A business leader invests in location, inventory, strategy, planning, skills and more but the most important investment is the leader’s investment in people, especially themselves. Barbra Ranck is helping leaders make that investment through her business, Courageously Imperfect Life Coaching, a new member of the Norwalk Area Chamber of Commerce.
Ranck launched the business in early spring 2020 after a career in corporate leadership and employee development. Three years earlier she had become a certified life coach, an experience that led her to evaluate her own career experiences. “I began the life coach process to add value to the work I did for my employer but through the process I began to see how I could develop my own career,” she says. “I wanted to help others derive the passion, energy and satisfaction that I was experiencing and to achieve balance in all aspects of their lives.”
Since early April, Ranck has been consulting with individuals and small groups in a variety of programs, using live streaming for personalized sessions, a delivery strategy timed perfectly with the virtual environment of the pandemic environment.
Much of her work in helping business leaders invest in themselves and in their own teams centers on the Enneagram, a nine-types model in which she is certified. Participants take an assessment to start to identify their primary approach to situations and surroundings. Ranck is working with several individuals and local organizations to share the Enneagram tool with staff.
Depending on the assessment, participants may be identified in such terms as helper or reformer or motivator or thinker or enthusiast or peacemaker. “We need all types for organizations, from businesses to associations to community projects to educational institutions to family groups, to be successful,” Ranck said. “It’s important to understand that each of us has elements of several types.”
One of the most valuable outcomes for organizations using Ranck’s consulting services is the identification of unproductive activities, especially venting. “Certainly, a little venting can be helpful and motivating, but the risk for businesses and for their people is that venting begins to take away from productive time,” she said. “A tool such as the Enneagram can allow a person to see very clearly their own personality and, when done by a group, can enable people to learn how to see each other’s perspectives very clearly by understanding each other’s personality. When we learn to see each other, we develop common ground and move away from venting and together toward goals more quickly.”
The results, she says, can be achievement not only for the individual but for the organization. “When you understand and appreciate the personalities and strengths people bring to an organization of any size or structure, you begin to understand when the group will struggle and when the group will shine. The result is satisfaction and success for everyone.”
In addition to consulting one-on-one and with small groups, Ranck has an eight-week program for young adults, also done virtually, with a goal to help both college students and adults new in careers evaluate their strengths.
Ranck can be reached at Courageously Imperfect (CI) Life Coaching at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-778-6489.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership announced #DSMlocal, an initiative to drive more investment to local small businesses in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The campaign will aim to showcase the crucial role small businesses play in DSM and inform the public about the benefits and opportunities of doing business locally — all to help small businesses thrive. The campaign builds on the successful DSM Local Challenge launched by The Partnership and Catch Des Moines that took place throughout the spring and summer and garnered more than 40 million impressions on social media.
“Supporting local businesses during this turbulent time is more than just completing a 7-day challenge,” said Meg Schneider, Executive Vice President of Business Resources and Community Development at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our community and make DSM more vibrant, and now is a critical time to come together to support local restaurants, retailers and all local businesses during this difficult time to keep our region strong.”
The Partnership has created a DSM Local Toolkit for local businesses to utilize and promote DSM Local, including plug and play content, graphics, videos and more. There is also a series of posters and flyers with graphics for individuals and businesses to print, hang and share to support the movement.
Those interested in participating can use #DSMLocal on social media to share how they spent their money locally and lessons they have learned along the way, or promote a new favorite local shop and encourage others to support these companies. DSM Local purchases could be as easy as ordering takeout or delivery from a local restaurant, purchasing gift cards from local retailers or restaurants online or purchasing season passes to local attractions and museums.
Find more resources on The Partnership’s website and make sure to use #DSMlocal on social media.
Representatives of nonprofits, local government, schools and other organizations are encouraged to register for Grant Writing 101, which will be presented online by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach staff from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
Grant Writing 101 will provide hands-on training in seeking and writing successful grant applications. The program is being sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach – Hamilton County.
