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Rachael Kinnick
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Explore the Smithsonian

Posted on 02/14/2019 at 3:13 PM

Have you had the opportunity to explore the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.? Is it a favorite destination for you? We all have favorite vacations we've taken, places we're excited to visit next or trips we're currently planning. We often look to get out of town for the weekend, but did you know that many of us find ourselves doing more stay-cations in the State of Iowa? The Iowa Tourism Conference was held last week, and statistics were released showing that 62.4% of 'tourism visits' are from Iowans alike! We know we have unique places to see and things to do across our great state and we take time to check them out. 


Speaking of interesting things to do and see, I invite you all to become tourists in our own community over the next couple months. Grinnell College is excited to announce a new partnership with the Smithsonian to bring SITES (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service) exhibitions to Grinnell this spring and summer! This partnership will allow Grinnellians and Iowans to have access to the cultural resources of the Smithsonian. 


'Hometown Teams' is the first exhibition and will be on display beginning tomorrow, February 15 through Saturday, April 20. Nowhere do Americans, and Iowans, connect more intimately than sports in their hometowns. This exhibition will be at Drake Community Library in Grinnell, and features photographs, artifacts and interactive components to capture the stories that have unfolded for decades on neighborhood fields and courts, recognizing the underdogs and the legends, and the rivalries. 


The opening ceremony celebration will be held tomorrow from 4:30 to 6:00 PM at Drake Community Library with remarks from Grinnell Mayor Dan Agnew, Grinnell College President Raynard Kington and Grinnell High School Football Coach Brian Sauser. Docents will be on-site during this time to answer any questions and guide guests through the display. 


I hope you'll take time from now through mid-April to become a tourist and explore the Smithsonian! 

--Rachael Kinnick

Love Local

Posted on 02/07/2019 at 10:44 AM



With our busy lives, we often to forget to take time to appreciate those who make our lives worthwhile. Valentine’s Day is a great reminder to take a few minutes and recognize the loved ones in your life. This year as you look to show your love to your partner, family, friends, four-legged buddies, or neighbors, we want to remind you to show some love locally as well. Winter in the Midwest can be harsh as we’ve all seen the last few weeks. What many of us forget about is how that harsh weather can affect many of our small businesses in revenue and foot traffic. So don’t forget to share a little love with our wonderful shops and services in town; many have special promotions going on just for Valentine’s Day!


Week long promotions:

Bates Flowers by DZyne: Of course you can always get your loved one flowers but don’t forget their great selection of plants, chocolates, candles and other home decor!

Bill’s Jewelry: Get a gift certificate to Vonda’s for a free rose with every purchase.


Brown’s Shoe Fit: $14 off any regular price item $80 or more (excluding Birkenstock) and they’ve got new sandals for spring and summer. And for the gift that always fits, a gift card!


Hair of the Dog: Get your four-legged friend some Valentine’s Day themed treats!

Hotel Grinnell: Get tickets to Saturday’s show featuring comedy by Mike Marvell and music by The Sundogs. They’re also offering buy one menu item at full price and get a 2nd at 1/2 price on Valentine’s Day!


Lil’ Miss Chic Children’s Boutique: Get additions on your purchases February 9th - 16th with their “heart drawing”!


Loralei’s Giftshoppe: Valentine’s Day cards and many heart themed gifts. If you’ve got an Iowa lover, stop by and check out their great Iowa themed gifts!

Medicap Pharmacy: Find the perfect Valentine’s Day card and a great selection of tea for your loved one.


Stepping Stones Christian Bookstore: Save $5 with a $25 purchase, $10 with a $50 purchase, $15 with a $75 purchase or $20 with a $100 purchase when you mention you saw this listing or their Facebook ad!

Suzi’s Boutique: 20% off in store Tuesday through Friday, Free rose with every $50 purchase!

Tassel Ridge Winery: Make reservations for Saturday’s Valentine’s Day Wine Dinner or join them early Saturday for their Wine and Chocolate Pairing event!


Total Choice Shipping & Printing: Customized Photo Canvas Prints and Photo Prints, Sweet & Snarky Valentines Cards, or ship Grinnell's famous pizza to your out of town loved ones!

UnityPoint Health - Grinnell Regional Medical Center: Register your loved one for the Winter Wellness Getaway to get them recharged and refreshed.

Valentine’s Day!

Grinnell Chamber of Commerce: Register the business owner, blogger, phone photo lover in your life to our Photography and Videography Marketing Power Hour course!


