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The Daily Nonpareil

Sunday, June 17, 2012

■ Gach-Mils: is kind to four-footed friends page 2F ■ Treynor native finds success in banking page 2F

■ Macleod: President, CEO and more page 3F ■ Happiness abounds in Thomas’ life page 3F ■ Women’s gains come slowly page 4F

■ Newman stays busy with home cooking page 6F

Like mother, like daughter Dog groomer follows in her mom’s footsteps, starting her own business TIM ROHWER TROHWER@NONPAREILONLINE.CO M

It will soon be the “Dog Days of Summer,” but for Sioux Sun Butler, those days are, well, all year long. Butler is the owner of Serenity Dog Salon, and business is looking better all the time. “I’m quite busy and I’m looking to hire a new groomer as I am now at that point,” Butler said recently. “I’m ahead of my business plan.” Butler, 46, opened her business at 900 Woodbury Ave. last August, but in reality, it began years ago. “I’ve been in a grooming salon since I was 5. I helped my mother in her business and she not only taught me, but also a cousin and my aunt.” Butler’s mother, Tama Johnson, who was a Doberman breeder, got her started in this line of work at that young age. She continued her training when her mother became owner of a dog salon in Omaha. They worked together for 20 years operating a mobile dog grooming service called AArf. “It was a grooming service dogs asked for by name,” Butler joked. When her mother suffered health issues, the business stopped, but not Butler’s love for that type of work. She simply went to work for a cousin in Omaha for several years. Finally, she decided to go out on her own, which brought a most memorable moment. “As far as my most meaningful memory, it was having my mother here for the open house.” Her mother was recovering from a stroke. “She saw her daughter become a business woman.” Butler has developed a

Staff photo/Tim Rohwer

Sioux Sun Butler, holding Harley, one of her many clients, has been grooming dogs since she was 5 years old. good reputation, she said, averaging about 40 clients a week. Business has also come her way from the recommendations of local vets. “I feel I’ve already exceeded my expectations,” Butler said. Eventually, she would like to hire three groomers to help meet the growing

demand. Serenity performs grooming basics like therapeutic bathing, shampoo and conditioner, complete fluff blow dry, ear cleaning and nails clipped. But, additional services are provided, also. These include hand scissoring, brushing, specialized

treatments for the skin and coat, and nail filing. Butler also used premium products not available in most salons. She also provides express service for an extra fee. “I don’t do cats, dogs only,” she said. “I’ve met some wonderful people and I’ve had the most wonderful dogs

come to me.” On average, it takes about two to four hours for a hair cut with clients willing to sit for that long, Butler said. “Most dogs are cooperative.” Born and raised in Council Bluffs, Butler is a Lewis Central High School graduate.

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2F Sunday, June 17, 2012

SOUTHWEST IOWA WOMEN

The Daily Nonpareil

Gach-Mils: Kind to four-footed friends ‘I grew up with dogs, I grew up with horses. I was lucky.’ TIM JOHNSON TJOHNSON@NONPAREILONLINE.COM

“I’ve always been an animal lover.” Terri Gach-Mils of Council Bluffs is a Midlands Humane Society Board member and pet owner. “I have four horses of my own,” she said. “I have two dogs.” The canines are Simba, a yellow Labrador; and Simon, a Chesapeake and German shorthair mix. She found Simba on the back of a semi at Nebraska Coast Inc., the family business where she is vice president of administration. Gach-Mils grew up on an acreage where there was plenty of room for animals. “We’ve always had dogs,” she said. “I grew up with dogs, I grew up with horses. I was lucky – my parents were animal lovers, so it started at an early age.” At the time, the family was living in Indiana, Gach-Mils said. “We had never had horses before, but my dad bought this place that had this huge horse setup – and we were young, so we didn’t think anything about it. Then one day, my dad came home with a Shetland pony.” They later moved it to South Dakota, then to Underwood, she said. They also got a horse from a neighbor who had done barrel racing. They showed the horse for a couple years, but it was mainly a pet. “We loved it, and the horse enjoyed the attention,” she said. Gach-Mils volunteered at a local shelter before she got involved with MHS. A friend was part of the group that started the chapter and, four years ago, she got involved, too. It has been slow going, but she is optimistic. “The best thing is to see how much the community is supporting us,” she said. “We have raised a lot of money – and, unfortunately, it’s not a good time to raise money. To me, it’s not about the money, it’s about the people and how much they’re supporting us.” Gach-Mils has enjoyed helping with MHS fundrais-