There is no fee for the workshop, but registration is required by Nov. 2. Call ISU Extension – Hamilton County at 515-832-9597 or online at https://form.jotform.com/200125145502135
Grant Writing 101 will be presented by Jane Nolan Goeken and Eric Christianson, Community and Economic Development Specialists with ISU Extension and Outreach. Both have extensive experience writing and reviewing grant applications and working with various federal, state, local and private foundation grant programs. They will assist workshop participants in exploring various public and private funding sources, and provide instruction and tips on planning projects and writing successful grant applications.
For more information about the workshops, contact Jane Goeken at email@example.com or 712-240-2504.
Polk County, Warren County and the cities of Carlisle, Clive, Des Moines, Indianola, Johnston, Norwalk, Urbandale, West Des Moines and Windsor Heights have announced the final list of recipients of the Small Business Recovery Grant program to help businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 292 recipients received a total of $1.7 million through the program. The list of all businesses awarded is viewable to the public on the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s website. This program was led by the Greater Des Moines Partnership in addition to the participating cities and counties in the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region.
The Small Business Recovery Grant awardees are all sole-proprietors or businesses with 0 – 30 employees that have had restrictions placed on their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant awards ranged from $1,000 – $5,000, with up to $10,000 for businesses in the City of Des Moines.
“The Small Business Recovery Grant program is another example of our public and private sectors coming together to invest in the future of our region,” said Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “We must continue to support our small businesses as a key strategy of regional economic recovery moving forward.”
The grant program was funded through contributions from the City of Des Moines, Polk County, Principal Foundation, EMC Insurance Companies, American Equity, the City of Urbandale, Warren County, City of Johnston, Delta Dental, Meredith Corporation, Nationwide, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa, Wells Fargo Foundation, City of Indianola, City of Norwalk, City of West Des Moines, City of Clive, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa, Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Fidelity & Guaranty Life, IMT Insurance, City of Windsor Heights, City of Carlisle, Bankers Trust, Kemin Industries, NCMIC Group, Veridian Credit Union, Global Atlantic Financial Group, GuideOne Insurance, Merchants Bonding Company, Ruan Transportation Management Systems, Community Choice Credit Union, Warren County Economic Development Corp. and Warren County Philanthropic Partnership.
“We are thankful for the impact small businesses have in making our region a vibrant place where people want to live,” said Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell. “This fund was a total community effort, and we are hopeful it will help small businesses toward the path to recovery.”
This year more than ever it is important to get your annual flu shot. The flu shot is still the best way to protect yourself and those around you from the flu. Not only will it protect you, but it will help reduce trips to the doctor’s office and hospitals, which will be extremely important this year to help conserve valuable healthcare resources.
Timing of your flu shot does matter! It is important to get the flu shot at the right time to make sure it lasts the entire season. Just recently the CDC reiterated that it is important to get a flu shot by the end of October and receiving one prior to September may be too early, as vaccine immunity may wane before the season is over.
When you choose Medicap Pharmacy as your flu shot destination, you are helping those in need right in your own community. Through the partnership with the Food Bank of Iowa, Medicap Pharmacy will donate 12 meals to the local food pantry for every flu shot given at participating Medicap Pharmacy locations from September 23 through November 23, 2020. Do good for you and others – choose Medicap Pharmacy as your flu shot provider. Visit www.IowaFluShots.com for more information.
Medicap Pharmacy is taking extra precautions this year to help protect our patients and staff. We are offering a contactless immunization form option this year. The patient will be emailed a secure link and will complete the online form. Not only will this new option limit the touching of paper, but it also will limit the amount of time spent in the pharmacy. If a patient would rather come into the pharmacy to fill out paperwork, rest assured we will be sanitizing clipboards, pens, chairs, and all areas of the pharmacy to help protect the patients. Social distancing measures will be in place throughout the pharmacy and our staff will be wearing masks and we request that you do too. If a patient doesn’t feel comfortable coming into the pharmacy, no problem! For your convenience, our staff can also offer curbside flu vaccinations.
Flu shots are available during regular business hours and no appointment or prescription is necessary, walk-ins are welcome. Medicap Pharmacy can provide flu shots to patients ages 6 months and up with most insurances.
Come to Medicap Pharmacy where you have a knowledgeable pharmacist giving you your flu vaccine, protecting your health, and helping you pick the right vaccine for you. This year, for those patients 65 and older, there is a new vaccine formulation on the market. At Medicap Pharmacy, we believe in providing our patients with the most protection and therefore we will only have the four-strain available this year, as it protects you from 4 different strains of the flu.
