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

Tama County Pitch & Build Q4 2012

Tama County Economic Development presented its second quarterly Pitch & Build event at the Reinig Center in Toledo, Iowa on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, with four entities vying for the top award.  Competitors came from Lincoln, Dysart, Garwin, and Tama County.  Judges were Dwayne Luze, chair of Tama County Economic Development, Attorney John Willett, and Sandy McAntire, owner of Shoestring Jungle and the winner of Tama County’s first Pitch & Build contest.

Carol Groen is starting up a nursery business in rural Lincoln.  She had trouble locating compost for her business.  After much research on the subject, she has discovered that small quantities of bagged compost is not available.  She proposes to acquire compost in bulk, then bag it at her nursery (using the same technique used to fill large amounts of sandbags) and sell it in easy to use quantities.  She has already been in contact with large retail outlets regarding selling her product.

A group of investors are looking into establishing a Stars Prep Academy in Tama County to provide intensive athletic training to youth throughout central and eastern Iowa.  A facility would be available for coaches to lease for training in their particular sport, which could be baseball, volleyball, wrestling, basketball, football, dance, etc.  Each sport would have a designated area of its own.  Each training business would operate on its own, not dependent on any other training in the building.

Travis and Amy Fisher own a meat locker in Dysart and are working toward receiving an Organic Certification, which would make theirs the only organic meat processing facility in the state of Iowa.  They currently offer custom processing services, frozen retail beef & pork cuts, and options for sliced cheese.  Their customer base has grown by a third in the past two years.   They are planning on building a new facility to comply with state standards for organic processing.

Garwin Community Revitalization is actively seeking new industry for their town.  Merle Parks, Carl Zoffka, and Ron Smith worked with Tama County Economic Development to identify a profitable business which is for sale in the state and are looking at bringing it to Garwin.  The business makes gourmet fudge sauce and has outlets in numerous Iowa locations including Fareway and HyVee.  The investors are researching the business and its marketability and are in talks with the current owner.

Also present at the Pitch and Build but not in the competition were representatives from Iowa Premium Beef.  A group of private investors purchased the plant in October 2010.  They selected and hired an executive team which consists of Steve Armstrong, president and general manager, Dean Hanish, chief financial officer and controller, Jeffrey Johnson, vice president of operations, and Jeff Muchow, vice president of sales and marketing.  The building is being renovated, including a new roof which was installed in January 2012.  They have enlisted the services of a design engineer but are not discussing a project start date at this point.

The winners of Tama County’s Q4 Pitch & Build 2012 are Travis & Amy Fisher of Dysart; Carl Zoffka, Merle Parks, and Ron Smith of Garwin came in second; and Carol Groen of Lincoln came in third.  The Pitch and Build Q1 2013 contest will be held on Tuesday, February 26, 2013, at 5:30 p.m.  Contact the Tama County Economic Development office at 641-484-3108 for details on how to enter your concept or business idea.

Photo by John Speer, Tama/Grundy Publishing [l-r Carol Groen, Heath Kellogg, Carl Zoffka, Ron Smith, Merle Parks, Travis Fisher, Amy Fisher]

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