Norwalk will celebrate as the Hometown for Heroes when 10,000-plus bicyclists and their support crews pedal into town on Tuesday, July 23, on RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. How does the community claim the title?
“We’re proud to be a community known for heroes of all types, not just our celebrity heroes like Brandon Routh and Jason Momoa, as much as we love them, “says RAGBRAI Committee Co-Chair Jaki Livingston.
“We chose our theme – Hometown for Heroes – because we want to emphasize that there are many, many amazing people in our community who do heroic acts every day,” she adds. “We recognize that our heroes certainly include educators, law enforcement, firefighters and EMS, active duty and veterans of the military, business owners and their staffs, the medical community and caregivers, members of the clergy, volunteers, active families and especially neighbors helping neighbors. We ARE a Hometown for these heroes and many more.”
Co-chair Jim Lane agrees: “RAGBRAI gives us the perfect opportunity to salute all the people in Norwalk who make this a special community. We will celebrate our successes as thousands of visitors enjoy music, great Iowa food, photo opportunities, and more at a day-long event.”
Riding by Freedom Rock
Lane notes that RAGBRAI’s route has been changed to allow bicyclists to visit the Warren County Freedom Rock at Warrior Run on the edge of Norwalk. Previously, riders were to head south a mile sooner but now can stop for photo opportunities at the 10-ton boulder painted by artist Bubba Sorenson commemorating the USS Iowa and a Warren County soldier heroic in World War II.
Livingston and Lane cited just a few of the local heroes who will be saluted throughout the day from the music stage in City Park
“RAGBRAI could not come to Norwalk at a more exciting time,” Livingston said. “We have so much to celebrate and so much happening. Now we get to share our community with people from all over the world who come to Iowa for RAGBRAI.”
RAGBRAI riders will hear other good news about Norwalk, Lane says:
Join us Tuesday, July 23rd for a fun-filled Norwalk celebration!
As one of the nation's fastest growing centers for business, Greater Des Moines (DSM) understands and endorses the importance of maintaining a vibrant and diverse workplace.
Greater Des Moines Partnership acts as a catalyst to mobilize the business community toward a broad economic development vision that incorporates all people as valued contributors and valuable customers. Greater Des Moines Partnership offers a variety of programs to help you attract and retain diverse talent in your organizations, including:
The Inclusion Award honors employers who have championed diversity and inclusion at their businesses and organizations, and in the community. To see a list of past winners and to apply for the Inclusion Award, please go to https://www.dsmpartnership.com/about/award-applications--winners. Applications are open until July 22 until 5 p.m.
The Partnership's Multicultural Receptions offer a unique opportunity to connect with community leaders and organizations that have an inclusive focus, all with the hope that through an environment of connectivity and inclusion we can retain this very important workplace population in our community. The Multicultural Receptions take place every February, May, August and November. The next Multicultural Reception and Roundtable will be on August 22. Registration will open in July. More information can be found here.
In an effort to promote inclusion best practices in the community, The Partnership's Inclusion Council offers a Webinar Educational Series. To access past webinars and resources, visit https://www.dsmpartnership.com/growing-business-here/business-resources/talent-development-resources/inclusion.
INclusion celebrates the rich cultural traditions of the region's African-American, African, Asian, European, Latino and Native American residents. The magazine also includes sections about Des Moines' diverse faith community, accessibility for the disabled, opportunities for those in the military, veterans, young and retired professionals and the region's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities.
For more information on any of these offerings, please visit https://www.dsmpartnership.com/growing-business-here/business-resources/talent-development-resources/inclusion.
Now marking its 70th year, Norwalk-based Capital City Fruit defines its mission as putting “exceptionally fresh” fruits and vegetables on the tables of American families. That commitment has guided the company since its 1949 founding and its move to Norwalk in 1982, one of several companies helping build the community into a center of food production in Central Iowa.
“We’re proud to be in Norwalk and we see the community becoming a food production hub, thanks to our central location, our outstanding workforce and our growing community,” says Brendan Comito, chief operating officer.
The company’s legacy began in 1949 in Des Moines when Joseph T. Comito and Ross and Bernard Grandanette opened a food stand on downtown site that gave way to I-235, prompting a move to SE14th Street. By the 1980’s under the leadership of Joseph M. Comito, the company foresaw growth, purchased land in Norwalk and relocated with 11 employees to a facility on North Avenue.
