Muscatine Magazine Fall/Winter 2022

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Fall 2022
ISSN 2475-7128
Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry

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Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry 100 W. 2nd St. • Muscatine, Iowa 52761-4027 563-263-8895

Muscatine Magazine is published quarterly by: Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry 100 W. 2nd St. • Muscatine, Iowa 52761-4027 Email:

ISSN 2475-7128

Editor: Dena Ferreira, GMCCI

Creative Director: Mike Shield, Shield Design

Contributors: Virginia Cooper, Jessica Myers, Jessica Hubbard, Mike Shield, Megan Whitehall, Jennifer Williams, Meg Summitt, Rebekah Terry, Michelle Heberling, Samantha Kaufmann, Ty Leibovitz, Karen Garrett, Julia Schlidt, Kira Reed, Jen Summy, Nancy Miller, Ashley Richenberger, Amanda Elliott, Alyshea Gow, Lisa Heckman, Janet Clark

For advertising info: Contact Rebecca Paulsen at (563) 263-8895 or

Muscatine Magazine is a quarterly publication focused on Muscatine, Iowa, and the surrounding area. The publisher reserves the right to refuse and/or edit any materials submitted for publication. Published articles and advertising do not constitute endorsement. ©2022

In This Issue...

This edition of Muscatine Magazine features interviews with just some of the many women-owned businesses in Muscatine. The amount of talent and drive from these individuals is sure to inspire anyone seeking to open a small business in Muscatine!

On the Cover

Muscatine native, Janet Clark, captured this stunning country sunset.

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 1

Laura Musser: 19th CEntury business woman

Born in 1877, Laura Musser grew up at a time when women managed the home, raised children, and bolstered their family’s social position through social events, charity work, and the display of an artistic skill such as singing or playing the piano. Laura’s education included Grant’s Seminary, a Chicago boarding and day school for artistic young women. While there, Laura developed her fine mezzo-soprano voice. After graduating in 1896, she then traveled through Europe in 1897-98, studying under a noted vocal teacher in Paris. While cultural experiences were an important part of her upbringing, Laura’s parents, Peter and Tamson Musser, also ensured that she was financially savvy.

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Peter Musser, along with members of his extended family, pursued numerous business ventures.

By the time Peter settled his family in Muscatine in 1869, he had been involved in a tanning and leather business in his home state of Pennsylvania, a lumberyard in Iowa City, and some enterprises in California. Peter, along with his brother Richard, nephew Peter Miller, and C. R. Fox organized the Musser Lumber Company in Muscatine in 1870. Eventually, Peter’s involvement in lumber operations expanded even further, and he also went into banking as a co-owner of the Cook, Musser & Company State Bank before becoming the bank’s President and sole owner. As children from a wealthy family, Laura, her older sister, and older brother, were introduced to investing and money management.

Laura’s financial knowledge was highly beneficial when she married into the family that owned McColm & Company, Muscatine’s leading dry goods store in the late 1800s and early 1900s. When Laura married Edwin McColm in 1903, he was Junior Partner of the store. The store sold high-end goods and frequently purchased wholesale from Marshall Field and Company in Chicago. Laura often accompanied her husband on buying trips, and as Edwin moved into the role of President, Laura’s involvement in the

store became increasingly evident. For example, in 1917 when the new McColm & Company store opened in downtown Muscatine, the structure was named the “Laurel Building,” combining the first letters of Laura’s name and the initials of Edwin’s first and middle names. While Edwin served as President, Laura held the titles of Secretary and Treasurer.

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 3

Some of Laura’s financial investments were captured in newspaper articles. In 1910, The Spirit Lake Beacon recorded that Laura had received an “advance in wealth” due to the ten capital stocks she owned in Chicago banks. At the time, this type of notice was printed when there was an increase by millions of dollars in taxable land value and personal property value. In the years following the publication of the notice, Laura along with her siblings, their spouses, and Edwin formed “Our Investment Company.” All representatives, including Laura and her sister as female stockholders, possessed full power, control, and a voice in investment decisions.

When Edwin passed away in 1933, Laura became President of McColm & Company. Handwritten entries in her 1936 and 1937 journals capture her level of involvement in the store’s operations. (at right)

Beyond playing an active role in further developing the McColm & Company store, Laura served on the Muscatine Cemetery Commission, the board of Muscatine’s YWCA, the board of Iowa Wesleyan College, and through initiatives of Muscatine’s Wesley United Methodist Church. Through her financial support as well as her time and talent, she contributed to the wellbeing of the Muscatine community. She was part

From Laura Musser’s journal...

Wednesday, January 8, 1936

Had to order some blank checks printed… So bills have to wait an extra day. Spent the entire afternoon at the office came home at 6:15 p.m. Worked on account books. Frank Geisler called at the office during the afternoon and paid interest on a small loan.

Monday, February 24, 1936

Home all morning. Went to office after lunch and put desk in order. Deposited building checks and paid some bills. Went to Hoffman’s office to report my impending trip north.

Friday, August 14, 1936

Went to the office and worked on books. Saw Mr. Summers regarding the first floor walls for Penney Co. Had a nice little visit with Cliff (Musser) as I was going into the building.

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How did you become a small business owner?

My husband and I have always had a passion for baking and cooking. During the holidays, we started making pies for extra money. We continued to the next holiday, adding cookie kits and cheesecakes. Since we homeschool, we decided to jump all in and start with an in-home bakery. After 2.5 years in-home, we opened our brick-and-mortar shop!

Who encouraged you to become a small business owner?

Our kids and each other! We try to show our kids that hard work and struggle will shape you into the person you are. They have seen our hard work and struggles and have been there to put in the hard work with us!

What do you like about owning a business in Muscatine?

The people, history and other local businesses! We have a fantastic downtown support system. It’s been phenomenal teaming with other businesses and meeting new customers.

Who helped you along the way?

Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Start-Up Muscatine, and SCORE business mentoring. There are so many resources to help us business owners!

Do you have any idols or outside inspirations?

We follow a lot of other like-minded business owners and are constantly

getting new ideas as well as learning and developing new skills and trends.

What do you wish you knew before opening a business?

Don’t do everything yourself! It is okay to ask for help.

What were some unforeseen challenges?

We opened during the beginning of summer, which is one of the slowest times of the year. We had to adapt and change to navigate during those times.

How do you prepare for each day? What is a typical day like?

Our days start extremely early to make fresh baked goods daily!

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs, especially women?

Follow your dreams, don’t take “no” for an answer. Always be humble and learn, know your markets, keep things simple, get a mentor, ask questions, do your research, find your niche!

What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

Because we accommodate food allergies and restrictions such as gluten-free, dairy-free, diabetic/keto and now corn allergies, it brings so much joy to be able to provide an option to those who aren’t able to walk into a

enjoy an item. Hearing from people who are so thankful for this option makes it extremely rewarding.

Are you involved in any upcoming events?

Dec 1 - Holiday Paint Party

Dec 2 - Holiday Stroll

Dec 10 - Nailed It Christmas Cake Party Edition

What are your future plans for the business?

We want to continue to expand and partner with other local businesses, hold more events, and continue to offer great products

6 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022
Bakery & Pastries Owner: Megan & Jeremiah Whitehall KeDough Bakery & Pastries offers desserts and pastries of all kinds! Our menu changes daily in-store. On top of everyday items, we always have a keto and gluten-friendly option!  201 W. 2nd St • Muscatine 563-554-8240 Find us on: Facebook Hours: Tuesday - Friday: 6:30 am - 1 pm Saturday: 8 am - 11 am KeDough Bakery & Pastries
Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 7 DOWNTOWN MUSCATINE BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED HOMES, KITCHENS & BATHS Visit our website for our portfolio at: FeatherYourNestInteriorsinc com Come see us at our new location! 106 East 2nd St 563-264-3273 210 E 2nd St. Downtown Muscatine 131 E. 2nd Street Downtown Muscatine 563.262.8264 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 7 SHOP DINE EXPLORE

Small Businesses, Big Rewards

Being a small business owner isn’t always easy, but with teamwork, the payoff is often worth the hard work. Jennifer Williams and Meg Summitt can both attest to this. Owners of RED&LEE Vintage and Meg’s Vintage Collective, these independent, female business owners put themselves out on a limb when they decided to open their stores. Supporting one another through the process has made all the difference. Says Summitt, “It’s nice to have that support system right next door. We can lean on each other.”

