Building of the Month

Major Expansion: Wapsie Valley Creamery

Jesup Business Jelly: Ya'll Come!

Iowa Brag Wall:

  • CNBC Top states for doing business
  • Iowa's low cost utilities
  • Best states for raising children
Governor Tours Pries Enterprises

SBDC Coming to Buchanan County
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Your business newsletter from the
Buchanan County Economic Development Commission

Building of the Month
This well maintained 6,000 sq .ft. building is located in a growing commercial business park in Independence. This highly visible building is located at the intersection of 4-lane U.S. Highway 20 and highway 150. The 1.23 acre site allows for plenty of greenspace and the potential for future expansion. Other businesses in the park include Walmart, Hawkeye Community College, banks, fitness gym, retail, restaurants, convenience store, etc.. The building will serve you well for sales, service, retail, professional office, distribution and light industrial. Contact George Lake for additional information   319-334-7497

Independence City Council Backs Wapsie Valley Creamery Expansion
And the growth continues!  Wapsie Valley Creamery has announced plans to establish a new refrigeration facility as part of an on-site expansion project.  The 24,000 sq. ft. , several $$ million chiller building will allow Wapsie Valley to continue to expand their production capabilities and products by allowing increased storage of their high quality cheese and whey products.  In 2015, Wapsie Valley established a new cheese-making room and purchased equipment that double their production output. Acquiring new customers and creating new cheese products necessitates the Creamery’s latest expansion.
The City of Independence has a long history of supporting business expansion. The Independence City Council approved a $275,000 Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) rebate for the Creamery’s several $million expansion project.  City Manager Al Roder noted that the project will increase tax revenues for the City and will create new jobs..
Wapsie Valley Creamery President/CEO Mark Nielson expressed his appreciation of the City Council for their support. “We are a small, family owned business and we appreciate that the City has continually supported our efforts to grow our company. Our new building and equipment will allow us to stay competitive in a very competitive market.  Our company and  employees are thankful for our all our community does for us.”
Wapsie Valley Creamery has been a fixture in Independence for over 100 years.  It is under management by the 3rd generation of the Nielson family. The Creamery makes a wide variety of cheese and whey products that are sold throughout the United States, North America and Asia.  They are an important local economic development entity in that they have over 80 employees and purchase milk from over 300 dairy farms.


Jesup Public Library to Host Business Jelly

(Buchanan County, IA) Are you looking to start your own business or do you have a business that you want to grow? Do want to become more productive by taking a break from your normal office routine? If your response is yes, then it’s time to Jelly in Jesup on Wednesday, July 20th.

The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC), the Jesup Chamber of Commerce and the Jesup Public Library are teaming up to host Jesup’s first Business Jelly. What is a Business Jelly?  A Jelly is a casual co-working event where entrepreneurs, freelancers, home workers, and people running businesses meet in order to get out of their normal work space. It’s a great way to meet new people and to work together in a social environment. Jelly is a mixture of work, chat, comparing of ideas, passing on tips, and collaborating! The ultimate goal is to encourage folks to “Jell” ideas and talents to become better business professionals or even start a new business.  

The Jelly will be held at the Jesup Public Library Community Room on Wednesday, July 20, from 9:00 - noon, 712 6th Street. Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops and spend a day working outside their office and networking with other business professionals. There will be free coffee, water and Wi-Fi.   The BCEDC is hosting monthly Jellies throughout Buchanan County. Go to to see the Jelly schedule.

Learn from the success of others! At 11:30, Farmer’s Bank President Todd Rohlfsen, will discuss what financial awareness for new and growing businesses.

Want more Info?  Contact BCEDC Director George Lake 319-334-7497  or Jesup Library Director Cindy Lellig 319-827-1533

It's Iowa-Brag time. The following articles speak to the good things happening in Iowa. Iowa is ranked among the nation's best by an assortment of sources. Read 'em and celebrate Iowa!

Iowa is One of America’s Top States for Business
Every year, CNBC ranks all 50 states for being friendly and effective for business.  Iowa was ranked the ninth best state for business and the 2nd lowest in cost of doing business in their 2016 Business Rankings. 
CNBC score’s all 50 states on more than 60 measures of competitiveness, developed with input from a broad and diverse array of business and policy experts and the states themselves. States receive points based on their rankings in each metric. Then we Those metrics are then separated into 10 broad categories, weighted based on how frequently each is used as a selling point in state economic development marketing materials. This way, CNBC ranks the states based on the criteria they use to sell themselves.
Do you like having a profitable business?  Iowa’s the place!


