Corridor Native Spring 2018

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Homegrown Businesses in the <strong>Corridor</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

HAND<br />

in hand<br />

BoWood partners<br />

use special skills in<br />

woodworking startup<br />


Frontier Co-op thrives in its rural<br />

Iowa roots<br />


BEDS<br />

Lebeda Mattress Factory delivers<br />

straight from factory<br />


Bug Soother not an easy ascent


<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

Chief Executive Officer & Publisher<br />

John F. Lohman<br />

Vice President<br />

Aspen N. Lohman<br />

Chief Operating Officer & Associate Publisher<br />

Andrea Rhoades<br />

Magazine & Special Projects Editor<br />

Angela Holmes<br />

Writers<br />

Cindy Hadish<br />

Angela Holmes<br />

Emery Styron<br />

Photographer<br />

Brian Draeger<br />

Graphic Design Manager<br />

Becky Lyons<br />

Graphic Designer<br />

Julia Druckmiller<br />

Magazine Media Consultant<br />

Judith Cobb<br />

CBJ Editor<br />

Adam Moore<br />

CBJ Media Consultant<br />

Kelly Meyer<br />

Event Marketing Coordinator<br />

Ashley Levitt<br />

Event Media Consultant<br />

Rhonda Roskos<br />

A place to grow<br />

Yes, we grow a lot of corn here in Iowa. And while we are certainly<br />

proud of our status as an agricultural leader, we are also home<br />

to many more products – some you probably don’t even know<br />

about. Spreading the word about the region’s<br />

homegrown goods and brands was the inspiration<br />

behind <strong>Corridor</strong> <strong>Native</strong>.<br />

In the first issue of this twice-yearly magazine,<br />

we take a closer look at several Eastern<br />

Iowa companies ranging in size from one or<br />

two employees to a total staff of around 500<br />

spread across four locations.<br />

A few of the businesses, like BoWood in Vinton,<br />

are just starting out and trying to make a<br />

name for themselves. Others, like Frontier Coop<br />

and Lebeda Mattress, are established brands<br />

Angela Holmes<br />

with customers around the country and the globe.<br />

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the <strong>Corridor</strong>,<br />

as evidenced by the number of startups operating and receiving<br />

solid support from several area business development centers.<br />

The manufacturing sector remains a top employer in the region<br />

and state, producing billions in exports.<br />

We hope you enjoy this inaugural issue of <strong>Corridor</strong> <strong>Native</strong><br />

and learn more about our thriving business climate. The next<br />

issue will be published in October. If you have any story ideas for<br />

local-based companies – big or small – drop me a line at (319)<br />

665-6397 ext. 309 or angela@corridorbusiness.com.<br />

Marketing & Distribution Manager<br />

Jean Suckow<br />

Contents are registered to <strong>Corridor</strong> Media Group.<br />

Reproductions or other use, in whole or in part, of the contents<br />

of the publication without permission is strictly prohibited.<br />

Angela Holmes<br />

Editor<br />

2345 Landon Rd., Ste. 100<br />

North Liberty, IA 52317<br />

(319) 665-NEWS (6397)<br />

www.corridorbusiness.com<br />



in the <strong>Corridor</strong><br />

<strong>Corridor</strong> <strong>Native</strong> features<br />

businesses in the 7-county<br />

<strong>Corridor</strong> region<br />

Benton, Linn, Jones,<br />

Iowa, Johnson, Cedar<br />

and Washington<br />

BoWood, a two-man<br />

startup in Vinton,<br />

specializes in handmade<br />

wooden cutting boards<br />

and kitchen utensils.<br />

2 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>


HERE<br />

TO STAY<br />

Frontier Co-op proud to be<br />

based in rural Iowa<br />

6<br />




HOT<br />

Surveying the region’s<br />

entrepreneurial climate<br />

4<br />

HAND IN<br />

HAND<br />

Vinton woodworking<br />

startup looking to grow<br />

10<br />

FRESHLY-<br />

BAKED<br />

BEDS<br />

Lebeda Mattress<br />

delivers directly<br />

from Marion<br />

16<br />


HIT<br />

MCG BioComposites’ plant<br />

markers find their niche<br />

20<br />

KEEP<br />


Simply Soothing<br />

owners show<br />

no signs of<br />

slowing down<br />

24<br />

CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 3



HOT<br />


By Emery Styron<br />


The Marion-based Kirkwood<br />

Small Business Development Center<br />

enjoyed a big 2017:<br />

What economist John Maynard Keynes called “animal spirits” are rampant<br />

in the <strong>Corridor</strong>, if the traffic through Scott Swenson’s office door is any<br />

indication.<br />

“It was a record year in almost all aspects,” said Swenson, who counseled<br />

380 entrepreneurs and small business owners last year as director of<br />

the SBA’s Marion-based Kirkwood Small Business Development Center.<br />

High points included 30 businesses started, 244 jobs created, $7.6 million<br />

capital invested and sales increases of $12.8 million for the center’s clients.<br />

380 entrepreneurs<br />

30 businesses started<br />

244 jobs created<br />

$7.6 million capital<br />

invested<br />

$12.8 million sales<br />

increases<br />


“One of the main drivers now is the climate for starting a business and the<br />

entrepreneurial culture is exceptionally robust,” Swenson said. Regional<br />

collaboration and partnering by economic development entities is working,<br />

he added. “As people successfully start businesses, others get more<br />

confidence in pursuing their ideas as well.”<br />

Five years ago, most referrals to Kirkwood’s SBDC were from banks,<br />

but now they come from past clients and “almost every economic development<br />

group including the city of Cedar Rapids, University of Iowa, ISU<br />

CIRAS, NewBoCo, the EDC, Kirkwood, the Economic Alliance, NewBo<br />

City Market, Marion and Czech Village/NewBo Main Street programs and<br />

more,” Swenson noted.<br />

Paul Heath, the veteran director of the UI’s Small Business Development<br />

Center, reports activity is running ahead of last year. Just six months<br />

4 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>

in, the center has already exceeded fiscal year goals for new businesses created, capital<br />

infusion and clients counseled.<br />

People start businesses for a variety of reasons, but “with unemployment in Johnson County<br />

at 2 percent, it is probably not because they cannot find a job,” Heath observed. TV shows<br />

like “Shark Tank” and resources such as the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center are popular<br />

and help seed startup dreams, he said.<br />


The entrepreneurial vigor stretches beyond the <strong>Corridor</strong>.<br />

“There has been a record high of new corporation registrations in Iowa in each of the<br />

past two years. We broke the 20,000 mark for the first time in 2016, and that record was<br />

broken again in 2017,” Secretary of State Paul Pate told the CBJ.<br />

“I believe the business climate in Iowa for new business startups is very good right now.<br />