When Meg’s Vintage Collective came on the scene in 2017, Summitt knew there would be rewards and challenges as she worked to get her business off the

ground. Collaborating with other vendors was one of the first steps in getting the store up and running. Williams just happened to be one of those vendors. She and her sister shared a booth together at Meg’s, combining forces to bring a distinctive blend of offerings to the Muscatine community. Eventually, Williams branched out and expanded her collection, creating a need for a larger space. Keeping her business in the downtown area felt like the right, next step. When Summit heard the building next to Meg’s Vintage Collective was available, she passed the word along to Williams who jumped at the chance to create a new space for her shop. And, in June of 2020 RED&LEE Vintage found a home of its own.

While both businesses focus on vintage

collections, they each bring a unique flavor to the downtown area. Summit always had an interest in vintage items, and as a former manager for Stuff, Etc. in Davenport, her love for vintage only grew. She’d often find herself helping vendors price their items. She had a knack for it and enjoyed the research that went into items. Eventually, this morphed into the idea of owning her own business. Seven years later her dream became a reality. Meg’s Vintage Collective boasts 25 vendors offering vintage vinyl, crystals and jewelry, home decor, Muscatine nostalgia items, and a little bit of everything in between. Meg’s is staffed by collaborative co-workers, many of them women, who share in her dream to bring fun and funky to the river town of Muscatine. “It’s been a group effort”, says

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Summitt. “I feel fortunate for the crew and the opportunity to build the business with them.”

RED&LEE Vintage focuses on a diversified collection of curated items such as home decor, clothing, and accessories including handbags and jewelry. “I like the idea of offering a variety of nice things at a reasonable price”, says Williams. Her long history of working for Marc Jacobs in Chicago, LA, and New York is apparent in the clothing she offers and her ability to help style a customer based on their specific likes and taste. “People just feel better when they feel good in their clothes”, says Williams. With lots of unique and one of a kind items, Williams hopes to draw in people from all over. She is aligned with the ideas of diversity and variety. With clothing sizes ranging from 0-22 while incorporating the idea of sustainability, she’s working to create an

all-inclusive shopping experience. Named after her parents, RED&LEE Vintage offers an experience like no other. A one woman show with a welcoming atmosphere, her shop offers up a little something for everyone.

Both womens’ success hasn’t been without challenges though. The pandemic proved that time and again.

Meg’s Vintage Collective hours:

Mon, Tues, Wed: 11 am - 5 pm Thursday and Friday: 11 am - 6 pm Saturday: 10 am - 4 pm Sunday: 12 pm - 4 pm

RED& LEE Vintage Store hours: Wednesday - Friday 12 pm - 6 pm Saturdays 11 pm - 4 pm

Rallying together, Summitt and Williams found creative ways to keep their doors open. From Friday night Facebook Live sales, to showcasing inventory on Instagram Reels, they worked together and offered one another support, never backing down from the obstacles they faced. “You have to believe in your dreams, and in doing so they’ll materialize. That’s the power of positive thinking,” says Summitt. They continue to work together, recommending one another’s shops to customers. Williams laughs, “We’ve even joked that someday we’ll build a secret, underground passageway between our stores”.

RED&LEE Vintage and Meg’s Vintage Collective can be found on Facebook and Instagram. Parking for both businesses is available throughout the downtown area along with free parking 7 days a week at Muscatine’s riverfront. n

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 9
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Flipped Out Furniture

How did you become a small business owner?

I first started this business with a couple of pieces that I found that were headed to the trash. I started working on them at my parents’ house in my dad’s garage workshop. A neighbor of theirs saw what I had done and immediately asked if she could purchase them. A few weeks later, I opened a booth with my dad at the Farmers Market on the river front in downtown Davenport. Towards the end of the Farmers Market season, I signed a year lease and opened a brickand-mortar location in Davenport.

My dad was my number one supporter of me starting this adventure. I had been and still was a stay-at-home mom. This was me becoming something new, something that I always knew that I had

wanted to do. I was very blessed that my family was so supportive and excited for me.

We eventually decided to move our whole family to Muscatine County and closed our Davenport location. We were looking for a new location for our store, narrowing it down between Iowa City and Muscatine, Muscatine won our hearts for sure. The people in this city are simply amazing. My husband Josh and I walked the downtown area before selecting a building for our shop and the other small business owners that we met that day were so welcoming and extremely encouraging. That helped seal the deal for us in Muscatine.

Some of our biggest support came from the Muscatine Chamber and the City of Muscatine. We were encouraged

to participate in many events and happenings within the city which helped us reach out more to the local community and let people know more about us and what we have to offer.

Who inspired you to become a small business owner?

My dad and my husband have both inspired me and taught me so many things about wood-working, furniture repair, and working with power tools. Growing up, my dad who is extremely handy with just about everything, taught me how to use a drill and a sander at a young age, naturally, my dad was my mentor and teacher. My husband Josh inspires me everyday to do my best and be my best, he is truly my heart and soul and I don’t think I could do any of this without him.

10 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022
We take old pieces of furniture that need some love and give them a new look. New things in the shop every week!

What were some unforeseen challenges?

We opened our shop in Muscatine November of 2019. Basically, as soon as we got going, right after Christmas, COVID-19 happened. It was devastating and extremely scary. We poured every single cent we had into this shop and building our inventory and then there was the mandatory shut down. I’m pretty sure I went into a complete shock. Maxing out credit cards and taking out loans was the only way we could survive. I have a sign in our store right now that says, “When you shop with us you are directly impacting our lives and the lives of our children. Thank you for shopping small.” That sign is absolutely true and I made that during covid. I’m not sure if the community realizes how much a small business relies on them for support. Not just buying products, but liking their social media, sharing social media, telling friends and family members about us. Everything helps!

What do you wish you knew before opening a business?

I wish I would have known when I first started this business that I would be working 24/7. My “vacations” are shopping for the store, looking for inventory that’s different and interesting. Not to mention sleepless nights worrying about whether or not I’m doing things right or need to change this or that.

When I first started, my Dad and I worked on pieces in his garage. At that time he had a 4 car garage. It soon became too small for all of the building, fixing-repairs, and painting

we had going on. When we opened our storefront in Davenport, we weren’t exactly sure how to let people know about us. Harrison Street is very busy and we had a lot of traffic in front of our shop, but people drove right past us. It could be very hard trying to spread the word and get people to come in and see what we were about.

What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

The feeling of owning my own business is pretty awesome. It’s not as easy as a lot of people think, however, it’s awesome to sit back, look around, and just be so grateful that God has blessed me so much, to be able to feed my family and also do something that I absolutely love to do. It’s just such a gift. This place is me. I put my heart and my soul into every piece that I work on. I want my customers to love what they purchase here at Flipped Out Furniture.

One of the most rewarding things about owning a small business like mine, especially in the City of Muscatine, is the locals. This town is so welcoming! The people here in Muscatine are more than just “Iowa Nice”, they are genuinely great people. I am SO blessed to be a member of this awesome community. I have to give a special shout out to Meg at Meg’s Vintage Collective. She was the very first to welcome Josh and I to the area and has been an awesome friend ever since.

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs, especially women?

If someone asked me for advice on starting a small business, I would suggest several things. First, make sure you have enough money to start. Assume that you won’t make any profit for the first year or so. There are so many hidden costs that you cannot be prepared for or like us, a pandemic two months after you open your doors in your new location. You need to spend

a lot of time on social media interacting with your customers. I used to answer messages and comments at all hours of the night for years! That began to wear on me eventually and now I have to limit my online availability to normal waking hours.

What are your future plans for the business?

As far as the future goes, we are praying for no more pandemics, or crazy economic disasters. We are hoping that people will understand the importance of spending their money locally and more pertaining to us, the importance of buying good quality furniture that will last vs. Walmart or Ikea particle board / made in China furniture that may look good for a year or two and then end up in the landfill. When you invest in a piece for your home, its best to think long-term instead of the shortterm quick fix.

We are always looking forward to community events, Christmas Events, and anything local that we can support or be apart of.

Is there anything else about your business you would like people to know?

I need to give my amazing husband Josh the credit he deserves. Josh is my anchor partner in this business and in life. Without Josh, I couldn’t or wouldn’t want to do this business. he helps me make decisions about virtually everything. Josh is just as equally involved as I am to be honest. His creativity and knowledge is outstanding, he makes the most amazing candles, builds the most awesome pieces out of some of the most unique and hard-to-work with materials. Josh has so much knowledge and experience working with tools, wood, and his hands. Team Terry, we call ourselves! n

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 11
225 E. 2nd St • Muscatine 563-271-3875 Hours: Thursday - Saturday: 12 pm - 6 pm Fridays 9 am - 6 pm Find us on: Facebook, Instagram Flipped Out Furniture

Pro Hair Design

How did you become a small business owner?