Medicap Pharmacy is part of GRX Holdings, LLC is located in West Des Moines, IA and is the single overall owner of 22 Medicap Pharmacy locations in the central Iowa area. Medicap Pharmacy is distinguished for its commitment to providing expert, personalized health care. In addition to filling prescriptions, GRX Medicap Pharmacy locations specialize in administering immunizations, health screenings and diabetes education.
If you would like more information, please call 515.440.1270 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.IowaFluShots.com
COVID-19 continues to add stress and create uncertainty to our lives. With these headwinds, it is more important than ever to try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The Greater Des Moines Partnership has put together GetActive Workplace Wellness toolkits and tip sheets addressing a number of health-related topics. Here are some helpful tips and resources to get you started.
Your mental health is very important right now, and it is an easy thing to leave on a back burner. One in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences some form of mental health issue in a given year. Stress at home, in the workplace, and with other elements of daily life can take their toll on us. The stigma and misunderstanding of mental health in society discourages people from seeking help and receiving treatment. Chamber Members can use these resources from The Partnership’s GetActive Workplace Wellness toolkit to help employees in their organization better understand mental health.
Additionally, any Iowan can access free, confidential counseling and assistance by
contacting Covid Recovery Iowa at CovidRecoveryIowa.org or 1-844-775-WARM.
Simply being physically active does so much good for us. The opposite is also true. The absence of activity can be detrimental to our health. Exercise doesn’t have to mean running a marathon. Simply working some extra steps into your daily routine and making sure you do a little more standing or walking instead of sitting can have a big impact. Chamber Members can use these resources from The Partnership’s GetActive Workplace Wellness toolkit to help employees in their organization learn tips and tricks to stay active.
In today’s fast-paced world, stress is unavoidable. Demand of work and home have us pulled in many directions. A little stress can be good, as it can make us rise to the occasion. Long-term stress, however, is detrimental to our health. It can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Chronic stress can trigger long-term changes in brain structure and function. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them. Chamber Members can use these resources from The Partnership’s GetActive Workplace Wellness toolkit to help employees in their organization learn tips and tricks to manage stress.
All of the GetActive toolkits can be found at DSMpartnership.com/getactive.
Jill & Matt Larson, owners of Crayons 2 Pencils in Norwalk, IA, and their family.
Oh, to only be a child again. That is the first thought that comes to mind touring Crayons 2 Pencils Early Learning Center in Norwalk, Iowa. The vibrant campus is full of energy where children are consistently challenged in an interactive, hands-on learning environment.
After spending an hour with Owner Jill Larsen and her dynamic team, you quickly understand why Crayons 2 Pencils is so successful. She has incorporated every detail into her business model – respect for children, a family-friendly environment for parents and grandparents, top notch security, a creative curriculum, valued employees, and a high-growth community.
Crayons 2 Pencils offers full day, before and after school care and preschool only programs for children from six weeks old to school age. The children are grouped by age and classroom to meet their developmental needs. Parents and grandparents easily track their activities by following individualized Facebook sites for each class. An extensive security system monitors almost every inch of the property.
The Learning Center’s rooms feature touchscreen white boards for interactive learning and even a giant iPad projected onto the floor for the kids to develop their motor skills. Their creative artwork adorns almost every inch of the hallways. The hands-on learning environment includes a discovery kitchen, a computer lab, a Lego wall, library story time, science experiments, special guest speakers, and classes in music, Spanish and sign language.
The extensive outdoor area is used for both play and classroom activities, including a garden and a performance stage. The families are included in all class field trips and parents can even order take home meals and snacks for after school sports activities, with everything baked by the in-house chef.
Location is critical to Crayons 2 Pencils’ sustainability and growth. Norwalk is one of the fastest growing communities within the Des Moines metropolitan area, with a forecasted growth of over 50 percent in the next decade. The influx of young professional families will drive the need for childcare.
The path to entrepreneurial success has been a continuous growth process for Larsen. She first worked in childcare as a high school student and later started a home-based day care on a military base after the birth of her first child. After relocating back to Iowa, she ran a home-based day care for years as her own family expanded to six children. She took a leap of faith and opened Crayons 2 Pencils four years ago and has been expanding ever since.