Unemployment is below 3 percent. Businesses continue to add jobs. That’s good news for<br />

everyone,” he added.<br />

Iowa’s rankings in the 2016 Kauffman Index of Main Street Entrepreneurship support<br />

Pate’s observations. The 2016 index was up in all but three states for the first time since<br />

the Great Recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. Iowa’s sixth-place<br />

ranking of 2.74 among the 25 less populated states was unchanged from 2015.<br />

Scott Swenson<br />

Paul Heath<br />


• Business ownership rate: 7.66 percent of the adult population, mid-range between West<br />

Virginia’s low of 4.1 percent and Montana’s high of 10.2 percent.<br />

• Established small business density: 702.7, near the top of the range between Nevada’s low<br />

of 544.3 and Vermont’s high of 707.1. The ratio is calculated by dividing the number of established<br />

small employer businesses by the total employer business population in 1,000s.<br />


Paul Pate<br />

I believe the business climate in<br />

Iowa for new business startups<br />

is very good right now.<br />

Paul Pate, Secretary of State<br />

CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 5

Frontier Co-op<br />

3021 78th St.<br />

Norway, IA 52318<br />

www.frontiercoop.com<br />

A Frontier Co-op<br />

employee performs<br />

a quality check on a<br />

product in the bottling<br />

line at the main plant<br />

in Norway. PHOTO<br />


Here<br />

to Stay<br />

Frontier Co-op thrives<br />

in its rural Iowa roots<br />

By Cindy Hadish<br />

Frontier Co-op could have relocated to a trendier location,<br />

but the company remains firmly rooted in rural Iowa.<br />

From its humble beginnings in 1976 in a tiny cabin<br />

along the Wapsipinicon River, Frontier has blossomed<br />

from a two-person operation into a major supplier in the<br />

natural products industry, with nearly 500 employees at<br />

four Iowa locations.<br />

“It was borne out of need and at a time when people were<br />

looking at organic,” Frontier CEO Tony Bedard said, citing<br />

founder Rick Stewart’s initial foray into providing herbs to<br />

6 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>

stores in smaller packaging, rather than bulk quantities. “From<br />

the beginning, it was an alternative kind of company.”<br />

Frontier products are sold in major chains across the United<br />

States and Canada, including Target, Hy-Vee, Safeway,<br />

Kroger and many smaller outlets, such as New Pioneer Food<br />

Co-op in the <strong>Corridor</strong>, and in pockets of other countries.<br />

The co-op’s Simply Organic cinnamon and pure vanilla<br />

extract are among its biggest sellers, but Frontier offers thousands<br />

of other products, including new bottled spices, such<br />

as Ancho Chili Powder from dried and ground poblano<br />

chili peppers, and packaged organic “simmer sauces” used<br />

to season fajitas and other Southwestern entrées.<br />

In addition, its Aura Cacia line offers organic essential<br />

oils, new roll-ons, do-it-yourself home care blends and other<br />

body and facial care products.<br />


Since its inception, Frontier has been a member-owned<br />

co-op, with a board of directors elected by members who<br />

directly participate in the business. Wholesale customers –<br />

the stores, distributors and buying clubs that purchase and<br />

resell Frontier’s products – provide capital for Frontier to operate<br />

and share the co-op’s earnings.<br />

Bedard noted that Frontier’s interests extend beyond the<br />

financial to social justice, environmental concerns and other<br />

values that influence the co-op’s products.<br />

For example, Frontier offers a large selection of Fair Trade<br />

Certified loose-leaf teas, spices and herbs. Fair Trade certification<br />

ensures fair prices and good working conditions,<br />

while the producing communities benefit from projects,<br />

“People want<br />

more than<br />

just pay and<br />

benefits.”<br />

Tony Bedard<br />

Frontier Co-op CEO<br />


CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 7



Frontier Co-op<br />

produces a variety<br />

of organic products<br />

such as onion<br />

powder and red<br />

enchilada sauce.<br />

Other products<br />

include herbs, teas<br />

and personal care<br />

items.<br />

such as building a school or offering daycare<br />

to workers, funded by a portion of the Fair<br />

Trade premium.<br />

Frontier has taken that a step beyond, by<br />

digging wells in Madagascar villages to help<br />

its vanilla growers and starting other projects<br />

both at home and abroad, Bedard said.<br />

The co-op imports from more than 50<br />

countries, and several employees “roam the<br />

globe” to build its supply chain, he said, citing<br />

supply as one of Frontier’s biggest challenges.<br />

A portion of every Aura Cacia purchase<br />

supports Frontier’s Positive Change Project,<br />

with $230,000 provided last year to six organizations,<br />

including the Catherine McAuley<br />

Center in Cedar Rapids, and others around the<br />

country that help women better their lives.<br />


Those values are reflected in the business atmosphere,<br />

as well, where Frontier employees<br />

enjoy benefits such as on-site daycare and lowcost,<br />

nutritious meals at its organic cafe. The<br />

co-op’s site in rural Norway, Iowa, is its largest,<br />

with about 375 employees who work in<br />

packaging and other operations in three shifts.<br />

Another 30 are employed each in Belle Plaine<br />

and in Urbana – the site of its Aura Cacia facility<br />

– and about 50 at its North Liberty location.<br />

“We’re connected to Iowa and connected<br />

to the rural community,” Bedard said, noting<br />

that Frontier helped bring high-speed internet<br />

to Belle Plaine when it opened its facility there.<br />

A job fair in January attracted more than<br />

100 people for 50 openings, mainly full-time<br />

positions in production, while the number of<br />

Frontier employees doubled in the past five<br />

years alone.<br />

“We’re a good employer,” Bedard said.<br />

“People want more than just pay and benefits.”<br />

He attributes the co-op’s success, which includes<br />

double-digit growth over the past 15 years<br />

and “a couple hundred million” in annual sales,<br />

to its outstanding workforce and integrated technology.<br />

Employees work in self-directed teams,<br />

with no mandated overtime and opportunity for<br />

8 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>

a work-life balance, Bedard said.<br />

Frontier is hiring a vice president of innovation to keep<br />

promoting the growth the co-op has experienced, while a<br />

new innovation center is being constructed on its main campus<br />

in Norway. The two-story building is expected to open<br />

in July.<br />

“Nobody launches more products than we do in the natural<br />

food industry,” Bedard said, citing “dozens and dozens”<br />

of products annually. “Our goal is to continue that double-digit<br />

growth.”<br />

As it has grown, some in the company called for moving<br />

Frontier’s headquarters to somewhere “more hip,” such as<br />

Boulder, Colorado.<br />

But Bedard remained a staunch proponent of staying in<br />

