Businesses Improve With ISU Advice

Sheldon, Iowa — Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is finding that a number of downtown Sheldon businesses that took part in a couple of university programs last year to help their businesses have taken some of the ideas to heart and are happy with the results.
Mastbergen Jewelry
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach O’Brien County recently checked in with Sheldon-area businesses that took part in an extension-funded ISU College of Design entrepreneurial and design project last fall.

Extension spokesperson Kiley Kaufman says that the program actually consisted of two projects.

In following up, Extension experts visited with the owners of Marigolds and Downtown Hardware who took part in the small business consulting project, and with representatives from Mastbergen Jewelry and Time After Time, both of whom took part in the downtown revitalization project.

At the Marigolds store in Sheldon, the students had several ideas.

Jenny Pomerenke, Marigolds co-owner said that the key benefit to the store was that the girls they were paired with for the project brought a different generational aspect.

Kaufman says Pomerenke and her business partner Betty Moss took all of the ideas to heart and have started implementing them.

The same goes for Downtown Hardware, she says.

When the students arrived at Downtown Hardware, Kaufman says they were a little bit in awe.

Additionally, Hindt has begun creating new signage using a color palette that the students recommended. He hopes to begin using social media to market to younger audiences in the near future.

The other three businesses to take part in the small business consulting project were Prairie Queen Restaurant and Bakery, Lady B’s, and Missy’s.

The second program revolved around downtown revitalization. It paired one ISU College of Design student with an area business and the student was tasked with redesigning that business’s storefront. This project was much less involved than the business consulting project, but required a creative eye and flair for design.

At Mastbergen Jewelry, their student introduced the store to the idea of adding diamond decals to the storefront windows, as well as possibly implementing an updated logo design which would appeal to younger generations.

Mastbergen Jewelry’s management team installed the diamond decals in the storefront’s windows and is looking at updating their logo to expand their marketing potential.

“The last thing I wanted to see was an overly updated storefront design,” Dan Latterell, owner of Time After Time said. “Neon lights and the newest styles work well for some businesses, but time is an old business and it fits in an old-style building.”

Latterell was impressed to discover that the student he was paired with completely understood his business’s needs. The student designed a simple storefront that would feature a large pocket watch in the window, as well as a working clock that would hang perpendicular from the storefront. He also encouraged Latterell to create a new business card that would reflect the elements of the storefront.

“If I had the budget, the design was exactly what I’d do,” Latterell said. “I was really satisfied. The student asked questions, listened to what I really wanted, and took notes. It was fun talking to him, and he did a wonderful job without changing anything too much.”

The other businesses that participated in the downtown revitalization project included: 324 9th Street, 326 9th Street, Carl’s Footwear, Citizens State Bank, Dairy Dandy Drive-Inn, Gesink & Vander Wilt Agency, Hair Headquarters, J&B Bar, Just Cuts for Men, Locke’s of Hair, Miedema Chiropractic, Prins Insurance, Sheldon Public Library, Southwest Wholesale RV, Top Notch Stitching, Touch of Hope, Truly Scrumptious, and Wheelchair Dynamics.

These programs were completed as a partnership between ISU Extension and Outreach, the O’Brien County Extension Council, Iowa State University, and Sheldon-area businesses.

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