Submitted photo

Terri Gach-Mils and Simba, one of her dogs, sit by a Nebraska Coast truck. Animals and trucking occupy most of her time. ers, she said. “I get to visit with people and hear their stories about their pets,” she said. “It’s good to see all the people come out (for dog washes, etc.) and see how much they love their pets.” It’s also nice to see animals adopted, Gach-Mils said. Some were adopted during Let’s Talk Derby 2011. “We had some dogs on stage, and two of those dogs ended up getting adopted,” she said. This year, a mother cat and seven kittens got adopted. Despite the efforts of MHS and other organizations, many unwanted animals are born because pet owners who do not want their pets to reproduce do not always spay or neuter them, Gach-Mils said. “We need to educate people,” she said. “If you’re not

going to breed, you need to spay or neuter. People need to be responsible, and we need to get that out in the community. Until we do, we’re going to keep having all these cats and all these dogs.” There are more feral cats than dogs, Gach-Mils said. “I know there’s a couple organizations in Council Bluffs and Omaha that are doing the feral cats,” she said. “They’re getting them fostered out to keep them out of the shelter, but that runs its course, too. You can only foster them for so long.” The flat economy plays a role in families’ decisions to get rid of their pets – perhaps by abandoning them, Gach-Mils said. Food and veterinary care can get expensive. “With the floods we had last year, a lot of pets got abandoned,” she said. “The shelter

down here in Council Bluffs had chickens, guinea pigs, all kinds of birds …” In some cases, it was because families had to relocate to someplace that did not allow pets, she said. Families should think carefully before getting a pet, Gach-Mils said. Expenses, children, allergies and other reasons should be considered. If a young couple gets pets and then decides to have a family, they could end up with pets and children that are not suitable for each other. “It’s not the animal’s fault,” she said. “People just need to be a little more conscious of what their plans are down the line.” Nebraska Coast Inc. was founded in 1981 by Gach-Mils’ father and celebrated its 30th anniversary in September, she

said. “He only had one owneroperator when he started,” she said. Now, there are 30 drivers, Gach-Mils said. “To this day, we’re still an all-owner-operator company.” Nebraska Coast runs primarily from the Midwest to the Southeast and back. Many of the trailers its drivers pull are refrigerated. Gach-Mils has worked for the family business since 1984 and initially had her office in Florida, she said. “I was in high school when I first started,” she said. “I was doing logs for my dad. I learned the business from the ground up.” The company was founded in Nebraska and has had offices in several different locations, Gach-Mils said. “We’ve made quite a few

moves, but this has been our permanent location since 1988.” Gach-Mils has taken her campaign for animals to Nebraska Coast. “We have a lot of drivers with dogs” that travel with them, she said. She has volunteered for other kinds of organizations, too. She has volunteered with the Optimists, at a local school and at Lake Manawa State Park, where she helped build Dream Playground. “I’ve been volunteering since shortly after I got married,” she said. “I’m lucky that the volunteering I’m doing now includes working with animals.” She and her husband, Sean, help with some Shriner events. “I have time, so I may as well make myself useful,” she said.

Treynor native finds success in banking Joshua Guttau, and said “There’s our next marketing director.” “(Josh Guttau) called me and asked me if I’d consider,” Stupfell said. “That was in June 2007, and here we are five years later.” But TS Bank was not an unknown to Stupfell. A Treynor native, she grew up going to church with the Guttaus, and so much of her life is embedded in the history of the community. Stupfell, whose maiden name is Volkens, grew up on a “Century Farm” next to Treynor Community Schools. Living in the city on a farm was the “best of both worlds,” she said. When she married her husband, Perry Stupfell, in 2008, she moved to the Stupfell Farm west of Treynor. Their 3½month-old son, Eugene, bares the name of his third great grandfather who first plowed that land.