The day before the COVID-19 mandatory closures hit Iowa in March she signed the lease on a vacant church just down the road from the Learning Center. After extensive renovations she opened the Crayons 2 Pencils Recreation Center for school aged children in mid-June. The center already has 71 students enrolled, with 90 registered for the fall.
The recreation center has it all – an arcade, sand volleyball court, a kids’ culinary kitchen, a gym, Lego room, a stage for karaoke and other performances, a planned miniature golf course, and classrooms for everything from cheerleading to yoga. The colorful facility features a sophisticated biometric security system and academic and life skills training incorporated into all the activities.
Larsen’s husband Matt is an IT supervisor in the 132nd Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard. He recently left his position as a senior financial counselor at Principal Financial Group after a 15-year tenure to join the Crayon 2 Pencils team. Among his numerous responsibilities is driving the school bus to transport the children. Although he has always been involved in the business, his official employment now adds to the business’ family environment.
Larsen believes a great education starts with a great team. She values the business’ 45 employees and invests in their personal and professional development. She teams with TEACH Iowa to support employees completing their professional certifications and college education. Crayons 2 Pencils and the employee each cover 10 percent of the tuition expense, with TEACH Iowa paying the remaining 80 percent of expenses. The employees even receive 48 hours of paid leave each semester to study and an overnight vacation package upon completion of their education. Crayons 2 Pencils’ Path to Success incentive program rewards employees with gift cards, bowling, special nights out and paid leave for reaching various professional development milestones.
The U.S. Small Business Administration and City State Bank played critical roles in the business’ start-up and growth phases. Larsen financed the start-up costs with an SBA 7(a) guaranteed loan and the building’s purchase and renovations with an SBA 504 loan in partnership with Iowa Business Growth, an SBA Certified Development Company. The bank’s SBA-backed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan allowed the business to keep its employees on the payroll when enrollment temporarily dropped from 150 to 32 children. SBA’s Debt Relief Program also helped the business’ cash flow with the federal agency making six months of payments on the two existing loans.
As Iowa enters the recovery phase of the pandemic, Crayons 2 Pencils is back to almost full capacity with parents returning to work and children once again playing and learning in what has become their second home.
From the skilled athlete to the occasional neighborhood walker, Norwalk area residents are benefiting from one of the community’s newest professional services, Select Physical Therapy, a member of the Norwalk Area Chamber of Commerce.
Since its opening in October 2019, the practice, staffed by Brad Earp, DPT, has been helping clients improve their health with services ranging from creating a home exercise program to sports injury therapy, post and pre-surgery therapy, occupational therapy for on-the-job injuries and balance and fall prevention.
Brad, who holds a doctorate in physical therapy from Des Moines University, has practiced in the field of physical therapy for 24 years. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Certified Athletic Trainer with the National Athletic Training Association. His interest in the field began with his own physical therapy experience as a high school student recovering from an athletic injury.
Today his focus is on occupational medicine, sports medicine, outpatient and home health therapy, all targeted to a positive, healthy outcome for the patient. “My goal for the athlete is a healthy and safe return to the sport as quickly as possible,” he says. “For the non-athlete, and that’s most of us, my goal remains a healthy and safe return to the physical activities they enjoy.”
Patients may be referred to Select Physical Therapy through their personal physician, or by direct access. The state of Iowa allows direct access with some insurance plans enabling clients to directly contact a physical therapist. The first step for Brad is a thorough analysis of the patient’s needs and a discussion of the patient’s goals for recovery or improvement. The result is an individualized treatment prescription which can include gait training to improve walking and balance, hand therapy to support recovery from injury, post-operative rehabilitation, occupational therapy to return to work, and even speech therapy.
Sports medicine services include the Athletic Movement Index which utilizes the dorsaVi system, a computerized system using sensors to evaluate body movement during sport specific movements. It also may be used to analyze running mechanics for joggers and sprinters.
The center also offers tele-rehabilitation with the patient working through one-on-one consultation with the therapist, yet without leaving home, an advantage for many in today’s self-quarantine environment.
