On January 12, 2016, Tama County Economic Development hosted the 2016 Q1 Pitch & Build competition which showcased Tama County business owners and entrepreneurs and their ideas for new businesses across the county. We heard about a precision ag product service in Dysart, a folk school in rural Toledo, and a restaurant and catering business in Gladbrook.
Pete Youngblut owns Youngblut Ag in Dysart, Iowa. He has a degree in business management and worked for five years as a support specialist for a business that sold precision ag products. When he moved back to Dysart, he had the idea of going into business for himself. He worked closely with his accountant to create a solid business plan and found there was an overwhelming need in the farming community for precision ag services which are not tied to just one dealer. He opened a storefront on Dysart’s Main Street in July of 2015 and will be hiring his first full time employee in March of April. His biggest challenge has been getting the word out on his business and relies mainly on word of mouth and using complementary businesses to tie in with their product. He is currently working with Hawkeye Community College to develop a program focusing on precision ag products.
Chris Anderson is a naturalist and park ranger at Otter Creek Lake & Park, Toledo. He is organizing the Iowa Valley Folk School, which offers “vacation learning” experiences at the park. The classes focus on skills used in everyday life years ago, such as basket making, dutch oven cooking, arrow making, beekeeping, weaving, pottery, etc. He is able to teach numerous classes and has contacts with instructors for many more topics. He hopes to be able to offer one to two classes a month. Iowa Valley RC&D will help promote the classes and Iowa Valley Continuing Education will handle the administrative duties. Pilgrim Heights will offer lodging options at reduced rates to participants. The first three classes have been set: blacksmithing on June 11, wild edibles on July 16, and soap making on August 20.
Mandy Boldt owns Spanky’s Restaurant in Catering in Gladbrook. She has a business degree and started baking for farmers markets years ago. She began operating the restaurant at the sale barn in Tama in 2009 and her catering business grew from there. When Gladbrook’s restaurant closed down, she was encouraged to move her business there. In renovating the restaurant, she discovered the building previously housed a meat locker and theater and is preserving some of its history in her restaurant. North Tama and Gladbrook-Reinbeck high school students are building stools and tables for the bar area and some students will paint murals on the walls. She specializes in smoked meats and will continue her catering business as well. She hopes to open the restaurant in February.
And the winner of the 2016 Q1 Pitch & Build is . . . Pete Youngblut of Youngblut Ag. The next Pitch & Build will be on Tuesday, April 26, 2016.