At the beginning of 2012 I was working in my collegiately trained field, was ready for something new, but wasn’t quite sure what the next step was. Around that time, Debbie Duncan (the owner of Pro Hair Designs) approached me that she had been praying about selling Pro Hair and that my name was coming to her mind as a potential new owner. I had worked intermittently at Pro Hair throughout highschool and college and always loved the team of people, the environment and energy. After some prayer and conversations, I embarked on a 9-month journey to learn the business and salon industry, and we began the smooth transition of ownership as a unified team.

What/who encouraged you to become a small business owner?

Debbie Duncan (the former owner) has been the biggest mentor, encourager and shoulder-to-cry on. I could not have done this journey without her support. It has been 11 years now since we first began our conversations and she is still my biggest sounding board. My parents, Ray and Jamie Oehme, also played a huge part during my formative years instilling confidence that I was a leader and capable of accomplishing any dream I pursued.

What do you like about owning a business in Muscatine?

The best part of my day is visiting with our customers that come into our salon who become friends. I love how well I get to know our guests and how friendly everyone is! I also love how supportive fellow downtown business owners are of one another, and that so many of our local downtown businesses are owned by women! I am proud to be a part of a community where its members support shopping local as much as ours does. I have so many examples of ways our guests supported and cheered us along during pandemic times to show how much they value our business in the community. It was really remarkable.

Who/what helped you along the way?

This list could be a book! In addition to the mentors I’ve already mentioned, Ron Monahan at First National Bank was instrumental in helping me navigate all the financing decisions/processes as well as during the pandemic ensuring I knew of all the financial opportunities available to help keep my business afloat. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Phyllis Kurz who worked alongside me for many years and trained me in the details of bookkeeping. Along with her, I have a great accountant, Brian Ohgee

from Muscatine Tax, that has been a huge asset and never makes me feel like my questions are too small or silly. I have the BEST team in Muscatine, I’m certain of that. My salon manager and sister, Kymberly Morrison, keeps the salon running smoothly when I’m away and my head screwed on straight when I’m there. She is a miracle worker. And the group of women I have the opportunity to partner with in the salon are the most supportive, hardest working, and most fun people, personally and professionally. I wish I had the space to call them each out individually for the amazing things they contribute to our salon company. We’re a family and I’m so fortunate to have them. Last but not least, my children (Rach, Ben & Hayden) and husband, Josh. They are my rocks and my biggest cheerleaders. Owning a business can require a lot of personal

12 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022
We are a full service salon + spa with a team of experienced professionals to care for your hair, skin + wellness needs. We are committed to growth, education + teamwork to provide the BEST artistry and remain leading experts in our industry.

sacrifices to family life as you are never really “off work” and their patience, support and love make all the difference in the world. I truly believe I am only as good as the people that surround me, and I have the best ones.

Do you have any idols or outside inspirations?

I absolutely adore a fellow business owner, Alyshea Gow, from Feather Your Nest Interiors in Muscatine. We try to get together as regularly as two friends with children and businesses can to support, bounce ideas off one another and troubleshoot challenges we’re facing. She has been the biggest inspiration to keep going on the hard days and celebrate the successes on the good ones. She is extremely smart, passionate, driven, talented and loyal. I hope to be more like her when I grow up.

What do you wish you knew before opening a business?

I don’t know that there is anything I wish I would have known before necessarily. I would have hated for that to change my mind, but I have learned that every day I learn something. I’m either learning about the industry, learning about how to better serve our guests, learning how to better communicate, learning how to unite or inspire a team, learning new accounting information, learning a new way to market, learning how to apologize for or reconcile missteps, learning insights into myself. It’s about growth. Every day. I love that about owning a business.

What were some unforeseen challenges?

It’s hard to remember what the challenges were pre-pandemic, because those have been on the front burner for over a couple years now. I never foresaw being shutdown for a lengthy period of time in a direct service industry and navigating an already thin profit margin. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with

retaining many of our team members unlike many businesses I know of, but our demand still far outweighs our staff. We also continually struggle with supply and demand issues with our suppliers and brands we partner with like everyone else. While the challenges can be frustrating, it really does help you appreciate the good all the more.

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs, especially women?

Invest in people. Invest in the people that work for you, the people that patron your business, the people that surround you and depend on you. There have been decisions I have made, although maybe not the most business savvy, because it was best for the people that count on me. I think that’s why women make such great entrepreneurs. We don’t get lost in our ego and we’re doers. We will clean the toilets and give the presentations; we will cry with our team member that is hurting and negotiate the contracts. Whatever line of industry you find yourself, success is found in making those around you successful. I’m a firm believer that the investment in people (above everything else) will never let you down.

What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

A lot of what I hear from people is they want to be an entrepreneur so they can work when they want and be their own boss. While flexibility is definitely a perk, that doesn’t even rank on most rewarding or favorite part of owning a business for me. The most rewarding has been watching the development of my team. Example, one of our artists has crushed her goals and is soaring to huge heights as an educator in our industry with our national brand partner. Watching the people around you grow into the people they are meant to be

knowing you had a small part to play in that is incredibly humbling and rewarding.

What are your future plans for the business?

We have been working on updating the tech side of our business and are excited about the new website that went live this past June. We are also working on a new software system integration that will make communication and marketing with our guests so slick and smooth, we’re excited to get that up and running.

Is there anything else about your business you would like people to know?

We feel so fortunate for the opportunity we have had to serve our community for 40 years! We couldn’t do it without the loyalty and support from our guests. We truly love providing an excellent guest experience; therefore, we always welcome ideas on ways we could grow and improve. We encourage you to give us a try if you are looking for a salon + spa to call home. Thank you, Muscatine! We appreciate your support of local, small business. n 214 Chestnut St • Muscatine 563-263-0300

Hours: Tuesday - Thursday: 9 am - 8 pm Fridays: 9 am - 6 pm.

Open by Reservation only Saturday Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Find us on: Facebook, Instagram

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 13
Pro Hair Designs Salon + Spa

Cryo Wellness of Muscatine

Owners: Samantha Kaufmann, Ty Leibovitz

Cryotherapy is a natural treatment that uses local use of low temperatures to promote the body’s natural response to repair and restore. Cryo Wellness of Muscatine focuses on using the benefits of cryotherapy to supplement your wellness or recovery journey. We focus on three main areas of treatments including: Pain Management, Anti-Aging, Cryo Body Sculpting along with several over supplemental services.

How did you become a small business owner?

I have always had an interest in expanding new ideas to downtown Muscatine.  I was especially intrigued with the athletic recovery and pain management aspect of cryotherapy. Ty is a retired hospice nurse who used these services personally during her weight loss journey. Her success and interest in learning more lead her to help others in this field.

What do you like about owning a business in Muscatine?

The downtown area is growing in such a positive way, we are excited to be a part of it. I am a native to the Muscatine area and enjoy knowing so many other business owners in the area. Everyone is supportive of one another.

What were some unforeseen challenges?

We started off operating two businesses in our building – Pearl City Tattoo Lounge and Cryo Wellness. Initially our goal was to use our unused business space. We didn’t realize that Cryo Wellness would grow so rapidly that we would end up without enough space. Currently we are remodeling the remaining part of our building to allow

for new, exciting services. Our target date to roll out the new services is on Black Friday, which will coincide with our one year anniversary. Meanwhile, Pearl City Tattoo Lounge has relocated to 204 Cedar Street, directly behind Cryo Wellness.

What are some pleasant surprises?

Our clients have been so supportive of our small business they have become friends that we genuinely care about.

How do you prepare for each day? What is a typical day like?

A typical day is pretty busy. Dozens of appointments each day, phone calls, social media messages, vendor deliveries, scheduling customers, etc. We are currently working on front office staff to assist with the new services and help us improve on the customer experience.

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs, especially women?

Find something you enjoy doing that keeps you motivated each day.

What is the most rewarding part about owning a business?

The sense of accomplishment and independence is a rewarding aspect of

owning a business.  But in our specific industry we find it to be very rewarding because of our ability to help our clients on their health and wellness journey.

What are your future plans for the business?