Iowa, noting that employees are now moving to the state<br />

from Portland, Oregon, the Twin Cities and elsewhere.<br />

“We’re winning in rural Iowa,” he said. “I’m really excited<br />

about our future.” CN<br />

“We’re winning in rural Iowa.”<br />

Tony Bedard, Frontier Co-op CEO<br />

1606 Greens Way Ct NE<br />

Cedar Rapids IA 52402<br />

319-362-3200<br />

kim@kimwilkerson.com<br />

www.kimwilkerson.com<br />

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coach who creates both dramatic<br />

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CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 9

HANDin<br />

hand<br />

10 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>

T.J. Bowen, left, and Payton Schirm each<br />

bring their own talents to their business,<br />

BoWood, in Vinton. Bowen is the head<br />

craftsman while Schirm is the business<br />

development manager.<br />

Partners<br />

complement<br />

each other’s skills<br />

in startup<br />

By Angela Holmes<br />

TWO VINTON MEN each bring their<br />

own talents to the table of their woodworking<br />

business that specializes in handmade<br />

kitchen utensils, serving bowls and<br />

cutting boards.<br />

After making products for friends and<br />

family, T.J. Bowen and Payton Schirm officially<br />

launched BoWood in 2015 to introduce<br />

their craft to a wider audience. Bowen<br />

is the head craftsman while Schirm is<br />

the business development manager.<br />

The business started in earnest when<br />

Schirm’s wife, Alexa, asked Bowen – her<br />

brother-in-law – to make her a cutting board.<br />

A carpenter by trade, Bowen specializes in<br />

fine cabinetry and finish work. He uses his<br />

skills to create intricate cutting boards made<br />

with a variety of domestic woods, including<br />

maple and cherry which come from a 100-<br />

mile radius of Vinton, and specially-ordered<br />

exotic selections like zebrawood, marblewood<br />

and East Indian rosewood.<br />

While Bowen creates the checkered-pattern<br />

cutting boards and utensils such as<br />

scoops, spatulas and servers in the wood<br />

shop in his garage, Schirm is busy behind<br />

the scenes managing the books and developing<br />

a marketing and social media plan.<br />

BoWood Company<br />

602 E. Second St.<br />

Vinton, IA 52349<br />

http://bowoodco.com<br />


CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 11

12 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

T.J. Bowen sands a<br />

wooden kitchen utensil<br />

at BoWood’s shop in his<br />

Vinton garage. He hopes<br />

to add more equipment<br />

and expand his business.

T.J. Bowen engraves<br />

BoWood’s insignia on a<br />

utensil’s handle. Bowen<br />

handcrafts a variety of utensils<br />

including rice scoops, spurtles<br />

and spatulas.<br />

I try to do everything I can to let him focus on woodworking.<br />

Payton Schirm, Business Development Manager, BoWood<br />

“I try to do everything I can to let him<br />

focus on woodworking,” Schirm said.<br />

Schirm, who works full-time as an<br />

engineer in Cedar Rapids, helped his<br />

wife with her health and wellness business,<br />

Simple Roots Wellness, for several<br />

years before starting BoWood.<br />

He set up her website, including<br />

shooting and posting photographs of<br />

food and making podcasts.<br />

“It gave me experience with a startup<br />

and the benefit of coming up with an<br />

idea and trying it out,” he said.<br />


The men began selling their products<br />

during the summer of 2015 at the Cedar<br />

Rapids Downtown Farmers’ Market and<br />

NewBo City Market. By October that year,<br />

BoWood Company was licensed with the<br />

state as an Iowa domestic limited-liability<br />

company.<br />

They have since traveled to shows in<br />

Kansas City, Colorado and other places.<br />

“Craft shows and markets are the<br />

CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 13

BoWood uses various kinds<br />

of wood for their products,<br />

including maple and cherry<br />

and exotic selections like<br />

zebrawood, marblewood<br />

and East Indian rosewood.<br />

biggest way to get the product out there,” Schirm<br />

said, adding they attend shows around two times<br />

a month during the summer. “It is important to be<br />

face-to-face with customers. They are able to touch<br />

and feel our product, pick it up and see how heavy<br />

it is and check its quality.”<br />

Although the company’s website, bowoodco.com,<br />

wasn’t live until late 2016, online orders make up 25-<br />

30 percent of sales. The local customer base is the<br />

largest with referrals coming from word of mouth.<br />

After a busy holiday season in November and<br />

December, the first several months of the year are<br />

the slowest before the craft show season begins in<br />

spring. This gives Bowen time to stock up inventory,<br />

as a typical patterned cutting board takes a couple<br />

weeks to a month to finish.<br />


As the primary cook in his house, Bowen gets inspiration<br />

for his products from working in the kitchen.<br />

The quality of the handmade wooden products<br />

is their main selling point, Schirm said.<br />

“They don’t get chemicals like in plastic utensils<br />

and they last longer and look better.”<br />

BoWood has developed a food-safe mineral oil<br />

and wood butter made of beeswax for customers to<br />

protect and preserve their purchases. Each customer<br />

is given a care card with their purchase.<br />

“We want them to get the best out of their product<br />

and enjoy it for a long time,” Schirm said.<br />


While both men have full-time jobs, their goal is to<br />

build BoWood into a sustainable business.<br />

They didn’t use any outside financial sources to<br />

get the business up and running but utilize resources<br />

such as the Kirkwood Small Business Development<br />

Center in Marion.<br />

“We put a lot of money back into the business,”<br />

Schirm said. “We’re always looking for the next<br />

thing in equipment.”<br />

Their work has caught the attention of businesses<br />

looking for custom woodworking at their locations.<br />

BoWood will be doing all booth seating, table tops,<br />

custom metal legs for tables and booths and some<br />

cabinetry for Gianna’s Italian Beef, scheduled to<br />

open this spring at 323 Third St. SE in downtown Cedar<br />

Rapids. They have a similar project in the works<br />

for a restaurant opening next year in Des Moines.<br />

To boost revenue, they also hope to add furniture<br />

and higher-ticket items, but realize they would<br />

have to add employees, space and equipment.<br />

For now, it is a two-man operation with Bowen<br />

designing and Schirm keeping the books.<br />

“Neither one of us has to do what the other<br />

does,” Schirm said. CN<br />

14 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>

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without MidWestOne.<br />

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MidWestOne.com | 800.247.4418<br />

Member FDIC

16 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong><br />

Patty Stapella quilts a mattress<br />

in Lebeda Mattress Factory’s<br />

production plant in Marion.