‘I got to learn on the frontlines and understand how banking worked.’ CHAD NATION CNATION@NONPAREILONLINE.COM

Kelsey Stupfell said she had no interest in becoming a banker while attending college, but now she couldn’t imagine working anywhere other than TS Bank. Stupfell, 26, is the vice president of business development at TS Bank, but would have never imagined working for a bank while she attended Simpson College, where she majored in corporate communications. “I had no interest at all; I never dreamed I’d be a banker,” she said as she laughed. “I hated math and wanted to work with people planning events.” But sometimes your life can take a path that you would have never planned. For Stupfell, it started during her senior year of college. A music minor at Simpson, Stupfell said she has always loved singing, whether with the Harvest Community Church music ministry or by herself, and it was this first love that opened the door to banking. Judy Guttau, currently the director of charitable giving at the bank, was still the acting marketing director and asked Stupfell to sing a little as the entertainment for a bank function. Stupfell later learned that during her performance, Guttau leaned over to her son, and TS Bank President and CFO,

Staff photo/Erin Duerr

Kelsey Stupfell never dreamed of working for a bank, but now as the vice president of business development at TS Bank, she could not see herself anywhere else.

Treynor is in her blood, and she took that encoded knowledge with her when she started out as the assistant marketing director and a personal banker at TS Bank. While not planning on banking, Stupfell said she was thankful for that personal banking training, which she still leans on today. “I’m so lucky I got to learn on the frontlines and understand how banking worked,” she said. “I’m grateful because it put me in a position to be more successful with that background.” In her current position as vice president of business development, Stupfell said she coordinates internal and external branding for the bank. That involves her wearing a lot of different hats and dabbling in a number of fields, including business development, public relations, marketing, advertising and sales. One project she is currently

working on is making sure online clients are receiving the full array of customer services offered by TS Bank. “We have online clients who may never come in to a branch, but we still want them to feel connected with all of our client services,” she said. “We still want them to know what we stand for, even if they never meet us.” Stupfell said she loves the variety her job provides and she is proud to work for a business that cares about the community with programs such as TS Bank Institute, which promotes financial literacy to school children, and its employees, as witnessed by the banks inclusion in Iowa’s Top Workplaces. “We have also been named the No. 1 bank in Iowa for the third year in a row,” she said. “Those are all great things and nothing that could be done without everyone working together.”


The Daily Nonpareil

SOUTHWEST IOWA WOMEN

Sunday, June 17, 2012 3F

Andrena Macleod: President, CEO and more ‘They know I’m a stickler about doing the job.’ DENNIS FRIEND DFRIEND@NONPAREILONLINE.COM

Andrena Macleod has an unusual name and she knows it. She’s been called Edwina, Adrena, Rita. Sometimes, she said she had introduced herself as Andrena. They respond with, “Hi, Ann. They think my last name’s Drena,” Macleod said. She takes it in stride. “My father dated a girl named Andrena in Scotland.” Although he left Scotland and he married someone else, he liked the name and so did Andrena’s mother. “It’s not that common,” Macleod said, and she appreciates the uncommon and the unusual. She named her daughter Staff photo/Dennis Friend Sheena for that reason. Macleod is cheerful, gregarious and self-effacing. She will joke about everything from her job duties as the president and “I wanted something differ- CEO of United Credit Union – which she said include “drinking coffee and looking at papers” – to her age. ent and she likes the name. At least I didn’t name her Moon Macleod did not start out IRS,” she recalled. as a teller. said. Unit,” Macleod said. However, “When I was going “I loved working with the To do well in that position, Macleod is cheerful, gregari- assuming she would someday you have to be a jack-of-allous and self-effacing. She will be the president and CEO of to the University of Nebraska credit union people,” she said. She divorced and moved trades, she said, and the joke about everything from her United Credit Union, or any at Omaha, I took a part-time job duties as the president and other credit union. In college, job as a teller. I would go to back to Omaha, and the now- description fits her. “I can still be a teller today,” CEO of United Credit Union – she thought perhaps she might school in the mornings and I single mother took a job as a she said. “I hate it when filing which she said include “drink- go to work for the Internal Rev- would work in the afternoons,” loan officer at a credit union. She liked it. isn’t done, because we would ing coffee and looking at enue Service as an investiga- she said. tor. She eventually discarded “A position opened here in have to do the filing and anypapers” – to her age. “My major was criminal jus- the notion of a criminal justice 1993 for a president of the thing else that needed to be “I’m 53 and have white hair,” she said, claiming that tice and my minor was career. She got married and credit union. It was a small done. I have planted zinnias in she has been mistaken for her accounting. I loved accounting moved to Colorado, where she credit union at the time and the front, I’ve been a back-up and I wanted to work for the went to work at a credit union they needed someone,” she accountant, worked as a loan daughter’s grandmother.