Currently, we have six services to offer clients. Three cryotherapy services. (pain, anti-aging, body sculpting,) Celluma LED light therapy, teeth whitening, and Bodystyler . We intend to add five more services by the end of the year.  This will also allow us to offer monthly memberships to clients. The monthly memberships will allow more affordability and flexibility to clients to use all of the services. Keep your eyes on our Facebook page for the most up to date information!  n

Cryo Wellness of Muscatine

229 E. 2nd St • Muscatine 563-263-2392

Find us on: Facebook, Instagram

Lead Cryotherapy Technician: Lindsay Broders

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The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Details about programs and exhibitions are posted on Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free of charge.

November 3, 2022 – February 5, 2023

Elephant & Piggie in WE ARE ART! (A

Mo Willems Exhibition)

Organized by The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Through brilliant dialogue, perfect pacing, and relatable characters, Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie have joined the pantheon of beloved children’s literary characters. This exhibition features Willems’ original black-and-white line drawings from all 25 Elephant and Piggie books supplemented with digitally-colored final renderings. Early sketches, dummy books, and size charts reveal Willems’ methodical working process.

Mo Willems is one of the most celebrated children’s book authors and artists working today. n

Mo Willems, Illustration for We Are in a Book! (An ELEPHANT & PIGGIE book). Collection of Mo and Cher Willems. © 2010 Mo Willems. ELEPHANT & PIGGIE is a trademark of The Mo Willems Studio, Inc.


Sunday, December 11, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Get into the Holiday spirit! Drop in Sunday, December 11 between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. to create Santa-related crafts with Miss Julie. There is no fee to participate in this workshop and no registration is required. While at the Muscatine Art Center, view the beautiful Christmas decorations in the historic Musser-McColm home.

Gift Ideas

Books/Booklets for Adults:

• What Follows is True: The Crescent Hotel by Sean Fitzgibbon — illustrated non-fiction

• Van Gogh’s Untold Journey: Revelations of Faith, Family, and Artistic Inspiration by William J. Havlicek

• The Making of a Japanese Garden in Iowa – booklet released in October 2022 by the Muscatine Art Center

Thanksgiving: Thursday and Friday, November 24 & 25

Christmas: Friday, December 23 through Monday, December 26

New Year’s: Friday, December 30 closing at 2 p.m.; Closed Saturday, December 31 through Monday, January 2

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 15
Holiday Closures

Flowers on the Avenue

Flowers on the Avenue is a full service, family-owned flower and gift shop that has been in business for 31 years.  We offer high quality designs that are personalized for the specific needs of our customers for all occasions.

How did you become a small business owner?

Karen - I first owned the business.  A lot of hard work with vendors, banks and advice from other business owners helped her start the business.  Julia – I became a partner a few years after the shop first opened.

What/who encouraged you to become a small business owner?

Karen - I was inspired into the floral business when I worked for Rex Carlson & Hal Zahn at Carlson Florist at age 15.

Julia – I was inspired and mentored by my older sister Karen’s passion and love for the floral business.

What do you like about owning a business in Muscatine?

We love owning our business in Muscatine because we have had continued hometown support and loyalty from our customers.  Because of the size of our community, we get to know our customers on a first name basis.  We wanted to support local artists in Muscatine and showcase their works in our shop.  It’s a win, win for everyone.

Who/what helped you along the way?

Our business would not be where it is without the support of our family and friends.  Our family has helped us develop and stay in business for 31 years.  Every member of our family has been involved over the years in one way

or another.  Our parents, David & Janet Ales, grandmother Margie Hardman, Uncle Jack Hardman, our children, siblings, grandkids as well as our loyal employees.  We have been blessed with their support and couldn’t have done it without them.  Holidays are huge in the floral business, and we must call on extra support.  We have some of the best friends anyone could ask for.  Not everyone would be willing to drop everything with the extremely long hours we must put in to get everything made and delivered.

What do you wish you knew before opening a business?

It would have been nice to have more knowledge on how to deal with the unexpected business crisis that can arise at any moment’s notice, but that’s part

16 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022
Owners: Karen Garrett, Julia Schlidt

of owning any business.  You just deal with the challenge and hopefully learn on how to be more prepared if and when that happens again.

What were some unforeseen challenges?

Some challenges we have had throughout our 31 years of business were a location change, coolers breaking down and freezing flowers and working with family can be challenging at times as well as working through a pandemic.  During COVID, we had to close our physical location to the public.  However, we were one of the fortunate small businesses that didn’t have to close down completely like most others.  We were able to still take orders by phone and deliver flowers.  We would call ahead to make sure the recipient was home and then tell them we were on the way and just ring the doorbell and leave the flowers outside their front door, so we didn’t have to worry about exposure for our employees or the recipient.

What are some pleasant surprises as a small business owner?

Pleasant surprises being a small business owner are the joy we can bring to the people in very sad and difficult times as well as joyous occasions.  Our customers love our work, and we take pride in what we can create for each and everyone who chooses to do business with us.

Flowers on the Avenue

1138 E. 9th St • Muscatine 563-264-8982

Find us on:, Facebook and Instagram

Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 am – 4:00 pm Saturday: 8:00 am – Noon Sunday: Closed

Find us on:, Facebook, Instagram

How do you prepare for each day? What is a typical day like?

Each morning we receive fresh, new flowers that we must prep, review all of our orders, arrange flowers for orders, answer phones taking new orders, organize and wrap the outgoing arrangements for delivery, wait on customers in the store, decorate the shop, review orders for the next day, work with vendors on gift lines and plant and flower sales, and pay bills.  It can be very stressful at times, but it makes the day go by fast.

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs women?

We have always tried to develop a nice working relationship with other flower shops in town, which are owned by other women.  There are times we might be out of a certain flower or supply to complete and order and we can call another flower shop in town to borrow that item and we will replace it the next day.  They can do the same with our shop.  We want to encourage and help each business succeed in our community, it’s better for all of us.

What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

The most rewarding part of owning our own business is to offer products and services that bring happiness to our customers.

What are your future plans?

We recently expanded and doubled our space to the whole building.  We went to market in July in Atlanta and have some new product lines that have started to come into the store.

Is there anything else about your business you would like people to know?

We love our customers and stand behind our work.  We appreciate each and every one who has supported us over the 31 years in business and hope to continue fulfilling the needs of our customers for many more years to come. n

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 17

West Hill Cakery

After 12 years of baking, we’ve perfected our recipes and methods for creating delicious gourmet cakes and cupcakes. Our bakers take an artistic approach to our made-fromscratch cakes. We are locally owned and operated, and we care about our community.

How did you become a small business owner?

The idea of West Hill Cakery started with my hobby baking over twelve years ago. I was let go from my job and my daughter was really young, so I wanted to stay home with her but also wanted something to fill my free time. After

watching a ton of YouTube videos, I started practicing and realized that I really enjoyed the creative outlet that it provided; it also helped make some extra money for my family. It kind of took off from there. Plus, after so long, my husband wanted me out of our kitchen.

Who encouraged you to become a small business owner?

I worked in a retail setting at Pierce Furniture and Mattress for eight years, while baking on the side. I loved my job and the people that I got to see every day, but my favorite time of day was when I could get up early, watch the sun rise, and sling some frosting around. The Pierce family has owned and operated their family business for over 100 years and seeing them thrive in the Muscatine community was a huge inspiration. They helped me understand that being yourself and providing a great product can make you successful. They are awesome!

What do you like about owning a business in Muscatine?

Muscatine is a super welcoming community that wants small businesses to see success. My favorite part is seeing our regular and new customers each day. No matter how a person comes into the store everyone always leaves happy and with a smile. Desserts have a way of doing that.

Who/what helped you along the way?

We’ve had a lot of help getting on our feet. My husband was, and is, my biggest cheerleader. We have been blessed with the support of our family, especially with the amount of time we have to invest here at the Cakery.  Also, Muscatine has been so generous!

18 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022

Participating in both the Chamber and City grant programs helped us open our doors, and we had a lot of help from Joel Youngs at the Small Business Development Center.

Do you have any idols or outside inspirations?

Yes. Oh So Sweet By Tiphanie out of Davenport is literally who I would like to be when I grow up.  She is a Muscatine native and bakes with home style and family recipes, like us, and is a huge inspiration. I love her snark and the lighthearted way she approaches her baking. It’s just a level of fun I hope we can reach one day.

What do you wish you knew before opening a business?