Brendan Comito, and his brothers Christian Comito, who is President and CEO, and Kieran Comito, who is vice president for purchasing, bought the company in 2008. “By 2010 we knew we needed more space to meet growth so we acquired 18 acres that had been the Holland Family farmland,” Comito said. The company moved to 1850 Colonial Parkway in October 2012.
Today, the 83,000-square foot office, production and warehouse facility has the equivalent of almost two acres under one roof where 150 employees source, package and distribute thousands of tons of fresh fruit and vegetables annually. Produce is sourced from across North America, but Capital City does offer a robust locally-grown program with producers from Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois and Wisconsin, Comito says.
“Because we focus on freshness we can source and customize products to exactly what the customer needs, such as tomatoes of consistent size and quality that restaurants can slice quickly to fit perfectly atop a cheeseburger,” he adds. “We have a very perishable product. We move fast and we prioritize food safety with freshness and quality. We don’t cut corners in food safety or occupational safety for our customers and our teams.”
Team members sort and repack the food with a turn-around time of mere hours to a few days, depending on the item, assuring the exceptional freshness to be delivered to institutional users such as hospitals and schools, retail buyers like HyVee, and Fareway and hotel and restaurant chains.
The company is about to launch a new product nationwide – fresh fruit baskets - after extensive research and testing. “We’re excited to bring this product to Norwalk to demonstrate the quality we deliver with speed and freshness,” Comito says.
Capital City Fruit has experience in the field through its subsidiary Four Seasons Fundraising which supports annual food sales campaigns by school districts, bands and choirs, scout troops and churches, usually in the Fall, leading to three very-busy weeks for production and distribution between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year, he says.
The Comitos have been active in industry organizations and are proponents of initiatives to encourage consumers to eat more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Consumption is currently averaging two and a half servings a day, well below the recommended guidelines of five to 10 servings a day.
“Optimum health would be achieved, especially for children, if people ate more fruit and vegetables. The benefits are well researched and we also know in the industry that there are positive impacts for schools in student behavior and performance when students are served more fruits and vegetables each day,” Comito says. “It’s a critical issue and we want to be in the forefront of encouraging healthy eating, especially of fruits and vegetables.”
Members of the Norwalk Area Chamber of Commerce are automatically Members of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. We collaborate with The Partnership to provide you with tools and resources to make your business more successful.
The Partnership’s DSM USA Research, Stats and Data Hub is a statistical dashboard filled with rich information within the region. Users will find leading indicators along with research and data trends needed to make strategic business decisions. The site offers current economic, demographic and workforce information sourced from official government data on the five-county Des Moines MSA and six nearby counties.
All of the research is accessible free of charge, and is presented in an easy-to-use format. Charts and data can be captured and used in other presentations.
The Data Hub is another way that Chamber Members are able to tap into information and resources available through The Partnership’s regional network.
Additional graphs and resources are available at www.datadsmusa.com.
For more information contact:
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 13, 2019
NORWALK AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE JOINED DSM USA LEADERS TO PROMOTE REGIONAL PRIORITIES ON THE PARTNERSHIP’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY DMDC TRIP
Norwalk, IA (June 13, 2019) – More than 175 Greater Des Moines (DSM) business, civic and regional community leaders traveled on May 8 – 10 to the nation’s capital and presented a federal public policy agenda to promote regional policy priorities and economic development projects during the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s 40th annual DMDC trip in Washington, D.C. Eric Simon attended the trip, representing NACC and the issues important to the region. The Partnership delegation is one of the nation’s largest representations of Chamber of Commerce constituents to Capitol Hill. Trip attendees heard from and interacted with members from Iowa’s Congressional delegation, Congressional members from around the U.S. and a slate of policy experts from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Throughout the three-day trip, participants had an opportunity to advocate for key issues facing DSM. Participants met with members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation and their staffs.
“We come together as one region with one voice to advocate for our region’s priorities during DMDC,” said Kathryn Kunert, Vice President, Economic Connections and Integration at MidAmerican Energy Company and The Partnership’s 2019 Board Chair. “While our attendees completed their work in D.C, the effort to sustain this momentum has just begun and we need the help of our Affiliate Chamber of Commerce Members to realize these goals.”
The Partnership hosted keynote speakers including Iowa’s Congressional members and other Congressional members including U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R – NE) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D – NY). Workshops focused on immigration and affordable housing.
While in D.C., The Partnership recognized Stacey Pellett, State Public Affairs Manager at John Deere and Chair of The Partnership’s Government Policy Council (GPC), with the newly named Michael Sadler Public Policy Award. Sadler, who passed away in 2018, was a past GPC Chair and Board Member of The Partnership, and a long-time attendee of DMDC.