officer and I’ve even scrubbed the toilets if I had to.” She praises tellers and considers them the first line of defense, adding “They know I’m a stickler about doing the job.” Her reasoning is simple: The job is about helping people. “I try to be helpful. I like to help people,” Macleod said. “My door’s always open. People will talk to me, they ask questions.” For instance, talking to customers has revealed not only one of the bigger problems they encounter, but an easy solution as well. “Young people love debit cards,” she said. “You can by two tacos on Taco Tuesday and you don’t need a dollar. But you have to balance your checkbook. Most of the time they don’t balance their checkbook.” Therein lies the problem. It’s easy to lose a receipt, easy to forget to log a transaction, and the result could mean an overdraft and a charge. A balanced checkbook, on the other hand, would save people money, she said. Macleod said she has a few outside interests. “I don’t belong to clubs or organizations. I go to Lancers games. I love hockey. I have season tickets,” she said. She makes quilts and dabbles in furniture refinishing. “I always wished I could be a woodworker, but I don’t have the patience. I have more patience with quilting, but I force myself to get it done,” she said. And she said she loves watching television. “I loved TV from the moment my dad brought that big round TV home,” she said.

Happiness abounds in Thomas’ life and career ‘I would want you to be happy with your insurance.’ DENNIS FRIEND DFRIEND@NONPAREILONLINE.COM

Patricia Thomas used to be a nurse. Today, she’s an insurance agent. In her opinion, “the concept is similar. You’re helping people.” Thomas has been an agent for Farm Bureau Financial Services for almost nine years, running her own agency out of an office on Woodbury Avenue. Before that, she was a registered nurse for 31 years, working in labor, delivery and maternity. She worked in a number of hospitals before she “evolved into the insurance side of nursing and decided that’s where I wanted to go.” She was born in Idaho and she worked as a nurse in Utah and in Nebraska. She moved to Iowa with her husband, Phil. Thomas initially had qualms about moving away from her nursing career and into the insurance industry because she felt she was not good at sales. Those qualms evaporated when she realized “it’s service-oriented and often you’re helping people in a crisis.” Thomas said every day is different in her line of work. As a business owner and an agent contracted with Farm Bureau Financial Services, “I need to manage my business,” she said, and that means she will put in as many hours as necessary. It’s a multi-line agency offering insurance for homes, autos and commercial property, and she offers crop insurance, life insurance, annuities, health insurance and long term care insurance. On Aug. 18, 2011, a massive hailstorm struck the area, shattering car windows and punching holes in roofs, and damaging siding. Thomas was inundated with claims. “From the 19th of August until today, we were working with thousands of claims,” Thomas said. The idea is to not only settle claims, but also to make