By Emery Styron<br />

Photos Brian Draeger<br />



CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 17

“The best part of being factorydirect<br />

is the consum er talks<br />

directly to the people that made<br />

the mat tress.”<br />

Todd Peterson<br />

General Manager of Marion-based<br />

Lebeda Mattress Factory<br />

Lebeda<br />

Mattress Factory<br />

2525 Seventh Ave.<br />

Marion, IA 52302<br />

www.lebeda.com<br />

18 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>

“All our beds are freshly-baked,” said<br />

Todd Peterson, general manager of Marion-based<br />

Lebeda Mattress Factory. “If<br />

you live in Iowa and order a mattress on<br />

Monday, it will be built on Tuesday and<br />

delivered to your home on Wednesday.”<br />

The company has enjoyed success with the<br />

factory-direct model since 1946, when Jim<br />

Lebeda left his job at Smulekoff’s Furniture<br />

in Cedar Rapids to strike out on his own.<br />

Mr. Lebeda had been re-covering bedding<br />

for the retailer when he realized, “I’m<br />

an upholsterer, I can make a better mattress,”<br />

said Mr. Peterson.<br />

From a small garage operation turning<br />

out a couple beds a week, Lebeda has<br />

grown into a 35-employee factory selling<br />

beds through 20 company-owned stores in<br />

five Midwestern states.<br />

Mike Emerson, who worked for Lebeda<br />

while in high school, bought the operation<br />

and grew it to a full-fledged business with<br />

several Iowa stores. He later partnered with<br />

Russ Miller, who helped steer Lebeda Mattress<br />

Factory to its current configuration.<br />


Joseph Baguet assembles<br />

a mattress in Lebeda<br />

Mattress Factory’s<br />

production plant in Marion.<br />

CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 19

Horticultural Hit<br />

MCG BioComposites’<br />

plant markers grow<br />

in popularity<br />

By Emery Styron<br />

Photos Brian Draeger<br />

MCG BioComposites<br />

3425 Sycamore Court NE<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52402<br />

mcgbiocomposites.com<br />

20 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>

Injection molders wrinkled their noses<br />

when Sam McCord, founder of Cedar Rapids-based<br />

MCG BioComposites, came calling<br />

in 2009 with his new biocomposite plastic<br />

resin. Not only did the stuff smell, they<br />

worried the polymer compounded from<br />

post-industrial recycled plastics and corn<br />

cobs would burn their tools and ruin their machines.<br />

To demonstrate that MCG’s resin is a viable substitute<br />

for virgin plastic, the firm produced a run<br />

of 9-inch plant markers to sell to commercial seed<br />

growers. MCG BioMarkers quickly became a hit in<br />

the horticulture industry and are today the company’s<br />

main business.<br />


MCG offers plant identifiers in three sizes. The stickin-the-dirt<br />

markers are made with biodegradable<br />

material and are time-savers for commercial plant<br />

growers who must identify hundreds of thousands<br />

of different cultivars because “they don’t have to<br />

hand-pluck all the markers out,” McCord explained.<br />

The markers come with weatherproof labels that<br />

can be laser-printed or written on with a permanent<br />

ink Garden Marker which MCG also supplies. When<br />

it’s time to replace the labels, they peel off easily<br />

and leave no residue.<br />

BioMarkers are also popular with home gardeners<br />

and institutions. Kelly Norris, of<br />

the Des Moines Botanical Center,<br />

said his organization likes keeping<br />

its business with an Iowa company<br />

that utilizes a recyclable product<br />

made from sustainable materials.<br />

The markers are especially useful for<br />

seasonal displays and are “a cost-effective<br />

way of connecting information<br />

about plants to a visitor’s experience,”<br />

he said.<br />

Sam McCord<br />

MCG has recently added custom<br />

engraving for the plant markers, which is done by<br />

an Iowa City company. This type of label lasts even<br />

longer and is popular with arboretums and botanical<br />

gardens.<br />

The company also offers Wiggle Worm Soil<br />

Builder, an organic fertilizer made of earthworm<br />

They don’t have to handpluck<br />

all the markers<br />

out. They degrade when<br />

placed in their compost.<br />

Sam McCord<br />

Founder of Cedar Rapids-based<br />

MCG BioComposites<br />

MCG BioComposites products include<br />

plant markers and BioMarkers made from<br />

recycled plastic with corn cob fiber.<br />

CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 21

castings, produced by an Indianola company.<br />

“We sell to so many gardeners, worm castings are<br />

a very nice tack on,” McCord said.<br />

Products are available online and at some Hy-<br />

Vee stores in Eastern Iowa and other locations.<br />


MCG grew out of an effort begun several years ago<br />

to generate revenue from Iowa’s agricultural waste.<br />

McCord was part of an Iowa Economic Development<br />

Group division addressing the ag byproducts<br />

issue, when he met an entrepreneur who had lots of<br />

ideas for products made from corn cob fibers blended<br />

with recycled plastics.<br />

He served as a consultant to help bring the entrepreneur’s<br />

product to market, working with a venture<br />

capital firm. That effort was ultimately unsuccessful,<br />

partly due to the nature of venture capital funding,<br />

McCord said, but he “saw a need.” Later, he and his<br />

wife, Mary, along with two partners, launched MCG<br />

using their own capital.<br />

McCord, a long-time leader in the plastics industry,<br />

takes pride in using Iowa raw materials and vendors<br />

to manufacture his products.<br />

“That was one of the key things in setting up<br />

our business,” he said. “We have developed relations<br />

over 25 years with hundreds of companies.<br />

We knew the good ones and wanted to do as much<br />

business in Iowa as we could.”<br />

A local designer does the product and tool design.<br />

The tool building is handled by a local mold builder,<br />

who works hand in hand with injection molder<br />

Vantec, of Webster City. Independence-based Best<br />

Cob supplies the corn cob fiber.<br />


Sam McCord, standing with a pallet he<br />

makes to support shipped products,<br />

displays his garden/plant/tree labels used by<br />

gardeners and horticulturists.<br />

Despite the success of BioMarkers, marketing the<br />

resin remains “a slow process,” McCord said. Injection<br />

molders are gradually coming around to<br />

biobased resins.<br />

“When we show them the proper processing parameters,<br />

they get very comfortable with it,” he said.<br />

In addition, some of the compounding firms<br />

McCord talked to when he was getting the company<br />

off the ground have begun manufacturing their<br />

own biocomposites, which he expects to increase<br />

acceptance of his own products.<br />

The company sells half a dozen different resins,<br />


22 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>

Top 10 Iowa Manufacturing Sectors<br />

in millions of dollars, 2015<br />


$7,027<br />

Machinery<br />

$6,858<br />

Food/Beverage/Tobacco<br />

$6,397<br />

Chemical<br />

$1,959<br />

Computer/Electronic<br />

$1,951<br />

Fabricated Metal<br />

$1,276<br />

Motor Vehicles and Parts<br />

$1,044<br />

Plastics/Rubber<br />

$964<br />

Primary Metals<br />

$850<br />

Paper<br />

$832<br />

Nonmetallic Mineral<br />

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau<br />

Dupaco is more than local. As a financial cooperative owned by<br />

its members, Dupaco Community Credit Union uses sustainable<br />

money methods to keep members’ money working here, locally.<br />

The more our members do with Dupaco, the more we’re able to<br />

give back through better rates, fewer fees, low-cost insurance,<br />

and freebies like on-demand credit monitoring tools, Money<br />

Makeovers, and Credit History Lessons. Empowering members to<br />

achieve financial success enriches the whole community.<br />

Federally Insured<br />

by NCUA<br />

Ready to join something better? Join Dupaco.<br />

Everyone who works or lives in the area is eligible for membership.<br />

Dupaco.com/join<br />

800-373-7600<br />

CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 23

Keep pushing<br />


During the past five years, Simply Soothing<br />

has posted $6 million-$7 million in sales, with<br />

Bug Soother now sold in more than 6,000<br />

retail locations across the United States.<br />

24 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>

‘Overnight sensation’ Bug<br />

Soother not an easy ascent<br />

Simply Soothing<br />

207 E. Access St.<br />

Columbus Junction, IA 52738<br />

www.simplysoothing.net<br />

By Cindy Hadish<br />

The fairy tale success of Simply Soothing Inc., a family-owned business<br />

based in Columbus Junction, tells only part of the story.<br />

“People have romanticized all of that,” founder and CEO Freda<br />

Sojka said of the company’s seemingly overnight rise from basement<br />