2019 sponsors included Shazam, Inc., Prairie Meadows, Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, Nyemaster Goode, P.C., Delta Dental of Iowa, Innovate Iowa, PolicyWorks, Principal, The Weitz Company, the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Davis Brown Law Firm, Iowa Housing Partnership, Wells Fargo & Co. and the Des Moines International Airport.
Inquiries or requests for more information should be directed to Lucinda Sperry at (515) 981-0619 or email@example.com.
Norwalk and its Chamber of Commerce members will welcome 10,000-plus bicyclists and support crews of families and friends Tuesday, July 23, when RAGBRAI, the annual cross-state bicycle tour sponsored by The Des Moines Register rolls through town. Awaiting them will be a full-day of activities, including traditional Iowa foods, live music, vendors and activities.
A volunteer committee, headed by City Council Member Jaki Livingston and Insurance Executive Jim Lane, has been working since March to stage a day that is both fun and safe.
Numerous local and regional organizations and businesses are planning activities to entertain riders and the support crews of family and friends who will accompany them on the ride which begins July 21 in Council Bluffs.
Norwalk activities will center on a RAGBRAI zone from Highway 28/Sunset at North on the west to North Avenue/R-57 on the east with most activities along North Avenue from Main Street to Cherry Street. Bands will perform throughout the day from a stage in City Park and food vendors will fill the Norwalk Easter Public Library grounds. Dr. Donna Grant is leading the entertainment committee and promises the best live music on the entire 427-mile RAGBRAI route. Featured performers will be Punching Pandas, PianoPalooza and Dan Trilk and the Trilk School of Rock.
Riders are expected to begin arriving in Norwalk before 10 a.m. after an overnight stay in Winterset and activities in the pass-through town of Cumming and to depart Norwalk for Indianola beginning at 3:30 p.m. Riders must leave the community by 5 p.m.
“Then will kick off another party, a free evening appreciation event to thank the community for giving the riders a memorable day in Norwalk,” Grant said. At 6 p.m. entertainment will move to the City State Bank parking lot where PianoPalooza will perform live and food booths and more will set up.
Watch for more details on activities, entertainment, volunteer opportunities and vendors.
Owners of one of Norwalk’s newest businesses – Rock Bottom Tattoo – are thrilled with their welcome to the community as they proudly show off artist-owner Justin Jay’s tattooing skills.
“We’ve had a great welcome and we’re super excited to be here, says Jay, a tattoo artist for more than 16 years. “We are proud to bring our professional experience and knowledge here to run a good shop.”
Jay and co-owner Nicole Lynn opened the shop at 1043 Sunset, Suite 2, with a Norwalk Area Chamber ribbon cutting March 2. “Our commitment is to have a comfortable atmosphere, a place of positive energy where people can relax and have a great experience,” Jay said.
Jay’s specialty is photo-realism, especially portraiture, and his work has included portraits of clients’ children, grandparents and even favorite entertainers, such as actress Marilyn Monroe. Recent portraits included musicians Kid Rock and Jim Morrison.
Jay fell in love with the art of tattooing, he says, while working in airbrushing designs on objects like motorcycles and helmets and observing tattoo artists which led to getting his own tattoos. “I pushed myself to become versatile, did an apprenticeship, worked several years in shops in Las Vegas and a number of shops the Des Moines metro as well as co-owned a shop here,” he said.
He returned to Des Moines two years and a half years ago and began looking for a location. “Norwalk looked like a good spot. Des Moines itself is saturated with tattoo shops,” he said.
Jay and Lynn will market the new business through radio ads on 103.3, flyers and word of mouth. “Tattooing today is mainstream and people of all types and backgrounds are proud to show off their tattoos. I’ve won awards and been profiled in some smaller magazines in the industry,” he said. “My work speaks for itself.”
The business name – Rock Bottom Tattoo – was a suggestion from a friend as well as a reflection of Jay’s love of music. He’s also a drummer but too busy currently to play in a band. “I asked a friend for good names and he almost immediately said Rock Bottom Tattoo and I liked it.”
As co-owners Justin and Nicole will manage the business. Shop hours will be noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Appointments can be made by phone at 515-981-4300 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Walk-ins will be welcome, too. Minimum age for a tattoo in Iowa is 18.