Iowa is one of the Nation’s Most Affordable States for Energy Costs
If you are a company that uses a lot of energy and you are looking for a place to build, you need to locate in Iowa. Utility costs are one of the main factors that determine if a business will make a profit or operate with a loss.   Fortunately for businesses, Iowa has some of the lowest energy costs in the nation.
  • Natural Gas:  Based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Services, in 2015, Iowa had the 2nd lowest commercial natural gas prices in the nation.
  • Electricity:  As determined by the U.S. Energy Information Services and reported by the State of Nebraska, Iowa has the 8th lowest cost of electricity per kilowatt hour.
  • Wind Energy:  We are the green energy leader as Iowa is ranked #1 in the nation for wind energy generation. Based on data from the American Wind Energy Association, in 2015, 31% of Iowa’s electricity was generated by wind.  The availability of wind generated electricity has been an economic gold mind for Iowa for many reasons, including $11.8 billion of capital investments, growing local property taxes and up to 7,000 jobs. The availability of wind energy has attracted companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft to Iowa. They have built data centers worth several billion dollars, and all are operated on wind energy.

Iowa is the 3rd Best State
for Raising Children

We know that Iowa is a great place in which to live, and research from the Annie E. Casey Foundation provides additional proof. Their latest findings declare that Iowa is the 3rd Best State for raising children. Rankings are based on factors of Economic Well Being, Education, Health and Family & Community. We know we have it good in Buchanan County and Iowa!  Click to see Iowa’s profile.     Click to the full report
The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book finds today's youth — Generation Z — are healthier and completing high school on time despite mounting economic inequality and increasingly unaffordable college tuition. Aided by smart policies and investments in prevention, a record number of teens are making positive choices. This year, the annual report focuses on key trends in child well-being in the post-recession years and offers recommendations for how policymakers can ensure all children are prepared for the future, based on the country’s shared values of opportunity, responsibility and security.
After living in other parts of the United States and overseas, we moved back to Independence and Iowa to raise our family.  Good move on our part. Come home to Iowa.

Production Manager Vern Fox, BCEDC Director George Lake, Gov. Terry Branstad, Pries CEO Matt McMahon, Sen. Brian Schoenjahn and County Supervisor Gary Gissel.
Governor Branstad Tours Pries Enterprises
Pries Enterprises, like most manufacturing facilities in rural America, is a multi-generation, family owned business.  Governor Terry Branstad visited Pries Enterprises as part of his annual tours of Iowa businesses.
Pries is an aluminum extrusion plant started in 1975 by Art Pries and Merle McMahon. Combining Pries’ know-how in aluminum extrusion and McMahon’s business expertise, the two decided to start their own manufacturing company. With support from the Independence City Council, Pries Enterprises made Independence its permanent home in 1986. Pries is a growing company that sells product throughout the Midwest and has had several major expansions over the years. Matt McMahon is the son of Merle McMahon and the current CEO.
The Governor sat down with Matt McMahon, Pries employees and local officials to talk about business operations and concerns.  Mr. McMahon discussed his company’s history and shared concerns about finding qualified workers. Mr. McMahon proudly discussed the majority of his 120+ employees that have been with the company for 10+ years. However, Pries is a fast-growing company and it can be difficult to find skilled workers. 
The Governor responded by discussing the State of Iowa’s efforts to support business and manufacturing in particular.  He noted that Iowa has removed sales tax on utility usage used in the manufacturing process.  Iowa also offers job training services through Hawkeye Community College and Iowa has no property tax on machinery and equipment. The Governor very proudly spoke of the Home Base Iowa Initiative that helps military veterans find work in Iowa by connecting them with companies like Pries Enterprises. The Governor thanked State Senator Brian Schoenjahn for the legislature’s bipartisan efforts to assist business expansion in Iowa.
Mr. McMahon then led a tour of Pries’ 100,000 sq ft manufacturing facility.  The Governor and all who attended the tour were impressed by array of products produced and the high quality of Pries’ equipment, their manufacturing process and employees.

SBDC Coming to Buchanan County:
Time to Start New or Grow Your Business

Many existing Buchanan County businesses and new start-ups, have met with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC)r in the BCEDC offices over the past tow years. Isn’t it time you took the first step to building your business?
Are you thinking about starting or expanding a business, but you’re not sure about how to proceed?  Professionals from the UNI Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will be operating out The Buchanan County Economic Development (BCEDC) offices on the 3rd Monday of each month.
The SBDC will next visit the BCEDC offices, 112 1st St. Independence, on Monday, July 18 and Monday, August 16  Contact BCEDC Director George Lake at 319-334-7497 to set an appointment to meet with the SBDC.

It's time to take that first and second step....

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The Buchanan County Economic Development Commission (BCEDC)
P.O. Box 109
Independence, IA  50644

Street address: 112 1st St. East, Independence,  IA  50644

Contact: George Lake, Executive Director

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Buchanan County Economic Development Co. · P.O. Box 109 · Independence, IA 50644 · USA

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