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Success Stories

Tourism is a mighty big business along the Mississippi River.  Popular attractions like The River Music Experience know this too well. The Davenport non-profit organization is a major player in the Quad Cities’ music scene, with an annual economic impact of $1 million.

Capitalizing on the Quad Cities’ reputation as a hub for musical festivals, the RME celebrates the heritage of American roots music. It hosts over 100 concerts a year showcasing local talent and top tier national acts. The RME is an advocate and convener of the Quad Cities’ regional music scene, providing professional opportunities, promotion, and support systems for amateur and professional musicians.

Although it survived one major economic recession a decade ago, nothing prepared it for 2020 and the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic spared no one during the shutdown – as goes the attractions, so goes the local restaurants, hotels and retail shops. Due to the financial uncertainties surrounding the... Read More

Pets are often considered members of our families, even as our best friends. We rely on them in times of crisis to overcome stress and anxiety. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. As families shelter in place, Americans are adopting pets at record levels, leaving many animal shelters empty.

The adoption boom is not only transforming the lives of pets and pet lovers everywhere, but also the intensively competitive pet industry. While the big dogs dominate the ecommerce and box retail markets, small retailers like Zachary Jensen, owner of Earthwise Pet Nutrition Center and Wellness Spa in Newton, are carving out a niche market on Main Street. Pets are a lifelong commitment and Earthwise Pet strives to provide the best lifestyle for local pets.

Jensen counts on the business’ exceptional customer service and knowledgeable staff to set it apart from the large corporate brands. The business offers everything from natural pet food, accessories and supplies to grooming,... Read More

Father and son entrepreneurs Wendell and Allen Speller opened Speller’s True Value Hardware in Waterloo, Iowa four years ago. As the only hardware store in the city’s north end business corridor, the store quickly established itself as a staple in the neighborhood. Customers appreciate the Spellers’ location and exceptional customer service that support the community’s hardware needs in a timely fashion.

The Spellers turned to their lender at Lincoln Savings Bank to secure an SBA-backed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to cover their payroll and utility expenses during the COVID-19 economic downturn. Thanks to the funding the family-owned business remains open and is now a key supplier of hand sanitizer, face masks and cleaning supplies in the Waterloo community.  The notoriety raises its profile in Waterloo and positions it for further growth as the business community recovers.

Adversity is no stranger to Newton, Iowa. When Whirlpool acquired Maytag in 2006, 1,800 people lost their livelihoods at the corporate headquarters and local manufacturing plant. The closure of an American icon founded here in 1893, took a huge economic and emotional toll on the town of 15,130. In the past decade, the town rallied and shifted its economic development focus to home-grown small businesses.

When the town’s last bowling alley closed in 2015, Newton natives Brian and Lisa McKinney stepped up to support their hometown. They purchased Cardinal Lanes and invested a lot of money and tender loving care into renovations. The Mckinneys worked closely with SCORE counselor Jack Maples, a former business owner and local leader, to gain critical business counseling before opening. Today the business is much more than a bowling alley. It is a family-oriented entertainment facility and a community gathering place.

In addition to its 16 bowling lanes, Cardinal Lanes... Read More