TRUBANK IS BUILDING ITS PRESENCE IN THE NORWALK COMMUNITY
Increasing their already busy involvement in the Norwalk community is the goal of the staff of TruBank a Norwalk presence for 16 years and a Gold Chamber Champion. “We’re here and we’re excited and experienced to do everything we can to meet the banking needs of families, businesses and organizations who are our neighbors in Norwalk,” says Denny Morrow, manager of the Norwalk location.
That includes membership in the Norwalk Area Chamber of Commerce which TruBank leaders view as essential to telling its story meeting the financial needs of current – and future – TruBank customers in the growing market. “Chamber membership keeps us in the know of what’s going on in the community,” says Morrow.
Norwalk staff members are playing roles on many community projects in 2019. Samantha Wilber will be chairing the Kids’ Zone at Music Fest, the September 1 event sponsored by Norwalk Hometown Pride. She also is a member of the Grow Norwalk Committee. TruBank is among the first sponsors supporting the August 2 Chair-ish the Library event of the Norwalk Easter Public Library Foundation.
The bank has sponsored an end-of-the-school-year celebration honoring Norwalk School District educators and staff for 10 years and has been part of the Party Before the Works event each summer.
“Our biggest commitment is the presenting sponsorship of the National Balloon Classic which draws hundreds of Norwalk residents to Indianola each summer, “says Michelle Grismore, an Indianola branch manager. “We’ll be honored to show off Warren County to thousands of visitors July 26-August 3 this year.”
The Norwalk TruBank location at 2351 Sunset Drive is one of eight branches of the $300 million banking organization which was created in 1993 when investors purchased an existing bank in Lucas. Growth has since taken the bank into six counties with branches in Norwalk, Indianola, Newton, Oskaloosa, What Cheer and metro locations in West Des Moines and the Fort Des Moines historic district at 612 Army Post Road.
Banking services include consumer products, business accounts and commercial loans, agricultural products, residential mortgages, trust accounts and investment services through a partnership with Focus Investment Center. “Our team is dedicated to great customer service with a very personal approach,” says Morrow. “If someone needs something, our motto is ‘just ask us.’ We’re competitive and we’re committed to being the best.”
The TruBank location in Norwalk can be reached online at www.trubank.bank or by phone at 515-285-4900. Lobby hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Drive up hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
As a Member of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, your public policy interests are elevated to the regional, state and federal levels. By building and establishing relationships with elected officials, The Partnership has the advantage of communicating the needs of Central Iowa throughout the year. The Partnership is committed to developing and supporting policies that enhance and sustain the region’s vibrancy. With more than 6,400 Regional Members, The Partnership represents a broad grassroots network with a unified voice for Central Iowa.
Part of this work is to connect Members with elected officials to ensure the region’s collective voice is being heard. Navigating the world of public policy can be intimidating, but The Partnership holds a variety of opportunities to connect the people of Central Iowa with the information they need to make informed decisions, including:
Government Policy Council - A series of meetings open to all Members. In these meetings, Partnership Regional Members present agenda items that compose the state and federal policies around issues that reflect the needs of Central Iowa.
Partnership’s Annual D.C. Trip - Partnership Members and Investors are invited to travel to Washington D.C. to ensure needs of DSM USA are being addressed at the federal level. The trip includes a variety of opportunities to hear from the Administration and Congressional Leadership. This year’s trip will be May 8-10, and registration is open. Visit https://www.dsmpartnership.com/dmdc for more information and to register.
Day on the Hill - This annual meeting at the Statehouse provides Members an opportunity to hear from our leaders in both the administration and the legislature, and discuss policies that promote economic growth in Central Iowa. 2019 Partnership Day on the Hill is on April 10 from 7:30 – 9 a.m. at the State Capitol Building, register at https://members.dsmpartnership.com/events/details/2019-partnership-day-on-the-hill-04-10-2019-57476. To review the full state legislative agenda, visit https://www.dsmpartnership.com/about/public-policy/state-advocacy.
Advocacy 101 Webinars - In advance of the Day on the Hill and our annual trip to Washington D.C., The Partnership hosts opportunities for Members to get an update on current policy issues, and to learn how to navigate meetings with legislative leaders.
Through these continued efforts, The Partnership will remain focused on creating and sustaining a pro economic growth environment that allows businesses and communities to prosper. By working together with public and private partners, the region can be a shining example to the rest of the country of what can be done with bold ideas and regional collaboration.
To stay up to date on the various public policy-related activities, click here to subscribe to the Government Policy Council newsletter and updates.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership has launched a new 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 https://www.dsmpartnership.com/growing-business-here/business-resources/small-business-resources.