operation to international sensation. “But it’s not all easy.”<br />

Upon retiring after 22 years with Monsanto, Sojka started<br />

the bath and body products company in 2003 with her<br />

daughter, Nikki Salek.<br />

The company’s most well-known product, Bug<br />

Soother, is a natural bug repellent Sojka originally<br />

developed for her then 5-month-old grandson. It<br />

began its ascent during Iowa’s floods of 2008.<br />

She didn’t want to apply DEET – commonly<br />

used in insect repellent – or other chemicals on<br />

her grandson, so she combined lemongrass<br />

oil, vanilla and other natural ingredients to<br />

create her own formula.<br />

The product was given a timely test when a<br />

crew working near her sister’s flooded home on<br />

the Cedar River was attacked by gnats. The Bug<br />

Soother worked, and their crew chief bought all<br />

of Sojka’s insect repellent the next day.<br />

From there, news of Bug Soother spread by<br />

word of mouth, shared by fans at baseball games,<br />

on golf courses and other outdoor spaces.<br />


By 2011, a local grocery store owner asked to sell the bug spray and<br />

in six weeks, more than 700 bottles flew off the shelves in the town of<br />

just 1,800. The following year, Simply Soothing moved into a bigger<br />

building to produce Bug Soother in larger quantities.<br />

“In 2014, we had our biggest year,” Sojka said. “It was such a viral,<br />

crazy thing.”<br />

During that time, Simply Soothing was approached by numerous<br />

outlets hoping to sell their insect repellent, but demand was so great<br />

that they didn’t want to enter into more contracts than they could<br />

fulfill. A European fan even asked about selling it overseas.<br />

Looking back, Sojka said that time period was hectic, with 16-<br />

hour days, but among the high points for the company.<br />

She found help and encouragement through the Cedar Rapids-based<br />

Entrepreneurial Development Center, including the EDC’s<br />

Founders Group of fellow small business owners.<br />

“We share ideas and commiserate,” Sojka said. “There are high<br />

Simply Soothing Inc. founder and<br />

CEO Freda Sojka has experienced the<br />

ups and downs of running a growing<br />

business since 2003.<br />

CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 25

highs and low lows and they all have those stories.”<br />

That led her to discover other homegrown businesses,<br />

which she tries to promote as much as possible.<br />

“There are so many products made here in Iowa,” Sojka<br />

said, citing Tiny But Mighty Popcorn of Shellsburg and others.<br />

“We need to all hook together. We can help each other grow.”<br />

That was part of the impetus behind the Simply Soothing<br />

Iowa Marketplace, a retail store opened in 2015 in Columbus<br />

Junction that sells the company’s products, along with wine,<br />

home décor, jewelry and other handcrafted items made by<br />

Iowa artisans.<br />

From left, Barb Dotson,<br />

Nikki Salek and Jim Sojka<br />

package products at the<br />

Simply Soothing facility in<br />

Columbus Junction.<br />

26 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>


Sojka notes that she was advised against opening the retail<br />

store, but wanted to give others a place to sell their<br />

Iowa-made products.<br />

“It’s a battle,” she said of the current state of retail,<br />

especially in a small town like Columbus Junction.<br />

The same is true with the retail world for Bug Soother.<br />

“It changes every year,” she said, citing weather as a<br />

big factor in their sales.<br />

During rainy years, the insect repellent sells well, but<br />

the past two years have been relatively dry with fewer<br />

insects, so larger retailers, such as Hy-Vee, had difficulty<br />

moving the product.<br />

Competition also moved in, with other companies<br />

hoping to cash in on the success of Bug Soother with<br />

their own version of the spray.<br />

Simply Soothing has had its share of growing pains,<br />

but remains a family-owned business that employs six, a<br />

number that goes up to 20 when in manufacturing mode.<br />

The popularity of Bug Soother has taken Sojka and<br />

other family members to Scotland, where a distributor<br />

dilutes the product from concentrated form and bottles<br />

and distributes it in Europe, as well as places such as Colombia<br />

and Panama, a difficult market to enter.<br />

During the past five years, Simply Soothing has posted<br />

$6 million-$7 million in sales, with Bug Soother in more<br />

than 6,000 retail locations across the<br />

United States.<br />

The company is moving<br />

into more e-commerce,<br />

producing larger-sized<br />

bottles for use on pets<br />

and horses and has<br />

started a line of essential<br />

oils. They<br />

are also looking<br />

into patio candles<br />

and a bug bite treatment,<br />

and have an<br />

agreement with an<br />

East Coast company<br />

for their insect repellent<br />

to be sold under another<br />

name, including at Kroger<br />

stores.<br />

At age 66, and with her husband, Jim,<br />

now 67, Sojka laughs when asked about retirement.<br />

“In any business, you can’t let up,” she said. “There’s<br />

no coasting. You keep pushing.” CN<br />

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CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 27



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then you already know<br />

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sure, we play ping pong and get<br />

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we also roll up our sleeves and<br />

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We soon realized people were<br />

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they were interested in having<br />

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Our number one goal at<br />

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202 Blue Creek Drive<br />

Urbana, IA 52345<br />

28 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>

Manufacturers<br />

(Ranked by total number of local employees)<br />

RANK<br />

Name<br />

Contact Information<br />

Total Number of<br />

Local<br />

Employees<br />

Top Executives<br />

Year<br />

Established<br />

in the<br />

<strong>Corridor</strong><br />

Product or Service<br />

1<br />

Rockwell Collins<br />

400 Collins Road NE<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52498<br />

(319) 295-1000; fax (319)<br />

295-9374<br />

www.rockwellcollins.com<br />

8,974 Kelly Ortberg 1933<br />

Provides aviation electronics and airborne<br />

and mobile communications products and<br />

systems for commercial and military<br />

applications<br />

2<br />

Amana Refrigeration Products, A<br />

Whirlpool Corporation<br />

2800 220th Trail<br />

Amana, IA 52204<br />

(319) 622-5511; fax (319)<br />

622-2900<br />

www.WhirlpoolCorp.com<br />

3,200<br />

Jeff Durham<br />

Joshua Pesek<br />

1934<br />

Home appliances - premium refrigerators<br />

(Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana, Kitchenaid,<br />

Jennair)<br />

3<br />

Quaker Oats Co., a division of PepsiCo<br />

418 Second St. NE<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401<br />

(319) 362-3121; fax (319)<br />

398-1692<br />

www.quakeroats.com<br />

910 Cindy Thul 1873<br />

Markets and manufactures grain-based<br />

foods<br />

4<br />

Integrated DNA Technologies<br />

1710 Commercial Park<br />

Coralville, IA 52241<br />

(800) 328-2661<br />

(319) 626-8400; fax (319)<br />

626-8444<br />

custcare@idtdna.com<br />

www.idtdna.com<br />

734<br />

Joseph A. Walder<br />

Trey E. Martin<br />

1987<br />

Custom, synthetic DNA and RNA<br />

oligonucleotides (oligos) for research<br />

applications<br />

5<br />

General Mills Inc.<br />

4800 Edgewood Road SW<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404<br />

(319) 396-8000<br />

www.generalmills.com<br />

700 Rue Patel 1973 Markets food brands around the world<br />

6<br />

Kinze Manufacturing Inc.<br />

Interstate 80 at Exit 216<br />

Williamsburg, IA 52361<br />

(319) 668-1300; fax (319)<br />

668-1328<br />

www.kinze.com<br />

600 1965<br />

Farm equipment, row crop planters, grain<br />

auger carts, high-speed tillage<br />

9<br />

10<br />

11<br />

12<br />

13<br />

14<br />

15<br />

Oral B Laboratories<br />

1832 Lower Muscatine Road<br />

Iowa City, IA 52240<br />

Procter & Gamble<br />

2200 Lower Muscatine Road<br />

Iowa City, IA 52240<br />

PMX Industries Inc.<br />

5300 Willow Creek Drive SW<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404<br />

ADM - Corn Processing Division<br />

1350 Waconia Ave. SW<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404<br />

Centro Inc.<br />

950 N. Bend Drive<br />

North Liberty, IA 52317<br />

Cargill Inc. Corn Milling<br />

1710 16th St. SE<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401<br />

Raining Rose Inc.<br />

100 30th St. Drive SE<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52403<br />