That it is okay to anticipate big things. My husband and I joke now that we should have listened to our guts more. We started West Hill with just him, me, and a family friend, Karen Cooney. We were very underprepared for the reception we had and the amount of hours it would take to keep WHC running those first few weeks.  We were all exhausted. It was literally like having a newborn all over again with the amount of sleep we were getting.

What were some unforeseen challenges?

When Lucas and I committed to opening West Hill, we envisioned a three-part scale up plan for the business. After finding a location that fit our needs, we had to adjust to taking all three steps immediately. It was a big, scary shift realizing that we were starting our business so far into our business plan before we had ever opened. Another hurdle is figuring out what to make everyday. If I had my way I would just bake, bake, bake. It has been a learning curve knowing how to respond to demand, but it has stretched us creatively.

What are some pleasant surprises as a business owner?

One of the best surprises is my staff; we didn’t know how popular we’d be

as employers. In the first four months, every member of our team approached us, we never had to advertise. Many were customers first and loved it. They embraced West Hill as a creative co-op and everyone adds a little bit of themselves to the vision that we are creating everyday. I like to think we’re whipping up a pretty cool recipe for success.

How do you prepare for each day? What is a typical day like?

Myself and my morning employees come in around 3 am and bake our case items fresh each morning for opening at 9 am. Then we move on to assembling any custom orders for the day while my front house staff takes care of walk-in customers.  We then try to prep for any future orders, plan any upcoming specials or events, and make sure that we have everything we need for both menu items and orders that are upcoming. Writing it out, it makes it sound much more seamless than it sometimes feels.

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs, especially women?

Bet on yourself and don’t listen to the tiny voice that likes to make you second guess.  I waited 12+ years questioning if I could do this thing and every time I always found a reason why I should wait. Don’t wait. Take the time to plan and evolve your idea, but don’t wait. I never realized that there were so many resources and outlets in our community to help grow your ideas into reality. There are more people, than not, who want you to succeed. Lean into that.

What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

I think the most rewarding part of West Hill is the impact that it has on everyone. I wanted to build a business where being happy, inspired, and authentic to yourself was the basis for everything that we do. Our staff are great, intelligent, and humorous people and I believe that comes across in the

interactions our guests have when they come to our Cakery. We wanted a platform where we could just be our awkward, nerdy selves every day and we hope other people feel the same way.

Are you involved in any upcoming events?

Cookie Day will be on December 3, Gift Wrapped Christmas at Muscatine Mall on December 10 and Elf Workshop on December 11.

What are your future plans?

Lucas and I have had a lot of talks about the direction of West Hill. We want to continue to add to our menu with new house flavors so we can continue to highlight the heritage and history of Muscatine. We also want to expand our drink menu and eventually scale up to brunch events and ultimately a daily lunch service at some point. We want to continue to boost our after hours event schedule and start a more consistent monthly event programs.  But ultimately, our first priority is the focus to our custom order side.

Anything else you would like people to know?

We bake our items fresh every morning, something we that makes us really, really proud. Some of our best-selling items (our lemon bars, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, pie crust, and brownies for example) are all recipes from some of the greatest ladies and bakers I’ve known. It makes me so happy to share my grandmother’s memory with Muscatine!  n

Muscatine 563-554-9221


Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 19
810 Park
Suite 13 •
Find us on: Facebook and Instagram Hours: Tuesday - Friday: 9 am - 5 pm Saturday: 9 am - 2 pm West Hill Cakery

Petal & Leaf

Petal & Leaf is a boutique style floral shop that specializes in fresh cut floral designs. We also carry trendy varieties of houseplants & Lagomarcino Chocolate.

How did you become a small business owner?

After working for The Flower Gallery for 13 years, the owner decided to downsize and phase out the flower side of business. It has always been a dream to have my own flower shop!

What/who encouraged you to become a small business owner?

Definitely my husband, Aaron! He is the most supportive and encouraging person in my life. I had many doubts and he saw nothing but potential in my talents. He said “give it a try for a few years, if you don’t enjoy it, then we will figure something else out! What have you got to lose?”

What do you like about owning a business in Muscatine?

The amount of support that everyone gives in the community is the most amazing. Slowly, the trend is moving more and more toward being better about supporting local.

My second favorite thing is that I get to make all the decisions about what types of products to have in my shop. I enjoy unique products, and I get excited when my customers love the same things I do!

Who/what helped you along the way?

My family has been the most help along the way, but I was also a recipient of a Make it Muscatine Grant when I first got started.

Do you have any idols or outside inspirations?

No Idols, but I draw the most inspiration from nature and other fellow designers from all areas around the world.

What do you wish you knew before opening a business?

How refreshing and exciting it would be! Had I known, I would have taken the leap years ago!

What were some unforeseen challenges?

Road construction in front of my business as soon as I opened, being without water the week of Mother’s Day due to that construction and just being able to source product in general since Covid.

The cost of everything is going up, so it is also a challenge to find quality product that is still affordable. The “Big Box” stores in town definitely hurt because I cannot compete with their prices, but I try to stay focused on providing quality services and experiences when you are my customer.

What are some pleasant surprises as a small business owner?

Opening the door every morning to a place that I work so, so hard for is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done!

How do you prepare for each day? What is a typical day like?

A typical day in the life would start with a stop The Coffee Belt! If there are any morning deliveries, I do those before I open. Next, process and let hydrate any fresh flowers that are needed for orders, and then wait for my customers to come visit! On Tuesdays, I get houseplant deliveries. I like to make sure they are properly watered, then price and put out for display.

Each customers order is custom to their needs. I enjoy having conversations with them to find out what their preferences are. The beauty of what I do is that each day holds something different, so it is always an exciting experience.

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs, especially women?

If you are on the fence, or nervous, just do it! You will never know how truly happy and successful you can be if you never try!

What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

Flowers have a profound way of speaking what our hearts have a hard time finding words for. It is so rewarding to be able to help my customers express emotions through flowers. I send on their behalf joy, celebration,

20 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022
Owner: Jen Summy

appreciation, love and sorrow. To me, the ultimate reward is when I have someone come back to say how the arrangement I created made their day!

Knowing that all of the hard work and long hours that go into being a florist is worth it when someone shows their gratitude.

Are you involved in any upcoming events?

I have a handful of weddings that I will be designing for during the fall season and then on to a busy holiday season sending cheer in the form of evergreen centerpieces!

Is there anything else about your business you would like people to know?

There is a preconceived notion that being a florist is such a fun and relaxing job, because I get to be around beautiful flowers all day. The reality is that what I do is very hard work - lots of sweeping up piles of stems, washing buckets to keep inventory always fresh, breaking down cardboard boxes and an exhausted mind and body at the end of the day. Throw in some stress that comes along with dealing with a perishable product and not knowing if a hurricane/forest fire/hail storm etc. is going to wipe out a flower crop for an event you have had on the books for months is not for the faint of heart!

The term Labor of Love would best describe my business, and what I do is definitely very labor intensive! n

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 21
1003 Park Ave • Muscatine 563-261-7000 Find us on: Facebook, Instagram Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 am - 5 pm Saturday: 9 pm - Noon Closed Wednesday & Sunday Petal & Leaf Member FDIC Aim High. Bank Strong. Absolutely Free Checking For personal and business accounts. Learn more at: Minimum opening deposit $25; no minimum balance requirement thereafter, and no monthly fees. See bank for details.
Connect. Create. Contribute.

Our roots

run deep

Chances are, you’ve seen us around the house, or around the yard. In the store, or even out in the field. In fact, families and farmers have turned to Bayer for six generations and counting.

Because for over 150 years, we’ve been right by your side. Advancing the health of the people, plants and pets you love.

Thank you for trusting us, then and now.

2500 Wiggins Road, Muscatine, IA 52761 For more information or request a tour of the Muscatine site call 563-262-7533 or email @BayerUS bayerus



Mini Masters

(FREE! Registrations required) Introduce your little ones ages 2 - 7 to the world of art with free art classes. Each class consists of a story and two art projects, and a different theme is offered each month. Classes meet Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and Thursday afternoons at 3:30 p.m.

Kids Saturday Workshops

(FREE! Registrations required) In these workshops designed for kids ages 7-14, kids can celebrate another culture,

paint like a famous artist, and more! Visit for more information and to sign up.

Adult Studio (Registrations required)

There are various Adult Studio classes to join this winter. For a full class schedule visit

For full details of classes, programs, and events visit Call Katy at 563-263-8282 to register.