people happy. “We want people to be happy with their insurance. I would want you to be happy with your insurance,” Thomas said, adding she does not want “negative surprises” for her customers. It is not uncommon for Thomas to put in 15- or 16hour workdays, but she said she doesn’t mind and neither does her husband. “What I appreciate about my husband is, he loves me enough to let me fly,” she said. In her career, “You’re making things happen, resolving situations. I love what I do. I never question why I’m in this business. It’s a long day, but the concept is similar to nursing. You’re helping people,” Thomas said. Thomas has a master’s degree and had reviewed health insurance claims and patient cases as a nurse. She said she uses that experience and background in her career today. She said she also understood the value of insurance long before she moved into her new career. “My parents died in an airplane crash when I was 11. The fact that they had life insurance allowed me to get a college education,” she said. Thomas made it clear she has a life outside of her career, and family life ranks high on her agenda. The Thomases, who live on an acreage just outside of Glenwood, have seven children and 15 grandchildren. “Our kids all love and support each other.” “I’m a wife, a mother and a grandmother, and I love being a grandma,” she said. Those grandchildren range in age from a newborn to the age of 16. Five of the grandchildren live in the area, and they are part of a family tradition she began. “Every Thursday is Grandma Day,” she said. On Grandma Day, she gets together with the grandchildren. “We do something for us. It’s about time together,” she said. “It’s very special to us all. It’s a fun time and I’ll never change it as long as they want to do it.” She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and attends church in both Council Bluffs

school age and older. “It all involves building their faith and helping them become good, strong citizens,” Thomas said.

She also has a strong interest in genealogy and ancestry. “It’s fun to do,” she said, then laughed, “I’m a very happy person.”

MaryLittleton situations surely provides us with our “ups and downs” along the way. Being able to adapt to these changes is important and provides challenges in itself.

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Pat Thomas is an agent with Farm Bureau in Council Bluffs. and Glenwood. She stays active in her church and its youth programs. Those church groups and activities might

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As the workplace becomes busier in these challenging times, how do you balance work and home life? What’s your secret? Budgeting! You have to learn to budget your time between the two (work & home) and be organized. We know you love your job, but if you could be anything (poet, president, activist, etc.), what would you be? I wouldn’t trade my job - yes, at times it can be very stressful - but it is also very rewarding! How do you stay motivated in these challenging times? Knowing that I am helping someone. Working closely with each patient to find the right size and style breast prosthesis and bra that will restore a natural look and project a positive body image. Who was your mentor in the workplace or life and how did they help you? My husband, Jim. We have worked together many years and have a lot of respect for each other & what we do. He has taught me a lot about the orthotics/prosthetics field. Learn as much as you can. Never stop learning. What are you most proud of having accomplished at this point in your life? Raising our children to be responsible and caring young adults. What is your favorite adage or words of wisdom (please include author if possible)? “I think I began learning long ago that those who are the happiest are those who do the most for others.” -Booker T. Washington “You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” -Franklin P. Jones


SOUTHWEST IOWA WOMEN

4F Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Daily Nonpareil

Women’s gains come slowly ERIN GOLDEN WORLD-HERALD NEWS SERVICE

Measured against most other states, Nebraska and Iowa are short a few women like Jill Lorsch, Kathy Jordan and Cindi Goff. Their businesses – an import brokerage, coffee shops and a street-sweeping company, respectively – are part of a growing list of women-owned firms in the Midlands. Between 1997 and 2012, that list expanded by nearly 35 percent in Nebraska and by almost 21 percent in Iowa, according to a new study. But compared with the 54 percent national growth rate over the same period, our numbers are not quite up to speed. Iowa, in particular, seems to be a tough spot for women in business, ranking last or second to last in several categories. Local business advocates say those are numbers that shouldn’t be ignored. Firms owned by women – which are growing nationally at a faster rate than businesses overall – represent a potential powerhouse for creating new jobs, boosting local economies and helping to speed the economic recovery. “We think it can be turned into a motivation,” said Mike Tramontina, president of Iowans for Social & Economic Development, a Des Moines business assistance organization that runs a Women’s Business Center. “This is a challenge, a concerted effort to reach out to more potential entrepreneurs, to provide more training ... to see if we can help them overcome some barriers to growth.” The new report was commissioned by American Express OPEN, a division of the credit card company aimed at small-business owners, and used census data and projections. It analyzed trends in women-owned businesses in terms of overall growth and by industry. And it broke down the results by state, which revealed Nebraska’s middle-of-the-road results and Iowa lagging far behind other states. Of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., Nebraska ranks 39th for growth in the number of firms, 25th in revenue growth and 20th in employment growth. With those factors combined, the survey gave women-owned firms in the Cornhusker State a “combined economic clout” ranking of No. 27. Iowa finished dead last in revenue growth (which shrank by 3.5 percent) and in the overall ranking. It was second to last for growth in the number of firms and overall employment growth. In the latter category, the state saw a nearly 20 percent drop over the 15-year period. It’s not clear what’s to blame for the low numbers. Leaders of several business development groups said the challenges facing women in business in Nebraska and Iowa are more or less the same challenges facing women in business around the country. Becky Greenwald is the regional advocate for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, and her territory covers Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. She said part of the issue for women is that they’re still playing catch-up after years of being outsiders in business. In 1972, women owned less than 5 percent of all U.S. firms. Today, that number is closer to 30 percent. Amelia Lobo, director of the ISED Women’s Business Center in Des Moines, said it’s possible that the types of businesses that draw more women could have something to do with growth trends. Some of the industries with larger numbers of women-owned businesses – health and social assistance, services like dry cleaning and beauty salons, and retail – are sometimes the first to take a hit when the economy is struggling. She said many women are still balancing a large number of home and family responsibilities with work, which might have something to do with

