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Be Like Brent 

Posted on 12/16/2022 at 10:47 AM

Have you ever thought of the impact your dollars have when you shop locally? Really actually thought about it? Your dollars can be recirculated in a much more meaningful and impactful way when spent locally! 

Yesterday, my friend Brent shared his afternoon of shopping Grinnell on social media. Wow - what an impact he had on our community in just one afternoon! Showcasing stop after stop, and giving kudos to the amazing individuals he encountered in each location, his dollars are going to be recirculating in our community in the very near future. Heck, they probably already have! 

If you don't want to Be Like Brent, and showcase your shopping experience online, that's okay but please, please consider supporting our small, locally owned businesses however you can. The dollars you spend with them will recirculate far more quickly right here in our own community than if you choose to purchase online or outside the community. And I know - it may be 'easier' to shop online, but ask yourself this - does Jeff Bezos really need your support? Will he invest in our community when we need help with a community project or infrastructure, or will he come to the table when our local businesses need financial support? 

Please Be Like Brent, and shop Grinnell first this holiday season! It truly does make an impact!! 


A Grinnell for All

Posted on 10/21/2022 at 9:13 AM

This one's lengthy, but stick with me folks. It's important. Nearly two months ago, our newsletter titled 'For the Love of Humanity' asked for the community's support to be welcoming to new residents, students and visitors, and many of you reached out then asking how you could be supportive. Fast forward: I am sure by now many of you have heard about several recent hateful incidents on Grinnell College's campus that have made many people feel unwelcome and unsafe in our community, and perhaps even questioning their decision to come here.

As community members, I believe part of our role is to stand up for one another. In my work, I often have the pleasure of sharing all the wonderful things about our community, not only here, but across Iowa. Occasionally, that work also requires me to discuss incredibly difficult things as well - including the recent racial incidents that have occurred in our community.

You might be wondering why the Chamber cares? This is a humanitarian issue. And an economic one. And we care about both.

It is incredibly important that we are a welcoming community, not only to residents but visitors alike. Do you want to visit a community and spend time and money in it when you don't feel welcome? Does the message 'Grinnell is bad for business' impact each and every one of us here? Do recent events have the potential to discourage new residents and businesses, and drive current residents away? The short answer: you bet it does!

If our community is unwelcoming, everyone in our community suffers. We are not able to recruit business, industry, residents, or students. This gravely impacts the economic and social vitality of the Grinnell community. We hear daily from our business community that they are struggling to find workforce - as part of the approach to solve this challenge, we must look to bring in new residents to live and work here, and they need to feel welcome.

We are committed to working with our partners at the college, in the city and amongst our business community toward action; we must be a welcoming community in order to build and grow. While we are actively working with our partners to implement action items, we also recognize that there are incredible people in our community with great ideas to contribute. If you are a community member reading this message and would like to share ideas and/or get involved in solutions, please complete this quick form.

Please join me in coming together to stand up with those being impacted in our community. A Grinnell for All means building a safe and welcoming community, and encourages community members to share their ideas for action and solution.

--Rachael Kinnick

Tax-Free This Weekend!

Posted on 08/08/2022 at 4:11 PM
It's hard to believe we're into August already and quickly approaching one of the biggest events of the month for most families - the return to school! If part of your prep for back-to-school includes updating wardrobes, this weekend is a great opportunity to do so with Iowa's Tax-Free Weekend*! We encourage you to shop at our local retailers first if you're heading out to get new items. Many of our businesses are offering sales and specials this weekend and you'll save money on gas by staying local! Click HERE to find a list off all our independently-owned Grinnell retailers. It may not seem like much but each and every purchase at our small business retailers truly does make a difference!
Whether you're sending your kids off locally to a Grinnell-Newburg school or getting packed up to head to college, we hope you're all able to enjoy these last few weeks of summer!
*Tax-Free weekend is Friday, August 5 and Saturday August 6. For a full list of qualifying purchases, click here.

What Limits Your Health?

Posted on 07/28/2022 at 4:10 PM
Have you ever thought about that before? Really given it thought to realize what may be limiting or impacting your health and/or your decision to receive healthcare? I've given this a lot of thought recently, especially as my kids are growing older. As you are expecting a baby, you are generally seen by a doctor very frequently and even weekly as you near having the baby. But once the baby is on the ground, it tends to become harder and harder to prioritize your own personal healthcare. Seems ironic to me.
But what about other people in and around our community who may not be in this phase of life? Are they able to receive the healthcare they need and deserve? What may be some limiting factors or issues that prevent them from receiving necessary care? Every three years, Public Health Departments across Iowa engage in Community Health Needs Assessments to better identify potential challenges and issues facing Iowans in how they receive their care. Poweshiek County Public Health is embarking on this survey right now, and could use your help. Would you please consider taking a few minutes to complete this online survey to help aid our local public health department in identifying needs across the county?
It is possible that you have already taken this online survey, or been called as a random phone participant - if that is the case, you need not complete it again. Once survey responses are compiled, initiatives will be formed to help address some of the top challenges facing our local residents. If you have questions regarding the survey or its process, you are welcome to contact Poweshiek County Public Health directly. 
Here's to working together to recognize challenges and identify solutions to help aid one another in our healthcare journeys.  
--Rachael Kinnick 

That Costs How Much?!

Posted on 07/21/2022 at 4:09 PM
This week and last, we have been out visiting our independent retailers and showcasing many of the stores and the specials they'll be offering for this weekend's sidewalk sale event. I love doing this as it gives us the opportunity to share our businesses with each of you, and selfishly I love it because it also gives me the chance to connect with these business owners individually to get the 'state of the state'.
But these weeks have shown a new and struggling side of the retail industry. The hill our independently owned retail and restaurant friends have to climb right now is a big one: from staffing challenges to inflation, ever-changing social media algorithms to increased stressors. You may be reading this thinking 'I don't shop locally because they're always higher priced'. But do you know why? Believe it or not, it is not so they can get rich, though they certainly are trying to make a living. Their prices may be higher, in part, because they can't compete with big box stores, they aren't able to purchase in bulk and, of course, inflation has hit them just as hard as it has everyone else. Their freight costs are often more than triple what they were just a year ago, and the inventory often isn't even getting to them in the season when it would sell (e.g. think swimsuits arriving in December!). 
The next time you find yourself saying 'That Costs How Much?!' please remember that these small businesses simply cannot absorb the increased costs they're seeing on a routine basis. Margins are generally pretty nominal for small businesses in a normal time, and with such inflated costs of doing business, there are many cases in which they are not making enough to cover their overhead, and are fearful of passing that along to you and I as customers. 
Please don't misunderstand this as a plea to financially strap yourself further than you already may be, but do take it as a reminder to support local whenever possible. We have a vibrant business community, and we want to help keep it that way - to do that takes support from many to keep the wheels turning. 
--Rachael Kinnick 
p.s. If you haven't been following along, be sure to check out the savings being offered during Saturday's Ridiculous Day. Hope to see you downtown supporting small businesses!

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 
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