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Is the Grass Greener? 

Posted on 12/15/2023 at 10:30 AM


The grass always seems greener on the other side, right? It's often easy to look at someone else, another business or perhaps community and want something they have. But the grass isn't always greener on the other side; from time to time I think it's important to take stock of the great things you do have. Earlier this week we were able to do just that as we hosted the Empower Rural Iowa/Iowa Rural Development Council joint meeting here in Grinnell. It was a fantastic day - the weather cooperated - and we were able to showcase the Grinnell community to approximately 120 community leaders from across the state! 


But we didn't do it alone - we had the help of more than a dozen member businesses and organizations to help showcase our community! From hosting a community panel focusing on rural vitality, sharing ideas about how rural remains relevant, to hosting a walking tour with multiple stops around downtown. Attendees enjoyed their time in Grinnell and we loved hosting them here! 


It also served as a great reminder of the many amenities we have here that other communities would love to have. While we must never lose sight of community betterment and future projects, it's okay to pause to celebrate our collective accomplishments from time to time. 


Celebrating Holidays! 

Posted on 12/08/2023 at 10:32 AM

Our community is composed of people from all different backgrounds and religions. It is our hope that all Grinnellians truly feel welcome here. As such, we are excited to announce a new effort intended to raise awareness of different winter holidays and cultural celebrations recognized between November 17 (the date of this year's Jingle Bell Holiday) and December 31. Thanks in part to a grant from the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation, you can learn more about various holidays including Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Christmas and Kwanzaa, among others. Additionally, you can find this information available in Central Park as we celebrate the holiday season via our Holidays in Grinnell programming. 


Speaking of programming, there are a number of events taking place now through the end of the year and we encourage you to check them out via our community calendar. Groups and organizations have committed time and resources to bring fun activities and events to the community, and now need people to experience the excitement! And please do whatever you can to shop local this holiday season - it truly does make an impact! If you're still needing some inspiration, check out our Gift Guide, featuring many local businesses and organizations to support this season.  

If You Could Do Anything... 

Posted on 12/01/2023 at 10:33 AM

If you could do anything, what would you do? Have you ever dreamed about doing something different than the work you're currently doing? Perhaps you are considering a change in the new year, but aren't sure where to start. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and are ready to turn your hobby into a side gig, we encourage you to take that drive seriously!  


December is recognized as National Write a Business Plan Month - a perfect time to think about the coming year and lead yourself to a new path of fulfillment. Writing a business plan serves as more than just a tool for identifying investors - it truly is a roadmap for a business, identifies goals, opportunities and challenges - and encourages you to think about how you can overcome them. If you're just looking to get started, here's a template we often use with new entrepreneurs. Running a business is not for the faint of heart (ask any of our business owners!) but it can be very rewarding. 


Even if you're already in business, we encourage you to spend some time this month reviewing your business plan for the coming year. It is important to update the plan frequently to make sure your roadmap is still taking you down the right roads. 


Grinnell could always use more businesses and business owners. If you could turn your passion into a side gig (or a full-time business!) for some extra income, what would you be doing? Give it some thought, and reply to let me know. I'd love to hear your ideas, and see if we can help turn them into action! 

♫ City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks

Posted on 11/17/2023 at 10:34 AM

The weather is certainly taking a turn today - in hopes to get us more in the holiday spirit, perhaps? As I sit here listening to some holiday tunes as we make final preparations for tonight, I can't help but sing along to 'Silver Bells' as we dream about the busy sidewalks downtown this evening.


Jingle Bell Holiday is always a personal favorite of mine, and we are so excited to celebrate our business community tonight with many of you! We have over 35 businesses and organizations participating in some capacity this evening, not to mention the 20+ Winter Farmers Market vendors who are slated to host market this evening and tomorrow morning from 10A-Noon. 


