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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
p.s. Show kindness to businesses by nominating them or individuals for our Annual Awards Celebration!
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!
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!
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
Give the Gift of Green
Give the Gift of Health and Wellness
Give the Gift of Iowa Pride
Give the Gift of an Updated Look
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 DIY
Give Man’s Best Friend a Gift
Give the Gift of a Car Refresh
Give the Give of Usefulness
Still aren't sure what to get them? Grinnell Bucks always make a great gift!
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:
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.
p.s. Many holiday festivities are taking place this evening and tomorrow. Check them out here!
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!
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!
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.