Los Griasoles Mexican Restaurant: Valentine's Day special is mixed Fajitas for two, two glasses of home-made sangria and a small so papilla all for $24.95!


Peace Tree Brewing: Valentine’s Day Cupcake & Beer Pairing starting at 4pm.


Relish: Live music by Violinist Esme. Specials include; Brie melt with marmalade, surf and/or turf, Lamb chops, fish of the day, and passion fruit mousse in chocolate cups.


Solera: Stop by for a pre-dinner drink, try one of her tasty pizzas, or finish your night with a great glass of wine and a turtle cake or fresh baked chocolate chip cookie!


Strand Theater: Spend the evening catching a great new movie. Click here for showtimes.


What's 1%?

Posted on 02/04/2019 at 1:58 PM


Did you know the average small business invests about 1% of its revenues into advertising each year, with about half of that spent on traditional marketing and the other half spent in digital platforms? As marketing avenues continue to change it is important for businesses to change their approaches at the same time which is why the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce will again be hosting our Marketing Power Hour with the first event kicking off February 14. 


This quarterly event focuses on different marketing techniques and is intended for business owners, marketing directors or anyone with an interest in learning more about marketing options for their business or organization. This year's sessions will focus on a variety of topics including phone photo/videography, blogging and e-newsletters, social media updates, and how to get the best customer reviews. All sessions will be taught be an expert in the industry, and it is our goal that attendees leave the hour with a couple tips or tricks to improve their marketing strategy. 


The first session will focus on phone photo/videography and be taught by Drake University professor Chris Snider. Snider teaches courses in social media strategy, multimedia, digital media and web design. He has spent his career pushing for innovative and creative ways to tell and present stories and has previously worked with the Des Moines Register as editor of Juice magazine, and with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Baltimore Sun. 


All businesses and organizations are invited to attend. Sign-up today for this year's Marketing Power Hour series and click here to find more details on February's event. 

Choose Kindness

Posted on 01/24/2019 at 4:26 PM

Tomorrow kicks off a new 10 Days of Kindness initiative in Grinnell, celebrating the power and importance of intentional kindness in our community. Inspired by a Grinnell College alum, Lori Myren-Manbeck, community members are invited to a number of 'kindness' events throughout the community over the next ten days. These events are intended to provide an opportunity to bring community members together in unique and meaningful ways and encourage kindness through conversation. 


Whether you're able to attend the events or not, would you please take a few moments each of the next ten days to practice intentional kindness? Whether it be personally, professionally, or both it's safe to say our world would be a much better place if we made a purposeful choice to be more kind to our friends and neighbors. Kindness can be interpreted and shown in a number of ways -- please take a few moments to choose kindness in the days to come, and make an effort to keep the momentum going long after these ten days are over. 


To find more details on all the events and activities planned by a number of community organizations and individuals as part of the 10 Days of Kindness, click here

--Rachael Kinnick


p.s. Show kindness to businesses by  nominating them or individuals for our Annual Awards Celebration! 

Meet Mariah

Posted on 01/10/2019 at 1:23 PM

Hello all! I am Mariah and I recently started as the Member & Special Projects Coordinator for the Chamber. I grew up in Montezuma and following high school moved to Indianola to pursue a degree in public relations at Simpson College. After graduating it only took me a few months to decide home is where the heart is.

Before moving back to the area, I spent time exploring career opportunities while trying to decide what to do with my life. I knew I wanted to make a difference while using my degree, I just didn't know how to get there. When I came across the posting for this position, I knew exactly where I wanted to be.

Even though I've only spent a few weeks at the Chamber, I can tell I have found a career I love. Being able to put my passions in communications, event planning and social media towards the community of Grinnell has been rewarding already. I have loved meeting new people and look forward to building connections with many of you.

I am excited to be in the area and get to know the people and city of Grinnell more and more. I love being part of a nonprofit that puts so much effort into serving the community. Rachael and Kendra's love towards Grinnell and the chamber is evident and I enjoy working with their enthusiasm every day. 


I am grateful and excited for this new chapter in my life and look forward to being a part of and learning more about this community!

--Mariah Hirsch

New Year, New Business?

Posted on 01/07/2019 at 10:54 AM

Did you set resolutions this year? It's a new year, so it's time to get started! If one of your resolutions is to explore starting a business, make plans to connect with our office as one of your stops. Our office works with all types of businesses that are looking to start and grow in Grinnell, and aim to be a resource to businesses no matter where they are in the process. 