Quality Chef Foods, division of H.J. Heinz<br />

Co.<br />

5005 C St. SW<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404<br />

International Paper, Cedar River Mill<br />

4600 C St. SW<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404<br />

(319) 338-5411; fax (319)<br />

356-9165<br />

www.pg.com<br />

(319) 339-2000; fax (319)<br />

339-2262<br />

www.pg.com<br />

(319) 368-7700; fax (319)<br />

247-4763<br />

www.ipmx.com<br />

(319) 398-0600; fax (319)<br />

247-2880<br />

info@admworld.com<br />

www.admworld.com<br />

(319) 626-3200; fax (319)<br />

626-3203<br />

salesmkt@centroinc.com<br />

www.centroinc.com<br />

(319) 399-2111; fax (319)<br />

399-6131<br />

www.cargill.com<br />

(800) 481-3934<br />

(319) 362-8101<br />

internetcontacts@rainingrose.com<br />

www.rainingrose.com<br />

(319) 362-9633; fax (319)<br />

362-3924<br />

www.qualitycheffoods.com<br />

(319) 365-2100; fax (319)<br />

365-0436<br />

www.internationalpaper.com<br />

600 Mike McCleary 1958 Produces toothbrushes<br />

600 Michael Hughes 1956<br />

Shampoo/conditioner: Pantene, Head and<br />

Shoulders, Herbal Essences, Aussie and<br />

Vidal Sassoon; Oral rinse: Scope and Crest<br />

ProHealth; body wash: Olay, Ivory, Old<br />

Spice and Gillette<br />

472 S.G. Kim 1990 Copper and brass strip mill<br />

450 Eric Fasnacht 1971 Processes corn<br />

400<br />

Brian Olesen<br />

Tripp Traicoff<br />

Alvin Spence<br />

Sal Hazboun<br />

1970<br />

350 Brian Bares 1967<br />

275<br />

Chuck Hammond<br />

Mike Wehr<br />

1996<br />

240 Stephen Maddocks 1985<br />

223 Derek Depuydt 1995<br />

Manufacturer of custom rotationally<br />

molded plastic parts<br />

Produces corn syrup and corn starches for<br />

food and industrial applications and feed<br />

products<br />

Personal care products such as lip balm,<br />

lotion, bar and liquid soap, sunscreen and<br />

hand sanitizer available for private labeling<br />

Manufactures frozen soups, sauces and<br />

entrees for wholesale<br />

Manufactures recycled paper for<br />

cardboard boxes<br />

16<br />

Ingredion Inc.<br />

1001 First St. SW<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404<br />

(319) 398-3700; fax (319)<br />

398-3771<br />

www.ingredion.com<br />

215 Roxie Simon - -<br />

Manufactures modified industrial and food<br />

starches and ethanol<br />

17<br />

Loparex Inc.<br />

2000 Industrial Park Road<br />

Iowa City, IA 52240<br />

(319) 341-5000; fax (319)<br />

351-8977<br />

www.loparex.com<br />

200 Paul Steigleder 1970<br />

Produces a variety of specialty coatings for<br />

papers and firms<br />

18<br />

19<br />

20<br />

International Automotive Components<br />

2500 Highway 6 E.<br />

Iowa City, IA 52240<br />

Apache Inc.<br />

4805 Bowling St. SW<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404<br />

Diamond V<br />

2525 60th Ave. SW<br />

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404<br />

(319) 338-9281; fax (319)<br />

339-4784<br />

www.iacgroup.com<br />

(866) 757-7816<br />

(319) 365-0471; fax (319)<br />

365-2522<br />

jill.miller@apache-inc.com<br />

www.apache-inc.com<br />

(319) 366-0745<br />

www.diamondv.com<br />

160 1964 Interior automotive parts<br />

155<br />

Tom E. Pientok<br />

Kyle Gingrich<br />

Randy Walter<br />

Gregg Hanson<br />

1963<br />

128 Jeff Cannon 1943<br />

Source: Staff research.<br />

Note: Entries may be edited for length and clarity. Some companies were not included because they did not respond to requests for information.<br />

