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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

2010 EDIES Story 12 of 24: Providing a welcoming gathering space in one of Iowa’s smallest towns

In one of Iowa’s smallest towns stands a grocery store adored by bicyclists, hunters, and pepper tournament enthusiasts.  And don’t forget the 25 cent bottomless coffee lovers.  The reason this store is nominated in the category of community is because it is selling much more than the traditional products and services. It is also creating a welcoming space that brings people together.  Business owner Janice Bazal from Vining, Iowa explains.  Remind me – what are the EDIES

HOW WE DID IT: My parents owned it for 35 years and after they passed away I felt I still needed to keep it open.  There is no other place for people to go and socialize and grab something to eat.

HOW WE GOT THE IDEA: By me keeping it open, my customers can come to the “store”, “mall”, or “gift shop” as many call it.  If your town doesn’t have any place to go and meet people, it slowly dies off.  People forget about it.

OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE: To have it open for the coffee drinkers and making sure I get my deliveries.

HOW WE OVERCAME IT: I have great people who help me when I go to work at Amana.  I work during the day so a lot falls on them. I couldn’t do it without them.

ADVICE TO OTHERS: Even though it takes a lot of work and time to keep a small business open, the people you meet and the friendships you form are well worth it.

WHAT IS NEXT: I want to continue having pepper tournaments on Fridays and the bottomless 25 cent coffee every day.

Photo of Janice Bazal, owner of the Vining Grocery, by Randy Aiken.

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