, beginning with the Cedar County Cobras at 3pm, Grassfed at 5:30pm and Aaron Kamm & the One Drops from 7:30-10:30pm. 


Wow! What a fun-filled weekend of live music in Grinnell. Make sure to check our community calendar for all sorts of other activities taking place now and throughout the summer. 

--Rachael Kinnick


p.s. Have you signed up for Grinnell Games yet? Join us next Saturday for the Half Marathon, 5K (FREE) or Lil' Warrior Run! Register today at


p.p.s. If baseball is your thing, head out to Ahrens Park this weekend to take in some action of the Small Town Baseball tournament being held in Grinnell. They're bringing 52 teams for the tournament; please help give them a friendly Grinnell welcome! 

Who likes FREE?

Posted on 05/30/2019 at 4:04 PM

The first events in this year's Grinnell Games, presented by Grinnell State Bank, are just around the corner, and while the recent weather is making it difficult to train outdoors, our team is hard at work finalizing logistical details for the events. New this year in an effort to support our community's health needs as referenced in the community health needs assessment earlier this month, and due to support from the Ahrens Park Foundation, this year's Grinnell Games 5K will be FREE for local participants! 


One of the health goals identified in that process is to promote healthy diet and exercise for the achievement of healthy body weights. We recognize that cost can be a barrier to entry for many, and we want to do what we can to eliminate that barrier and encourage more people to take charge of their health by participating in the Games. The 5K at Grinnell Games is open to all ages, abilities and speeds, and we hope to see much of our community and neighbors take advantage of this opportunity and use it as a way to kick-start your healthy journey. 


Participants should still register for all events at when signing up and use code HEALTH to receive a free 5K registration (note: if you would like an event shirt, they may be purchased through the 'Store' on the registration site). Individuals wanting to participate in a chip-timed race should register online and pay the $15 fee which will also cover an event shirt and swag bag.  


Additional events as part of the June 15 Grinnell Games include a Half Marathon, Lil' Warrior Run and Pancake Breakfast with all proceeds benefiting the Tiger Packs program.


Grinnell Games also takes an army of volunteers and sponsor support. If you are interested in volunteering to help make this event possible, please sign up here. And if you or your company are interested in sponsoring these great events, please contact our office today! 


Mark your calendars now for June 15 and plan to bring your friends, family and neighbors downtown to enjoy a fun-filled morning full of activity! 

--Rachael Kinnick


p.s. Individuals who had previously registered and paid the full fee will be contacted by Chamber staff to discuss refund options. 

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

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