Fabrication of hose, belting, cut and<br />

molded rubber and industrial consumer<br />

products<br />

Natural immune support products that<br />

optimize animal health, animal<br />

performance and food safety<br />

CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 29


FROM PAGE 5<br />

• Five-year survival rate: 52.77 percent,<br />

upper middle of the range, between<br />

Nevada’s low of 43.4 percent and<br />

North Dakota’s high of 58.1 percent.<br />


Kirkwood Small Business<br />

Development Center<br />

3375 Armar Drive<br />

Marion, IA 52302<br />

(319) 377-8256<br />

www.kirkwood.edu/ktos/sbdc<br />

University of Iowa Small Business<br />

Development Center<br />

IOWA Centers for Enterprise<br />

W140 BioVentures Center<br />

Coralville, IA 52241<br />

(319) 335-3742<br />

http://iowasbdc.org/regionalcenter/iowa-city-coralville/<br />

Cedar Rapids MICRO Loan<br />

Program<br />

www.ecicog.org/micro.html<br />



Lest anyone forget how important startups<br />

and small businesses are to the<br />

overall economy, Iowa State University’s<br />

Small Businesses Development<br />

Center notes that in 88 of the 99 counties,<br />

firms employing less than 100 persons<br />

account for three-quarters of those<br />

counties’ businesses.<br />

In addition to small businesses with<br />

employees, another 20,370 firms are<br />

run by sole operators. Often hobbies or<br />

sideline enterprises, these have the potential<br />

to grow into full-time businesses.<br />

New businesses account for nearly<br />

all net, new job creation and almost 20<br />

percent of gross job creation, according<br />

to the Kauffman Foundation. Over the<br />

past three decades, businesses under<br />

one year old created, on average, 1.5<br />

million jobs per year nationwide.<br />



Startups are overwhelmingly small businesses,<br />

but with the right management,<br />

strategy, luck, hard work and all-important<br />

financing, they sometimes grow into<br />

larger enterprises. Financial backing is<br />

generally available for <strong>Corridor</strong> entrepreneurs.<br />

“I do some work with investor capital<br />

and anytime I have someone in that<br />

category, they seem to get a receptive<br />

reaction,” Swenson said. Clients using<br />

a “lean startup approach” that proves<br />

there are customers before building out<br />

the company reduce risk and attract capital<br />

“once market fit and some early sales<br />

traction has been established,” he added.<br />

“Most of our work with lifestyle businesses<br />

involves debt capital and it’s a terrific<br />

market for funding. The banking industry<br />

is competitive, and, coupled with<br />

SBA loan guarantees, makes it a very<br />

good market to get projects funded.”<br />

The Cedar Rapids MiCRoloan program<br />

and revolving loan fund options<br />

managed by the East Central Iowa Council<br />

of Governments, combined with other<br />

sources, provide financing for 90 percent<br />

of the Kirkwood SBDC’s applicants.<br />

“Part of that, of course, is providing<br />

lenders with well-vetted and qualified<br />

projects,” Swenson noted.<br />

“Venture capital is always hard to<br />

get,” Heath noted. “Most of the people<br />

we see are more suited for traditional<br />

financing through banks.” Obtaining<br />

VC funding often involves out-of-state<br />

trips, repeated attempts and lots of time.<br />

“However, with venture school training,<br />

some are finding success in getting equity<br />

financing.”<br />

When those animal spirits are afoot,<br />

entrepreneurs will find a way. CN<br />


FROM PAGE 22<br />

including its proprietary blend, MCGB<br />

DuraMaze BioComposite. All are compounded<br />

from various combinations<br />

of corn cobs, wheat starch, pine wood<br />

and other fibers, and reprocessed polypropylene<br />

or natural and synthetic biodegradable<br />

polymers. The formulas can<br />

be varied to achieve different properties<br />

such as heat tolerance.<br />

Kansas-based Green Dot Bioplastics<br />

formulates the resins. Since all materials<br />

originate in the United States and processing<br />

is done in-country, the carbon<br />

footprint for the product is lower than<br />

that of competing products with components<br />

or manufacturing done outside<br />

the country. By incorporating these<br />

materials in their products, companies<br />

can conserve resources and promote<br />

sustainable operations while meeting<br />

government compliance and USDA certification<br />

requirements.<br />

The day is not long off, McCord believes,<br />

when many more manufacturers<br />

will drop their reservations and embrace<br />

biobased raw materials. After all,<br />

he said, “we tackled all those issues and<br />

turned out an excellent product.” CN<br />

We wanted to do as<br />

much business in<br />

Iowa as we could.<br />

Sam McCord<br />

MCG BioComposites<br />

founder<br />

30 CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong>

LEBEDA<br />

FROM PAGE 19<br />



“The best part of being factory-direct, the consumer<br />

talks directly to the people that made the mattress,”<br />

Peterson said. “Being factory-direct is nice<br />

for us and for the customer.”<br />

By “eliminating the middle man” Lebeda can<br />

sell a higher-quality mattress for less money and<br />

offer customer service that a national manufacturer<br />

selling through retailers would be hard-pressed<br />

to match.<br />

Not that Lebeda is trying to be a low price leader.<br />

The company stresses quality over making the least<br />

expensive product, Peterson said. Lebeda’s economy<br />

models compare to middle or lower-middle<br />

quality mattresses of national brands.<br />