File photo

People gather at Scooter’s Coffeehouse located 149 W. Broadway. The growth of female-owned businesses in the Midlands hasn’t kept pace with the national average. Kathy Jordan, who runs two Scooter’s Coffee House franchises in Council Bluffs, said finding and keeping good employees can be one of her toughest tasks. “Whether you’re a male or a female in the small-business world, I think some of the same issues are going to happen no matter what,” she said. their selection of one type of business over another. “There are certainly a lot of demands on women still based on family obligations, and that may have something to do with it,” she said. But Lobo added that it’s clear women aren’t just going into business because they think it will somehow allow more flexibility than another type of work. “These are not lifestyle businesses,” she said. “Women are not going into business predominantly because it’s easier to have a family and a small business. These are businesses that grow.” Plus, there are the issues that affect just about every business owner, regardless of their gender. “Working capital, startup capital ... traditional lenders aren’t interested in loaning to startups because they are too risky,” said Monica Braun, director of the Women’s Business Center for the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project in Lyons, Neb. Keeping up momentum as a business grows is also an issue. The report found the womenowned firms with $25,000 to $49,999 in revenue grow at the fastest rate, but that the growth drops off significantly between $250,000 and $499,999 in revenue. At the million-dollar mark, womenowned firms make up less than 2 percent of all businesses

bringing in that much revenue. Kathy Jordan, who runs two Scooter’s Coffee House franchises in Council Bluffs, said finding and keeping good employees can be one of her toughest tasks. “Whether you’re a male or a female in the small-business world, I think some of the same issues are going to happen no matter what,” she said. “It’s just the market that we’re in now and the attitude of the people.” Some agencies have attempted to help women in particularly male-dominated industries, like construction. Last year, the SBA began a new program that requires some federal contracting work to be set aside for bids only from women-owned businesses. Kathleen Piper, deputy district director for the SBA in Nebraska, said her office has been holding workshops – including one coming up this month – to help women sort out what kind of set-asides they might qualify for. So far, nearly 100 women have registered to be in line for the government projects. About 40 women are now members of a group called the Women-owned Construction Consortium, which meets monthly at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. That group is increasingly attracting the attention of government agencies looking for contractors, said Andy Alexander, a

program manager with UNO’s Nebraska Business Development Center. Some additional help can provide a boost, but local women business owners said lasting success has more to do with having a passion for business – and showing over and over again that you know your stuff. Jill Lorsch has operated a custom brokerage firm in Omaha since 2000 with two other women, Pam Feyerherm and Traci Woolsoncroft. The three worked together in the industry for years before striking out on their own. Lorsch said New Venture Brokers started small: “We dug deep in our pockets, found an Office Depot $199 desk special and used cardboard boxes for

tables.” But it didn’t take long before the women had built a solid client base of customers, all importers who relied on New Venture to sort out all of the documents to get their products into the country. “We’re pretty down-to-earth people,” Lorsch said. “You’d be surprised at the number of businesses that really embrace that, the no-nonsense, let’s get the job done right.” Omaha businesswoman Cindi Goff said she faced a few skeptics when she opened her first business – River City Barricade Co. – in 1981, when she was 25 years old. Some potential clients didn’t think a young woman would know anything about business, let alone about one related to