LENA Start

Musser Public Library is offering another cohort of LENA Start, an early literacy program for children up to age 3 and their caretakers, starting on November 16 and meeting weekly for six Zoom sessions. Preregistration is required, and the program is free.

LENA, or Language Environmental Analysis, tracks verbal interactions between the young child and the people around them.

Studies show that early talk and interaction help brain development.

LENA Start families receive 10 free children’s books and a Thanksgiving turkey basket for completing the first week!

Jingle and Mingle


The Musser Public Library Children’s Department will start up a new session of Sparkplugs on Thursday, Dec. 1, this time exploring the topic of colors.

Sparkplugs’ target age group is 4- to 8-year-olds, and their whole families are welcome to attend the 6 p.m. program, joining in for activities, stories, fun and snacks. The program meets for six weeks, but drop-in attendance is fine.

If you have questions, call Emerson Taylor at (563) 263-3065 or email him at

Join us in the merriment of the Jingle and Mingle 2: A Holiday Stroll on Friday, Dec. 2! Wrap up your stroll on Second Street by entering at our accessible entryway to join us for treats and a special surprise!

Members of the Musser Public Library staff and our Friends group will be there to greet you during the 5:30-8:30 p.m. event. We hope to see you there!

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 23

Quality Cobbler

We are a full-service, footwear business with 45 years of experience. We have serviced the Muscatine area by providing a selection of work boots, athletic shoes, dress and casual as well as accessories and can fit all your needs.

How did you become a small business owner?

Owning his own footwear store was a dream of my husband, Larry, and I knew I could contribute in making it happen. 45 years later we are still here.

Who encouraged you to become a small business owner?

My husband was the major factor in becoming a small business owner. It’s been a learning experience for us both. He had the footwear knowledge, but neither one of us knew how to run a business.

What do you like about owning a business in Muscatine?

I like getting to know all the customers and building a friendly relationship with them. I also like the freedom we have had to try different ways to merchandise our products and connect with the customers in taking care of their needs.

Who helped you along the way?

My husband pushed me to try new things, to be persistent and Central State Bank (CBI) was a lot of help in the early days. We were in Amway when we were a lot younger and learned a lot on how to deal with people in general which has helped us to better understand the customers. We were very young when we started in business and have earned our degree from the “College of Hard Knocks”.

Do you have any idols or outside inspirations?

My faith in my Lord, Jesus Christ has

been my inspiration to do what is right and to treat our customers the way I want to be treated. God has supplied strength, hope and encouragement when times were difficult. And in a small business you can count on some difficult times.

What do you wish you knew before opening a business?

I wish I had known the dedication that is takes, but that is something you learn along the journey. I also wish I had taken an accounting class for the bookkeeping part of the business.  I wish I had understood then, as I do now that with dedication and persistence it pays off in the end.  Success does not come overnight or all by itself. You have to work for it and always set and keep your goals in front of you.

What were some unforeseen challenges?

Covid has been a real challenge. Not only did we have to learn to keep the business going during a shut down, (factory workers still needed work shoes), but salesmen do not show up to show you the product, supply chains are still a real problem.  I had to learn how to hire employees and train them. Technology is constantly changing, and the government paperwork is a challenge sometimes.

What are some pleasant surprises as a small business owner?

It’s satisfying to provide kids from the family or church or schools with their first job. We have done that a lot over the years, and we get to watch them develop skills such as learning to count change back and learning to talk to customers in a more professional way.

Plus, you get to be your own boss, and I can take home whatever shoes I want.

How do you prepare for each day? What is a typical day like?

Most days I come in and open the store up.  Take care of customers when they come in.  I spend time at my desk doing the bookkeeping that needs done. If a shipment of footwear comes in, I help Larry unpack it, price it, and put it away in our stockrooms.

Some days are more challenging than others depending on what needs the customer has and trying to meet that need.  I learned years ago that what a salesman’s job is to “find the need and fill it”.

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs, especially women?

Find your dream and go after it. Don’t listen to the “naysayers” but surround yourself with positive people. Be dedicated and persistent. Make sure you like and know about the business you are going into. If you don’t like doing

24 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022

it, it becomes a job and not a business. And for women, don’t be afraid to speak out with authority and let your customers know that you know what you are talking about.

What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

Helping people find something that fits well, and they are really happy with. Giving a student their first job and watching them learn skills they will use all their life even if they don’t realize that they will use that skill later on. I enjoy watching the shy ones come out of their shell and learn to talk to people.

Are you involved in any upcoming events?

On December 10th the Muscatine Mall will host the “Annual Christmas Craft Show” in conjunction with the “Muscatine Area Farmers Market”.  This is a big event for us.

What are your future plans for the business? (Ex. Expansions, new products/services, etc.)

Our plan is to continue to supply the needs of Muscatine and the surrounding area with quality footwear and superior service. We are bringing in a new line of specialty socks for the wellness of your feet.

Is there anything else about your business you would like people to know?

I would like to thank the people of Muscatine and the surrounding areas for your continued support. We are here to serve you. n 1903 Park Ave. • Muscatine Mall 563-263-9372

Hours: Monday
Sun: Facebook Quality Cobbler, Inc. Sara Carlson Top Selling Residential Realtor in Muscatine Proven Results Trusted Advisor Master Stager 563-506-0241 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 25 315 Parham St., Muscatine 563-263-7577 114 W. 4th St., Wilton 563-316-2007 619 5th St., Durant 563-231-5300 From left: Anna Prier, O.D.; Mark Hansen, O.D.; Chris Carter, O.D.; Tara Lukkarinen, O.D.; Morgan Thorson, O.D.; Peter Korpi, O.D.; Janell Kassel, O.D. Come check out our newly remodeled office! y y 222 West 2nd Street, Muscatine, Iowa 52761 563-263-0433 C O M M U N I T Y C O L L E G E S TH Community ’ s College
9 am - 7 pm
9 am - 5 pm
Closed Find us on:

Pearl City Chiropractic

Pearl City Chiropractic has a team of doctors focused on putting your specific needs first. We utilize a variety of techniques that are committed to improving the health and wellness of our patients. We are located in historic downtown Muscatine and proud to provide chiropractic care to the Muscatine Community and surrounding areas.

How did you become a small business owner and who helped along the way?

I have been fortunate enough to work alongside Dr. Brad Bark who has encouraged and mentored me from the day we met. Focusing on a transition that was uninterruptable to our patients, we have been working to transition ownership. He has helped me with my adjusting skills, increase my self-confidence, and helped prepare me to be a small business owner. Also, Nate Meineke at CBI was a great resource and help in qualifying for a small business loan to purchase the clinic and helped me to understand the process of starting and maintaining all my financials as a business owner. Dr. Bark and Nate have truly been a blessing.  Will Mathias, at Eichelberger Law, helped me set up my small business.

What/who encouraged you to become a small business owner?

A gymnastic injury in fourth grade lead me to see a chiropractor, Dr. Mitch Malley. Dr. Malley helped me return to gymnastics through chiropractic care. Acknowledging the way he helped people, and appreciating the successful business he created, I knew from that moment on not only did I want to be a chiropractor, but I also wanted to be a successful business owner and I never looked back.

What do you like about owning a business in


It is my great pleasure being able to help the community where I grew up and setting an example for the younger generation.

Do you have any idols or outside inspirations?

My parents have always been in my corner and have inspired me to achieve my goals. They taught me that it would not be easy but if I put in the work, I could be successful. They have always been my biggest supporters pushing me through the challenging times.

I would be lying if I said there were not times that I wanted to give up because things got difficult, and I wasn’t sure I was able to succeed. Without my parents, I would not have made it through school, tough times, and doubts. They stood by me and believed in me since the beginning and because of them I am standing here today as a chiropractor and proud business owner.

What do you wish you knew before opening a business?

Not every day goes as planned and sometimes it can seem like complete chaos. Remember, each day is a fresh start and a new opportunity to develop and complete tasks. So, forget the bad days, learn from your mistakes and

continue to push forward. Also, do not try to do everything yourself! Build yourself a team of people that you can trust and/or a mentor and do not be afraid to ask for help or advice.

What were some unforeseen challenges?

Picking a new name for the clinic was our biggest unforeseen challenge. This seems simple, but yet we ran into many obstacles. As a team we began brainstorming ideas and spent several months picking a logo. We wanted to replace Bark Chiropractic with a name that represented our team of doctors, our unique approach to health care in our building, and most importantly Muscatine. Once the decision was made, the debate of when was the best time to notify the community of the upcoming changes. Multiple times we picked a date and would have to push it back due to unplanned bumps in the road. One thing we did not realize even notifying insurance companies was a challenge itself. However, it all worked out in the end.