From brainstorms over coffee to giving feedback on business plans and connecting with community resources, we work with several prospective business ventures each year, especially around this time of year.


If you're thinking of starting a business, now is a great time to get serious about it. Whether you're ready to launch now, or just want to explore the possibilities, please get in touch with our office to see how we can assist you. It doesn't matter if you're about to open, or if you're not even sure if your idea would work here. Let us help you get started. Together, let's make 2019 the year of the Entrepreneurs in Grinnell!

Grinnell Gift Guide

Posted on 12/13/2018 at 3:36 PM

Struggling to find that perfect gift for your loved one this holiday season? We’ve pulled together some great suggestions that you can pick up right here in Grinnell!

Give the Gift of Adult Indulgence

  • Atmosphere Vapors has nearly anything and everything related to vaping. Not sure where to start? Their friendly staff can help you pick the perfect product or they also have gift cards available for purchase.
  • Peace Tree Brewing Companyhas all your favorite flavors of Iowa beer. Get a six-pack or growler along with a t-shirt, bottle opener, or hat so they can represent their favorite beer anywhere.
  • Solera has a number of wines and beers available for purchase perfect for gifts or the holiday parties on your calendar. They’ll also gift-wrap your presents or gift baskets if you need it!
  • Tassel Ridge Winery is just a short drive south from Grinnell but with nearly 40 wines on their list it’s the perfect gift for the wine connoisseur on your list. They also have a great selection of wine related gifts and food! 
  • Van Wijk Winery is just down the road in Sully has a great selection of wine and beer with the addition of specialty coffee and tea! Treat your special person to an afternoon out at their cozy tasting room or join them for one of their weekly events. 

Give the Gift of Green

  • Bates Flowers by DZyne can create a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers or pick up a succulent for those who like to grow their own. With the addition of great home decorations, Bate’s has a little something for everyone. 
  • Grinnell Farmers Market vendors have product available locally in the off-season. Check out the list of participating vendors at You can also purchase Farmers Market gift certificates to be used for the 2019 market at the Grinnell Chamber office. Call 641-236-6555 for more details. 
  • Theisen’s offers everything you need for the gardener in your life. Grab outdoor supplies available now or pick up a gift card they can use on flowers come spring.

Give the Gift of Health and Wellness

  • Acupuncture Clinic of Grinnell offers everything needed to get your mind clear this holiday season. From acupuncture, to Feng Shui to Herbal Medicine, Anne Stephens can provide personalized treatment programs for anyone.
  • Anytime Fitnessis currently running a special with 2 months of membership free when you sign up for a full year! They’ve got brand new equipment, personal trainers, and supplements available to help your loved ones achieve their fitness goals. Gift certificates are available.
  • Bikes to You has all the gear your bike rider will need for 2019. With options like clothing and headlights, bike locks and water bottles, or maybe even a new bike, there’s something for every skill level available. 
  • Brown's Shoe Fit has a great selection of running shoes for your loved one to step into the new year in style!
  • Grinnell College Golf Course can help you get your golfer ready for the 2019 season. Their pro-shop has all the latest gear and can be shopped in person or online! You can also purchase 2019 season passes or pick up a gift card online.
  • Oakland Acres Golf Club has 2019 membership on sale or purchase a gift certificate for your future PGA golfer to practice their swing on the indoor simulators.
  • Paul W Ahrens Fitness Center Crossfit Poweshiek are conveniently located downtown with access to personal trainers and nutritionists to help you get back on track this holiday season. 
  • Postel’s Community Health Park offers a variety of services from massage and relaxation therapies to salt scrubs, body wraps and more. They also have essential oils available for purchase! Give the gift of relaxation with a gift certificate. They’re currently running a special, buy $100 for $80!
  • Sadler Acupuncture specialized in pain treatment. With patient-centered care, Danielle can help you or your loved one start the year off feeling less pain.

Give the Gift of Iowa Pride

  • Awards Unlimited has all the GHS gear your friends and family need to cheer on the Tigers in 2019.
  • Giggles and Bows can keep your little Cyclone or Hawkeye ready for game day with a huge selection of ISU or Iowa gear. 
  • Loralei’s Giftshoppe has unique Home Sweet Iowa decorations and Iowa made candles so you and your loved ones can sport your Iowa Pride in every room of the house! 
  • Pioneer Bookshop brings Pioneer Pride downtown with their great selection of Grinnell College gear. They also have a cool new Grinnell, Iowa sweatshirt. Stop by and pick one up – supplies are limited!