construction. The company rented and sold road barricades. But she pushed forward. By 2010, when she sold the business, Goff had 25 employees. Now, she’s back in the game with another business, a streetsweeping company called Broomers Inc. She works with private companies for parking lots and does some work on local government property. Goff and her co-owner, Diane Urbach, have five employees. “I don’t know where you can go and get the earning power you can get with your own business,” she said. “You have to be passionate about it and have to be devoted. What you need most is time. You really have to be devoted to the business.”

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6F Sunday, June 17, 2012

SOUTHWEST IOWA WOMEN

The Daily Nonpareil

Newman stays busy with home cooking ‘The sky’s the limit for what people want.’ MIKE BROWNLEE MBROWNLEE@NONPAREILONLINE.COM

From underwriter to caterer. That’s the career switch Stacy Newman made five years ago and she doesn’t regret it. Newman owns and operates Celebrate Catering, a familyrun business that serves meals at weddings, holiday parties, graduation parties and much more. In 2007, the Council Bluffs native left her job as underwriting supervisor for a crop insurance company to join her mother at Celebrate. Linda Foje started the business in 2002. “She was wearing too many hats for one person,” Newman said, “so I joined to help. And I wanted to work with her.” Mom retired a few years ago, but there’s still plenty of family involved. Newman’s brother, Steve Foje, works for Celebrate, while their father, Jim, helps when needed. Plus, Staff photos/Erin Duerr there’s Newman’s husband of 16 years, Mike, and their Left, Stacy Newman prepares some pulled chicken as she prepares for one of several weekend events at her catering kitchen on Friday, June 1. Newman operates Celebrate Catering in Council Bluffs. Right, Newman cuts up a pineapple as she prepares for one of several weekend events. daughter, Morgan, 15. And numerous family memsaid of her family. “I always say, spinach artichoke dip,” New- dinating,” she said. April through November. When bers and friends help out when atmosphere to her customers. “My motto is, ‘Family cater- ‘I’m not a chef, I’m a home man said. “With homemade Plus there are the catered that ends holiday party season needed to work catered events. chips.” events themselves. Over starts. “Sometimes people have a ers that cater to you like fam- cook.’” Celebrate Catering’s menu “The sky’s the limit for what Memorial Day weekend, the “We stay busy,” she said. hard time working with family ily,’” she said. “Everything we Newman’s favorite part of on a day-to-day basis. We really do is like we’d serve for our own ranges from the elegant to the people want,” she continued. business fed more than 1,200 the job? enjoy it,” Newman said. “I’m family. People aren’t just a casual, from buffet style to full “We don’t have a package A, a from May 24 through May 27. service dinner. Newman said package B. You tell us what “And they were all different “That’s a hard question to not saying we don’t have the name in our book.” Newman said moving from she prides the company on buy- you’re looking for and we make menus,” she said. answer. I like a lot of it,” she occasional tiff, but we get along Late spring and summer said. “My favorite is probably great. We’ve always been a insurance to catering was diffi- ing local or from family-run all of our food from scratch.” cult, but not a total stretch. She businesses when possible. It takes long hours to run are busy times, as customers the satisfaction of knowing my close family. The most popular item for the business. Newman said host weddings, graduation par- customers are pleased, and “It’s funny, sometimes one grew up helping cook at family will finish something started dinners and still uses recipes weddings and other large gath- there’s planning for portion ties, family reunions and other those customers know their by another. We know how each passed on by her grandmother. erings is the stuffed chicken sizes, supply orders to coordi- gatherings during the warm guests are getting a home“We come from a great line breast. For the hors d’oeuvres nate, vendors to work with. weather months. Wedding sea- cooked meal. That’s just satisother work.” “Lots of planning and coor- son, Newman said, runs from fying.” Newman carries that family of wonderful cooks,” Newman menus, “we have an amazing

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Southwest Iowa Women 2012