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Success Stories

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Inspiration sometimes comes from hearing or reading a story about a small business success. The following stories are from small business owners located right here in southeast Iowa! 

Ivy Bake Shoppe-Ft. Madison and West Burlington, Iowa

Martha Wolf and Susan Welch-Saunders both had a passion for cooking and entertaining. Investing $100 each, along with three other friends, the quintet started baking and selling goods on a sheet-covered ping pong table in Sue’s basement in January 1992.  Today Martha Wolf and Susan Welch-Saunders manage two Ivy Bake Shoppe locations; Sue in Fort Madison, and Martha in Burlington. The business employs 24 part-time employees and has been a featured story in many publications, including an article in Time Magazine in 2000, and one in the Chicago Tribune in 2004.

Sally Nichols - Burlington in Bloom
-Burlington, Iowa

Burlington in Bloom has been in business since April, 2005. Located on Division Street in Burlington, owner Sally Nichols shares her story of starting a business after finding herself unemployed after a major regional employer shuts the plant down.  Sally's enthusiasm and passion for business is contagious! 

Toni Cory - Almost Home Dog Daycare and Boarding-Mt. Pleasant, Iowa

Toni Cory found herself unemployed after her job of 28 years was eliminated. Toni decided to enter into a new career, re-educated herself, and relocated herself her husband and two dogs to Mt. Pleasant to start a new venture and chapter in their lives. Toni's story is a story of true courage and entrepreneurial spirit!

Mike Lamm-Rhodes Jewelry-Mediapolis, Iowa

When Mike Lamm heard that Rhodes Jewelry was for sales in 2008, he and his family lived 40 miles away from the store located in Mediapolis, Iowa. Mike had a small jewelry repair shop in his home, but he saw an opportunity to expand his business to include retail sales, and knew that the reputation of Rhodes Jewelry was exceptional. Working with the Southeastern Small Business Development Center, Mike and his wife Tracy, crafted a business plan and put together financial projections to present to their bank for a loan to buy the business. The bank approved of their proposal, and Mike and his family purchased the business and moved to Mediapolis. The rest, as they say, is history. 

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