This fun-filled evening will again feature our Central Park lighting, horse-drawn carriage rides circling the business district thanks to Kading Properties, business open houses, unique and handmade gift items, hot chocolate galore, live music, wine tastings, Winter Farmers Market, visits with Santa and so much more! Most activities are set for 5 to 8PM this evening (Friday). Many businesses will be open late with added activities - you can find the full lineup HERE


Our Central Park Holiday team has also been hard at work over the past few weeks, and will be officially helping kick-off the holiday season with the lighting of Central Park! Holiday dance performances featuring area youth are slated before and after the park lighting, and we'll begin approximately 5:155PM from the stage in Central Park. 


A special thanks to Kading Properties, Grinnell College, Community 1st Credit Union, Edward Jones - Mark & Paul Kolpin, DJ Cox Entertainment and Aircut Studio for their support of Jingle Bell Holiday activities. For the full list of activities and participants, check out the list on our website. I hope to see you downtown tonight for this fun and festive holiday tradition! 

Brrr, It's Feeling Like...Halloween?! 

Posted on 10/27/2023 at 10:36 AM

We're turning our attention to all things holidays, and the weather is simply doing its part to get our minds shifting to colder weather. There are so many activities taking place this weekend for Halloween; we encourage you to get out and enjoy several of them! You can find all the details on our community, calendar, but kick things off tomorrow morning with the Trunk or Treat event at Ahrens Park featuring more than 40 decorated trunks! Following that event, head over to HyVee for some in-store trick-or-treating, kids' maze and prizes. There are still a few seats available for Saturday evening's rendition of 'Frankenstein' put on by Grinnell Community Theatre. And if that weren't enough both Grinnell Pub and Grinnell College Golf Course are hosting costume parties for those 21+. 


After this weekend, our attention shifts to holiday promotion as many of our small retailers are already gearing up for what we hope will be a strong fourth quarter. As you make your shopping lists, we encourage you to shop Grinnell first! And save the date for Jingle Bell Holiday - one of my favorite events of the year - slated for Friday, November 17! More info will soon follow, but we want to be sure this one's on your calendars as it's always a beautiful evening in downtown Grinnell. 


If Halloween is your favorite holiday, we hope you find time this weekend to bundle up and get out to enjoy some of these local activities! And, of course, community-wide trick-or-treating will take place on Tuesday, October 31 from 6-8PM. Be sure to say thanks to those businesses and organizations who are helping to plan so many fun events over the next several days. 


p.s. Special shout-out to the City's Public Works team for their help this week to begin our transition to a winter wonderland - they were able to take advantage of the last few days of warm weather, and we certainly appreciate their help! 

Surpassing Goals! 

Posted on 10/13/2023 at 10:36 AM

Imagine Grinnell and its 1000 Trees initiative are about to surpass their goal of planting 1,000 trees tomorrow! Between the derecho and the emerald ash borer, nearly 30% of Grinnell's trees have been lost over the past few years. What felt like only days after the 2020 Derecho, a group of community members came up with a goal to plant 1,000 trees as a way to replenish trees in the community. 


I'm sure there were many times in those early days that 1,000 trees felt like an incredible lofty - and perhaps unattainable - goal, but with perseverance and dedication from the organization, its volunteers and community supporters, they will be planting the 1,000th tree tomorrow, Saturday, October 14. A public event will take place at Merrill Park beginning at 11AM, and community members are invited to attend and celebrate this special planting. 


This is yet another example of the good that can happen when people rally around a common goal, and I'm so grateful to groups like these folks who had a vision to improve our community and gain back some of its precious tree canopy. Kudos to the IG team and its army of volunteers for meeting their goal, in turn beautifying our community for generations to come - we hope! ;) 

Are You a Good Communicator? 

Posted on 10/06/2023 at 10:37 AM

'Your communication is persuading your audience to either listen or tune out - which do you prefer?' I don't know about you, but I sure hope it's the first and not the latter. Next week we'll host our fall keynote in our Connecting for Women series and the session will focus on tips to becoming a more magnetic communicator - something incredibly prevalent in our everyday lives. From communicating with colleagues, to family members and friends, potential customers and everyone in between - communication is key. 