Give the Gift of an Updated Look

  • Anna Kayte’s Boutique has all the latest fashion for the ladies in your life. Shop online and pick up in store! 
  • Bill’s Jewelry has you covered if you’re looking for something a little sparkly under the tree this year. Spend $500 and get $50 off!
  • The Glass Gift Box gives you the ability to pull double duty this holiday season. The latest in-home décor and women’s fashion with proceeds going to the hospital’s Auxiliary it’s a perfect place to shop and give back.
  • Lil’ Miss Chic Children’s Boutique will make sure your girls are perfectly dressed with great casual pieces and runway ready outfits for all those holiday parties.
  • Phase 2 Consignments brings men and women’s gently used fashion to downtown Grinnell, making it convenient to pick up a few pieces this holiday season. They also have a great selection of kids’ clothes and jewelry! 
  • Wagon Wheels West has all your men’s and women’s western wear, accessories, and home décor. 

Give the Gift of a Full Stomach

Give the Gift of Lunch

Give the Gift of a Full Fridge

Give the Gift of Cherished Memories

  • Give the gift of forever memories with a photo package by Cory Hall Photography, Jennifer Weinman Photography or Jessica Greenwell Photography. All our local photographers do studio portraits or travel to where your family is most comfortable!
  • Total Choice Shipping & Printing can put those new photos on beautiful canvases or photo cards for you to share this holiday season. Don’t forget they can ship all of your gifts as well!
  • Ballyhoo in Ink can personalize nearly anything you can imagine (they often hand out their logo printed on a walnut shell) along with custom t-shirts, mugs, signs, and more. If you can dream it, they can make it happen.
  • Beckman Gallery & Gifts has beautiful custom frames for all those new family photos so they can be displayed in your loved one’s home.
  • Stepping Stones Christian Bookstore has a great selection of unique gifts this holiday season. From ornaments to home décor, books and calendars, to cards and gift bags, stop by and find that perfect gift for your loved one.

Give the Gift of DIY

  • Looking for the ever-popular chalk paint? Perhaps a new set of tools or planters are on someone’s wish list. Paul’s Ace Hardware has all the supplies and gear your DIY-er needs this holiday season. Not sure what to get? Gift cards are always a great selection!
  • Malcolm Lumber has the materials for all your woodworking projects (including pallets)! After touring their new kitchen and bath studio you may want to give yourself a big something this holiday season.
  • Village Decorating Studio will be your go-to stop for the HGTV lover in your home. Flooring, window treatments, cabinetry, paint and more, Lori and her team will help you design the house of your dreams this holiday season.

Give Man’s Best Friend a Gift

  • Hair of the Dog Salon can pamper your best friend with a wash, a groom or you can pick up a new toy and treat to keep them busy while everyone else is opening presents. With a great selection of healthy dog food, your best bud is sure to be wagging their tail this holiday season.
  • Poweshiek Animal Shelter’s PALS Park membership is the perfect gift to get your buddy out and playing in 2019. Their 2.5 acre space features a wooded walk area, agility training equipment and a separate space for small dogs!

Give the Gift of a Car Refresh

  • If your loved one is traveling this holiday season, treat them to a tune up and check with Linder Tire to make sure they make it to their destination safely! 
  • Arnold Motor Supply and Napa Auto Parts have all the pieces your gear head needs to do their own work. Gift cards are available at both locations!
  • We haven’t had snow yet but we’re sure to get some this winter so give the gift of safety with new winter tires from Grinnell Firestone this holiday season!
  • Give the gift of the ultimate garage update – a new car! Steve Link Ford Lincoln and Wes Finch Auto Plaza have great options for those looking to drive into 2019 in style.

Give the Give of Usefulness

  • New furniture from Uhlmann’s Home Furnishings will ensure your loved one (or yourself) is perfectly comfortable while unwrapping gifts or watching your favorite movies this holiday season.
  • Trying to stay in touch more in 2019? A new phone or tablet from US Cellular or Verizon would be a perfect fit. They also have a great supply of accessories for all your electronic devices!
  • Give the gift of new appliances from Starnes TV & Appliance

Still aren't sure what to get them? Grinnell Bucks always make a great gift!