26 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022

What are some pleasant surprises as a small business owner?

The resources and support that Muscatine Community has to offer. Not only from a business standpoint but also from a healthcare standpoint. Having the ability to work with other healthcare professionals who share the same goal of helping people has been so rewarding. Also, the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry has been a great business resource for me.

How do you prepare for each day? What is a typical day like? How do I prepare for my day? One word… Coffee. I am a mother of two young boys (Rexton 2.5 yrs. old and Roczen 3 months), so after getting them ready and out the door, I drop them off at daycare, and then I enjoy a cup of coffee while listening to my favorite music playlist on my way to the office.

Typically, early mornings are spent attending meetings, answering emails, making calls, and doing accounting before I spend most of my day helping patients. After clinic hours, I work on paperwork and office tasks before heading home to my family. After spending quality time with my husband and boys, we put both boys to bed and before I go to sleep (yes, I must remind myself I am not superwomen and I need

sleep too) I check my calendar for the next day’s events and run through emails one last time.

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs, especially women?

Believe in yourself and keep fighting for what you want. You can do it. Do not give up. You will have what seems like more bad days or struggles than good days, but you will get through it and your light will shine. Your dedication and hard work will pay off if you keep pushing forward. I promise it is all worth it. Also, you can be a successful entrepreneur, a fantastic mother and wife. You can always have a successful career and be the best you can be for your family.

What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

It is rewarding knowing I’ve survived the ups and downs to reach my dream of becoming a small business owner. The most rewarding though is knowing I am making a difference in my patients’ lives.

What are your future plans for the business?

Continue to help and serve the Muscatine area. I would love to expand on the unique setting we have in our building by adding more small businesses to help people. Me personally - I plan to continue to further my pediatric, prenatal, and postnatal training and possibly offer DOT physicals.

228 W. 2nd St. • Muscatine 563-263-3800

Hours: Mon: 9 am - 5 pm; Tues: 10 am - 6 pm Wed: 8 am - 2 pm Thursday: 10 am -6 pm Friday: 8 am to 2 pm; Saturdays: based on doctor’s availability. Sundays: Closed

Find us on: Facebook - Pearl City Chiropractic Instagram - @pearlcitychiro

Is there anything else about your business you would like people to know?

We share a building with four other small business; On the Rocks Massage, Integrity Massage, Thrive Therapy, and Pearl City Psychiatry. All small businesses also ran by women.  n

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 27
Pearl City Chiropractic

Letters from Elliott

Letters from Elliott creates designs for nearly any occasion, specializing in event & commercial signage as well as hand engraving.

How did you become a small business owner?

It sort of happened over a long period of time and then from there things moved really quickly.  I have always loved art and calligraphy and have spent my whole life doing projects just for fun or for friends and family.  While I was always interested in art and hand lettering, being a small business owner never really crossed my mind until I had a couple people reach out near the end of 2017 about hiring me to do some lettering for them and from there the wheels started turning about how I could offer my lettering services to more than just people I knew.  I started a simple Facebook page and Letters from Elliott was official - from there things started happening quickly, and I was given some incredible opportunities very early on that helped get my name and my art out there.

What/who encouraged you to become a small business owner?

The encouragement from friends and family really provided me the confidence to try and start something with my art and lettering.  I cannot express my gratitude enough to those who saw something in me that I hadn’t yet seen for myself - I am so grateful.

What do you like about owning a business in Muscatine?

Being from the Muscatine area and

starting a business here has been such an incredible experience.  I have had so much support from our community and other small business owners and entrepreneurs as well.   Being from a small town has its perks and word of mouth is a big factor in having a successful small business.  I have loved meeting new people through referrals and growing my audience along the way.

Who/what helped you along the way?

I have had so many people that have been a part of my journey.  I credit my uncle for introducing me to hand lettering and calligraphy - he is also a professional calligrapher and bought me my first calligraphy pens when I was about 10 years old.  My family and friends have always supported me and my art and that hasn’t changed since starting my business - some of my biggest fans are my friends and family and that means the world to me.  I also do not think I would have the business I have today without the support of my husband who built me an incredible home art studio that allows me to work from home with everything I need, is always there to help and gives me so much love and encouragement every single day.

Do you have any idols or outside inspirations?

I love all kinds of art and design and take inspiration from a variety of people and places.  I use my phone to take pictures and screenshots of lettering,

illustrations, color palettes, and other elements of design that I can potentially incorporate into my art.  I have always been inspired by my Uncle Kelly who introduced me to calligraphy and admired his work and talent so much.

What do you wish you knew before opening a business? While I never thought running a business would be easy by any means, I didn’t truly understand how much work goes into the behind-the-scenes part of things.  As a solo small business owner, I have to wear all the hats from CEO to marketing director to accountant and everything in between.  I do enjoy most of these tasks, but I definitely still feel overwhelmed sometimes but talking to and learning from other small business owners in the same position as I am has helped tremendously.

What were some unforeseen challenges?

One of my biggest challenges has been overcoming my negative mindset and the feelings of imposter syndrome that occur from time to time.  As a small business owner and freelance artist, I feel like it is hard sometimes to feel like what you are doing and creating

28 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022

is adequate and even worthy of other people’s time and potentially money.  I struggle with feelings of self-doubt and anxiety about sharing my art on public platforms but am working on it every single day.

What are some pleasant surprises as a small business owner?

I have been so surprised by the support from not only my community here in Muscatine but the calligraphy community as a whole.  I am a part of several groups that meet both online and in person that focus on creating a network of artists and calligraphers that help, support, and encourage one another.  It is truly a perfect example of community over competition, and I love being a part of it.

How do you prepare for each day? What is a typical day like? I am not a morning person and prefer to stay up late so one of my favorite things about working from home on my own schedule is that I get to sleep in most of the time!  I am an extremely

things from time to time like having an impromptu shopping day with my mom or going on a lunch or coffee date with a friend if the opportunity arises.  I also do some subbing and work at LM School District, so I am able to fit that in from time to time as well.  In the evenings after wrapping up my official work for the day, I cook dinner and hang out with my husband and pets on the couch watching either baseball or a documentary.  I often use that time while relaxing and watching tv to doodle and draw just for fun in my sketchbook or on my iPad.

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs, especially women?

My advice to future female entrepreneurs is never give up chasing your dream.  If you are passionate about something and your dream is to turn that passion into a small business - do it.  There are so many resources and opportunities for women as small business owners and from my experience, people genuinely want

owning my own business is the people I meet and learning their story.  Some of my favorite projects have been ones where I get to really connect with the client through discussing what they are wanting and learning the meaning behind the project.  Making those connections and having my art be a small part of someone’s home, event, or a special gift is really rewarding.

Are you involved in any upcoming events?

Fall and winter is the busiest time of the year for me and my business, so I am limiting live and vendor events at this time.  I start preparing in August for September and October which are filled with lots of personalizing pumpkins at local pumpkin patches and I am planning for another very busy Christmas season with personalized ornaments and all kinds of other individual commissions for Christmas gifts.

What are your future plans for the business?

generally have a running list of to-dos and thoughts to keep in mind and still use a paper planner to keep track of everything.  I usually start my workday between 9am and 10am by going over what I need to accomplish that day and catching up on messages and emails.  I then spend most of the rest of the day in my studio either working on a project or doing some other businessrelated task until the late afternoon.  I do enjoy having the flexibility in my schedule to squeeze in some other

to support small businesses and will do so as long as you put in the work.  I also think it is important to always keep learning and growing whether it is taking classes, attending a seminar or talking to other entrepreneurs.  It is okay to not know everything - learn and keep learning as you go!

What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

The most rewarding part for me about

My future plans for Letters from Elliott include expanding what services I have to offer to my clients by continuing to learn new skills and techniques to provide new products and new designs. I will be releasing a new collection of greeting cards and stickers this fall and hope to continue to expand my local and national wholesale clientele.  My long-term plan includes purchasing a laser engraver that will allow me to create a ton of new products on a larger scale in both size and amount but stays true to my brand and will use all my hand lettering and illustrations.  n Phone: 312-600-7779

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 29
Find us on: Facebook, Instagram Letters from Elliott


How did you become a small business owner?