October is recognized as National Woman Owned Business Month, and I can think of few ways better to celebrate than by hosting this keynote event, and recognizing some awesome female entrepreneurs in our community. There's still time to get your tickets to the event and join us as we welcome our speaker, Tina Bakehouse. 


Tina is an Iowa native who works with others to share their stories with confidence and communicate effectively, both in business and interpersonally. She will join us next week, and we are excited to be welcoming her to Grinnell. Find more information on our keynote and event HERE


Whether you join us in person next week or not, I hope you'll take some time to recognize and congratulate some of the many women owned businesses in our community this month!

Let's Go Fly a Kite! ♪♪

Posted on 09/29/2023 at 10:39 AM


Ah, the memories that song brings back. As a youngster, I would stay at my grandparents' house for sleepovers and my grandmother was constantly singing songs, including that Mary Poppins' favorite as she'd put the record on the turntable. If you're in the market for something to do this weekend, you should check out the Kites Over Grinnell event sponsored by Grinnell Rotary Club. The event kicks off at 10AM tomorrow morning at Ahrens Park with kites flying through 4PM. Plus, a NEW take with a 'night glow' from 7-9PM is sure to be a fan favorite! 


The weather looks to be a last hurrah for summer which will aid in a great day for kite making, flying and watching - the day is sure to impress the novice and experienced kite flyers alike. Special thanks to the Rotary Club for their sponsorship of this event, and to the Lions Club and Vintage Auto Club for their work to bring events to the community over the past month or so as well - events like this truly take a village. While community members are actively looking for things to do, I hope you'll consider taking part in these events and - as importantly - thanking these groups' members for their time and efforts to add vitality to our community. 


p.s. Don't forget - if you or someone you know is new to the community, we invite you to join us free of charge for a New Resident Welcome event next Tuesday, October 3 from 5-7PM in Central Park.

Are You New Here? 

Posted on 09/22/2023 at 10:40 AM

Have you ever moved to a new place and felt it was really hard to get connected? Perhaps you are new to Grinnell and experiencing this exact feeling. Or perhaps you're new to the community but just want to know more about things taking place. Either way, if you have moved to Grinnell in the past 18 months, we invite you to join us for a NEW event to welcome NEW residents to the community! We are partnering with Community Greetings - Grinnell to host a New Resident Welcome on Tuesday, October 3 from 5-7PM.


Attendees will be able to connect with other new residents, and learn more about area organizations, volunteer opportunities, businesses and general community information. All attendees will receive a free meal, courtesy of Grinnell Hy-Vee! If you are new to Grinnell, or know someone new, would you please invite them to attend this event? RSVP's are strongly encouraged for planning purposes.  


We also have a limited number of vendor spots remaining. If your business or organization is interested in getting in front of new residents, you can find that information HERE. If your business is willing to support this event in other ways, please reply to this email so we can get you connected! 


Whether you've been here for a few days or a few months now, we want new Grinnellians to join us to get better connected! We look forward to officially welcoming you to Grinnell on October 3. 

What's With All The Spray Paint? 

Posted on 09/08/2023 at 10:41 AM

If you've walked or driven around downtown recently, you've likely seen quite a few spray painted numbers along the roads, all in different colors. I'll be honest, the first day I saw it I walked in and asked my team if we were working on an event I wasn't aware of - HA! They confirmed we were not, in fact, out spray painting numbers along the sidewalks but instead the City crews are working to locate areas for improvement.  


Believe it or not, the downtown streetscapes first started their renaissance nearly 20 years ago! In 2005, the first streets were completed, taking a major step toward further enhancing the heart of our community. Since that time, the entire central business district - 4 additional phases of construction - has been completed and truly has made an incredible impact. And now it's time for some routine maintenance of the roads, sidewalks and curbs in downtown. The crews have begun identifying these locations, and work is expected to begin next year to address the problem areas. We'll plan to give you an update and reminder next year as the work is set to begin! 


So don't be alarmed the next time you are out and about downtown when you see numbers everywhere, and as you hear people asking about it you can help share the plan and timeline! 


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