Season of Giving

Posted on 12/07/2018 at 3:05 PM

Have you been out searching for the perfect gift for family and friends? I'll be honest, I haven't begun shopping yet or given it much thought but I'm excited to look local this weekend! As the holiday season gears up, I am also reminded of the many opportunities we have to give back to our community. Whether to individuals, organizations or groups, there are many ways to contribute during this season of giving.  


If you're not sure where to start, here are just a few ideas: 

  • Donate to any nonprofit organization. NPO's are doing great work in and around our community, and need our support! 
  • Give non-perishable food and toiletry items to MICA's pantry. 
  • Cheer up our furry friends at PALS by donating supplies, money or your time. 
  • Give a book or a blanket (or both!) to the 3rd Annual Covered Kids Books & Blankets Drive.
  • Donate a coat, hats and gloves for the cold weather season. Items can be given to MICA or Second Mile. 
  • Give a new, unwrapped toy to Grinnell Realty's Toy Drive! 

However you choose to spend your time and dollars this holiday season, thank you for considering the ways we can work together to support our fellow Grinnellians and continue to make this a wonderful community by helping our groups and organizations doing such important work. 

--Rachael Kinnick


p.s. Many holiday festivities are taking place this evening and tomorrow. Check them out here

City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks ♫

Posted on 11/15/2018 at 3:49 PM

Tomorrow evening marks one of my favorite nights in Grinnell: an evening to help us welcome the holiday season! 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. It's 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. 



And this year, our Central Park Holiday decorations and team will be debuting their work during Jingle Bell Holiday! This team of dedicated volunteers has been meeting and working diligently for the past couple months and I'm so excited for you all to see their hard work come to fruition. Please take a minute Friday evening and throughout the next month and a half to say 'thank you' to this team of community members for helping pull everything together! 

Jingle Bell Holiday activities are set for 5 to 8 p.m. Friday evening (November 16) 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 Central Park and Tree Lighting at 5:15pm in the shelter at Central Park and free horse-drawn carriage rides will be available through downtown from 5:30-8pm. 

A special thanks to Grinnell Mutual, Grinnell College and Los Girasoles for sponsoring Jingle Bell Holiday activities. For a complete list of activities and participants, check out the regularly updated list on our website. I hope to see you downtown tomorrow evening enjoying this festive tradition! 

Gearing Up for the Holidays!

Posted on 10/25/2018 at 4:54 PM

I know it seems early (and it is!) but is anyone else sitting in their office listening to Christmas music this afternoon? Just me?! ;) In all seriousness, I want to share some details about the upcoming holiday season to let you know how you can be involved. I was approached earlier this year by a few folks inquiring how the community intended to utilize Central Park for the holiday season. I knew we didn't have the bandwidth to do something internally so we decided to host a few public meetings in the park (you may recall me inviting our readers to join us) late this summer. After just a couple meetings, we had a core group of individuals who have helped create a vision and are leading the charge to create various displays, both lighted and static, in various themes around the park (Candy Cane Village, North Pole, etc).  

The effort is being led entirely by volunteers and our office 

Volunteers gathered for a crafting night hosted by Iowa Valley Community College. Pictured: Janet Muckler, Kathy Szary, Gailanne Dill, Melanie Hempe, Cindy Strobel, Olivia Strobel and Kimberly Staples. Not pictured: Barb Hall, Jill Crotts and Jennifer McAlexander.

is overseeing the project.The group is led by Jennifer McAlexander and includes many different community members serving as section leaders including Michelle Butler, Daniel Clements, Gailanne Dill, Jill Hollingsworth, Kevin McAlexander, Kerri Olson, Dodi & Dennis Reilly, and Jim White. There have already been so many volunteers coming together to assist these individuals with planning meetings, crafting parties and more. We're excited to debut their work the evening of Jingle Bell Holiday (scheduled for November 16 from 5-8pm). The decorations will be up the entire month of December and Santa will even be on-site to visit with kids Saturday mornings in December, and will be hosted by different service groups. As we learn more about holiday happenings 

we'll keep this page updated and share with you again as we get closer.  

Will you join me in giving a shout-out to this dedicated group of volunteers for their vision to bring a Central Park Holiday together? One of my favorite parts of this effort thus far is seeing it bring so many community members together, many of whom had not met one another until their involvement and many who have no affiliation with our organization. What a way to build community! If you're interested in volunteering in the coming weeks to help bring a Central Park Holiday to fruition, please let me know and we'll get you connected! 

--Rachael Kinnick


p.s. New winter decorations will adorn the light poles in the Central Business District this holiday season! If you'd like to support this effort, you can make a secure donation here

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