Most rewarding for Brad is using both his personal analysis and attention along with technologies and evaluations to make a difference for the patient. “It feels great to see recovery or improvement as patients reach milestones and ultimately goals,” he says.
The Norwalk location at 1327 Sunset Drive, Suite 400, is one of 27 Select Physical Therapy offices in Iowa and one of 1,700 Select centers in 37 states. Welcoming and helping assess clients is Bridgett Kirk who also assures the center adheres to CDC procedures during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership has a Small Business Resources Hub to help small businesses grow. The Hub provides a one-stop-shop for small businesses to find resources relating to legal, accounting, finance, marketing, networking, staffing and hiring, and more. The creation of The Hub was the result of research-based decision-making that helped determine how to most effectively serve small businesses in Greater Des Moines (DSM).
The Hub provides a wealth of resources and helps build on DSM’s status as a great place to grow a small business, including technology companies that would be considered high growth-startup companies.
“DSM USA has been recognized by multiple national publications as a great place to start and grow a business,” said Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “The Small Business Resources Hub will help continue to strengthen and grow the small business and startup ecosystem in the region.”
The Hub is easy to use, with categories organized based on research to help determine what is most useful for small businesses and how they can best find those resources. The Small Business Resources Hub can be accessed at dsmpartnership.com/growing-business-here/business-resources/small-business-resources.
After our long months of sheltering-in-place, a Norwalk business is bringing some springtime beauty to the community thanks to new manager Nikki Huetter at O’Leary’s Flowers for Every Occasion.
Huetter became manager/designer on May 11, just after Mother’s Day but just in time for flowers and plants to add joy to summer weddings, belated graduation parties, family memorials, patios and gardens and ordinary sunny summer days.
“This summer is a great time for all of us to enjoy some color and beauty as we reconnect with family, friends and neighbors,” she says. “That’s our goal at the floral shop to help people get together amid beauty.”
O’Leary’s Flowers for Every Occasion is a member of the Norwalk Area Chamber of Commerce through O’Leary Celebration of Life Center at Sunset and Main.
Huetter’s interest in floral design began as a child when she and her grandmother created small bouquets as gifts and decorations. She continued the interest into adulthood but she first earned a bachelor’s degree in human services counseling from Wayne State College in Nebraska. She renewed her love of floral design while working at a shop when she and husband Matthew lived in Crestview, FL. She earned a design certificate through the Floral Design Institute, an America Institute of Floral Design accredited school.
Huetter previously spent eight years as manager of Plaza Florists in Urbandale where she headed wedding services and was in charge of display work. She’s carried her expertise in wedding services to Norwalk, noting that wedding design is the most rewarding experience for a designer. “A wedding encompasses so many floral opportunities, from small corsages and boutonnieres to altar flowers and aisle flowers, displays for rehearsal dinners, gift tables and guest book tables to the most important flowers of all: the bride’s bouquet,” she says. “Weddings are simply fun to do and it feels great to give the bridal couple and families a beautiful setting”
O’Leary’s Flowers for Every Occasion also creates floral arrangements for memorial and funeral services which include sympathy bouquets and flowers for the visitation or service. Recently Huetter provided a floral display for a service at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery.
Huetter is expanding the shop’s gift selections which include Isabel Bloom sculptures, decorative vases, inspirational signs and plaques and memory stones. The shop will soon carry art poles from Studio M in Fenton, MO. The poles, which can range in height from 10 inches to five feet, are designed for outdoor use. Patio pots are another outdoor décor item and a great spot for a smaller art pole, she adds. She’s also adding stuffed teddy bears, other plush animals and home decor items from the well-known Ganz Company.
Norwalk shoppers will be able to find gifts for any occasion with a visit to our shop, Huetter says. Shop hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Delivery of floral items is available.
“This summer we’d love to see Norwalk and area residents reconnect with friends and family with a nice bouquet or a small gift,” she says. “We’ve all been through an unusual, sometimes stressful experience amid the pandemic. Flowers and plants are a beautiful and fitting way to appreciate and celebrate each other at any time.”
Nikki and her husband Matthew moved to Norwalk in 2011 with their children Jacob and Anna. Her parents are Ed and Diane Kuhl.