I loved being an outside sales rep for interior design products early in my career. I just happened to move back to Muscatine, my hometown, as my parents were stepping into the retail store adventure. As Feather Your Nest Interiors became more known and trusted in Muscatine, we expanded into different areas of interior design. When they retired in 2017, I bought the business and became the secondgeneration owner.

What do you like about owning a business in Muscatine?

I absolutely love the clients I have and feel truly blessed to have a successful woman-owned business in the heart of downtown Muscatine! Our new location was definitely a diamond in the rough when I purchased the building in 2021, but is now an awesome building that showcases all the custom interior design services that we have to offer.

Do you have any idols or outside inspirations?

I am inspired daily by all the other women small business owners in our town! Muscatine has such an impressive group of strong entrepreneurial women. I’m so awed by how hardworking, creative and supportive they are for their businesses and for other small businesses!

How do you prepare for each day? What is a typical day like?

I definitely don’t have a typical work day. Owning your own business is

challenging because the assumption is that it’s easy, when in reality it’s the most stressful and unpredictable career path I think people can choose.

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs, especially women?

I encourage all women looking into being an entrepreneur to learn about yourself first. Success comes from knowledge. If you know who you are and what makes you unique, your business will be successful. Be confident in your abilities in order for your client to be confident in you. Learn about sales and selling through training courses as you are your biggest asset to your business and you need to be able to communicate well with others.

What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

There are two rewards as a business owner. One, I am able to fulfill a need in my community. My store offers items and services that are typically only found in larger metropolitan areas. The offerings and the atmosphere at Feather Your Nest Interiors are exceptional. Two, creating a legacy – my family. Starting with my parents, then me and my husband, and then my children. T

Are you involved in any upcoming events?

I am heavily involved in all downtown activities. I serve on boards and help with special events. I try to give back and support my community as much as they have supported my business!

What are your future plans for the business?

Feather Your Nest Interiors is constantly changing inside and outside. If you haven’t been in, you don’t know how much you are missing. We keep our store new and inviting so that you will come shop and design with us! I have been designing for 20+ years and love to create the perfect space for everyone’s needs.

Is there anything else about your business you would like people to know?

Our store boasts a beautiful kitchen & bath showroom, a kitchen accessory center great for gifts, a custom furniture gallery, beautiful home accessories and much more!  n

30 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022
Designer: Alyshea Gow We offer full-service Interior Design Services. We specialize in custom projects from conception to completion. We take pride in our customer service and attention to detail. 106 E. 2nd St • Muscatine 563-264-3273 Hours: Monday – Friday: 10 am - 5 pm Saturday :10 am - 2 pm. Closed Sundays; After hours by appointment Find us on: Facebook, Instagram
Nest Interiors
Nest Interiors Owner/Interior
Feather Your

How did you become a small business owner?

After a career in human resources, an opportunity was presented to me to purchase an existing business. I’ve always loved clothing and shopping and was excited to work with in people a new environment.

What do you like about owning a business in Muscatine?

Community support and working with customers who have become friends.

What do you wish you knew before opening a business?

To be honest this was my first business venture, so I was unaware at how challenging it could be and how the financial instability of the global market can affect the business.

What were some unforeseen challenges?

Covid was a very challenging time no one could have seen coming, we have supply chain issues that still exist, and we work to overcome.

What are some pleasant surprises as a small business owner?

The strong relationship that I have developed with my customers and their support throughout the 14 years I have been in business.

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs, especially women?

I would advise any future entrepreneurs to just go for it. Don’t be afraid to take risks, ask questions.

What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

Helping customers find clothing that fits their style and personality so that they walk of my store looking and feeling great!

What are your future plans for the business?

We are always traveling to markets across the country to find new and unique products to bring into the store.

Is there anything else about your business you would like people to know?


been blessed with fantastic

contributions to help us support community.

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 31
organizations and
multiple events and
drives throughout the year for local non-profit
Kathy Crosley Ladies clothing boutique carrying fashionable, unique clothing, purses, jewelry, and accessories. We specialize in customer service and a personalized shopping experience. 200 W. 2nd St • Muscatine 563-288-0770 Find us on: Facebook Hours: Monday - Friday: 10 am - 5:00 pm, Saturday: 10:00 am - 4 pm The Hall Tree Boutique
The HallTree

Real Estate Resource Associates

Real Estate Resource Associates is a Real Estate Brokerage and Property Management Company.

We have several Property Managers and Real Estate Agents that specialize in Residential and Commercial Real Estate.  I started in Real Estate in 2002 and opened RERA in 2008.

How did you become a small business owner?

It became my goal the first year I was in real estate to open my own real estate Company. I wanted to create a brokerage that really cared about the community and was known for that, and would be involved in the community they are selling homes in. I never looked at myself and brokerage as salespeople, but people helping people attain housing - I learned right away you cannot sell someone a house. It is an emotional buy. As a realtor you can facilitate the purchase and give your client a great experience. That’s what I wanted to do.

What/who encouraged you to become a small business owner?

I have been blessed to never have a job I didn’t like, and I have had amazing bosses set an example of how to treat the people that work for you. I really wanted flexibility with my children and grandchildren, and I wanted to be responsible for my own successes and failures.

What do you like about owning a business in Muscatine?

I am in love with Muscatine. I have lived where I had barbed wire on my school fence, and I can tell you Muscatine is amazing!  As far as a business owner in Muscatine, there is so much opportunity due to amount of industry we have here. There are opportunities everywhere.

inspiration to me. I purchased several of the books and give them to anyone who comes to work for me.

What do you wish you knew before opening a business?

That’s a hard question- I don’t think I would have changed anything - the good and the bad. The experiences, good and bad, are needed to learn and grow.

What were some unforeseen challenges?

Who/what helped you along the way?

My previous employers - my managers that had faith in me and encouragement by family and friends has helped me along the way.

Do you have any idols or outside inspirations?

I read the book Non-Negotiable and immediately Pat Hickman became an

The volatile market is always a challenge - the housing market crash in 2008 when I opened the office - the death of my business partner, Jerry Ross. Jerry always let me run the show but was always there to support me and walk me through any of the tough decisions. His years of experience and amazing friendship were such a blessing to me.

What are some pleasant surprises as a small business owner?

The fact that people do have loyalty and if you treat them right and serve them well, they will come back to you. The

32 Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022
Owner: Lisa Heckman

number of people that you get to meet and the friendships and connections you make along the way.

How do you prepare for each day?

I prepare for each day by taking the time to look at what’s on my calendar, who I’m going to be meeting with and where and how long each appointment will take. Most importantly, I start my day by praying that I can serve the people that trust me with what can be the biggest and most emotional purchase and financial transaction in their lives. What is a typical day like? There really isn’t a typical day. The day is going to be dictated by what you have to do that day.  It could be show property, list property, write offers, review inspections, etc.

What is your advice for future entrepreneurs, especially women?

Women have a natural gut instinct. Go with it! If you have a passion about something, go with it. If you feel

compelled to do something, do it. We are used to balancing so many things at once that we have an advantage when opening and starting a business.

What is the most rewarding part about owning your own business?

The flexibility. The opportunity that you decided how successful you will be.

Are you involved in any upcoming events?

Real Estate Resource Associates is a huge supporter of Habitat for Humanity,

and we are there to assist the newest Habitat Build financially and by being involved with the daily and weekly operation of Habitat.

What are your future plans for the business?

I will continue to grow the businessthe Property Management part of the business has become demanding, and we have added new positions for that.  Real Estate continues to change, and we will change with it.

Is there anything else about your business you would like people to know?

I want people to know that I want everyone that works at my business to give 150%.  I want them to look at their clients as people they can serve - it’s not what the client can do for you, but what you can do for the client. The success comes when you don’t consider the paycheck or the payout. The success comes with service. n

Muscatine Magazine • Fall 2022 33
1502 Plaza Place • Muscatine 563-299-7230 Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am - 12 pm & 1 pm - 5 pm Find us on: Facebook
Estate Resource Associates Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry's Pop-Up Shop features a variety of products in the spirit of Muscatine! Whether it's our Pearl City apparel, 52761 signs, exclusive products from local shops & artists or MakeItMuscatine gift can find it here! GM C CI 100 W 2 N D S TREET
Homegrown, Muscatine Proud! Helping a growing world do more Proud to be named a 2022 US Best Managed Company Sponsored by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal For more information visit *******ECRWSSEDDM**** PRST STD US Postage PAID MSU ECRWSS Postal Customer PRST STD US Postage PAID TRU ART ECRWSS

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