“Customers want their beds to last,” he said. “They<br />

are investing in a nice sleep, not just a mattress.”<br />

Comfort customization is another benefit<br />

Lebeda offers with its factory-direct channel. Beds<br />

change as they break in, so customers sometimes<br />

buy something they love at first then later dislike.<br />

That’s why Lebeda allows them to exchange mattresses<br />

or return them to the factory to be tweaked.<br />

“We’ll make it firmer or softer for free,” Peterson<br />

said. “We have a lot of people who bring their mattress<br />

in and we get it done in a couple of hours.”<br />

The factory staff is cross-trained and many have<br />

been with Lebeda for 15-25 years. Experience is especially<br />

deep in the sewing and quilting department.<br />

The crew makes deliveries to Iowa mattress buyers’<br />

homes directly from Marion. Stores outside<br />

Iowa receive mattress deliveries once a week, and<br />

deliver them to customers.<br />

Leggett & Platt, a Carthage, Missouri, manufacturer,<br />

supplies the metal components, including popular<br />

adjustable frames, for most of Lebeda’s beds.<br />

“We’ve been buying from them since 1990.<br />

You’re dealing with an American company, so if<br />

something goes wrong, we can get parts for them,”<br />

Peterson said.<br />


Beds these days “definitely have a lot of doodads,”<br />

Peterson said. “It’s become more expected from<br />

the consumer.”<br />

An example is the Ultra Adjustable base, with<br />

three areas that can be moved to the body’s needs,<br />

variable intensity massage, multiple USB ports,<br />

underbed lighting, adjustable leg height and a<br />

Bluetooth app for Apple and Android.<br />

Lebeda stores and its website offer mattresses<br />

and box springs, along with furniture lines from<br />

regional manufacturers and frames, pads and pillows.<br />

Furniture, Peterson said, “is not our main<br />

thing, but we have some nice stuff. For it not being<br />

our main thing, we sure do sell a lot of it.”<br />

People today want to live and sleep healthier, so<br />

they’re asking for natural, breathable fabrics like<br />

cotton and bamboo. Sleeping cool and avoiding<br />

allergic reactions is also important, so Lebeda uses<br />

natural rubber instead of polyurethane.<br />

“Everyone sells a bed and upholsters with pretty<br />

fabric, but it’s what’s inside that counts,” Peterson<br />

said.<br />

Customers are also<br />

requesting “flippable”<br />

mattresses. “What’s old<br />

is new again,” Peterson<br />

said, noting that two-sided<br />

mattresses have been<br />

around for years but<br />

went out of fashion due<br />

to higher costs.<br />

As for the company’s<br />

future, Lebeda is<br />

“not looking to grow<br />

just to grow,” said Peterson,<br />

who’s been there<br />

since 1994. “Our goal<br />

is to maintain and grow<br />

where we feel we’ll do<br />

the best for the community<br />

we go to.”<br />

Lebeda continues to<br />

upgrade stores in existing<br />

markets. A new<br />

showroom in Marion<br />

opened last year and another<br />

was just completed<br />

in Dubuque. Plans are in<br />

the works for another in<br />

Cedar Rapids. Coralville<br />

will also see its Lebeda<br />

showroom expanded to<br />

4,500 square feet.<br />

“With factory direct,<br />

the further you get away<br />

from here, the harder it is to accomplish,” Peterson<br />

said. “We want to make sure our product is still the<br />

best in the market.” CN<br />

“Customers are<br />

investing in a nice<br />

sleep, not just a<br />

mattress.”<br />

Todd Peterson, general manager<br />

Lebeda Mattress Factory<br />

CORRIDOR NATIVE APRIL <strong>2018</strong> 31



What continues to make print ads valuable is the<br />

(nearly) undivided attention that readers give to<br />

magazine and newspaper content, rather than multitasking<br />

like they do when consuming digital content. *<br />

LURE<br />

Articles accompanied by lush photography feature lifestyle stories<br />

of <strong>Corridor</strong> residents and their distinctive homes, new construction<br />

developments in the <strong>Corridor</strong>, home remodeling projects, home<br />

improvement ideas, decorating trends, gardening ideas, and more.<br />


AD DEADLINE: APR. 20 JULY 27 OCT. 19<br />



LURE<br />


with style<br />

<strong>Corridor</strong> restaurants<br />

go farm to table<br />

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Homegrown Businesses in the <strong>Corridor</strong> <strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

HAND<br />

in hand<br />

BoWood partners each<br />

use special skills in<br />

woodworking startup<br />


Frontier Co-op thrives in its rural<br />

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BEDS<br />

Lebeda Mattress Factory delivers<br />

straight from factory<br />


Bug Soother not an easy ascent<br />


Featuring stories on great things and innovative ideas homegrown in Eastern<br />

Iowa. Some may be familiar, and others may just surprise you. From mom-andpop<br />

shops, hip startups to large-scale manufacturing, <strong>Corridor</strong> <strong>Native</strong> celebrates<br />

our local entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors - large and small - those who<br />

have taken simple ideas and turned them into something extraordinary.<br />



The magazine identifies challenges to attract and retain workers, current<br />

recruiting trends and shares best practices of companies that are ahead of<br />

the curve in creating and maintaining their workforce talent.<br />

2017<br />




<strong>Corridor</strong> Business Journal<br />

2345 Landon Road, Ste. 100<br />

North Liberty, IA 52317<br />

PRST STD<br />

U.S. POSTAGE<br />

PAID<br />

PLATTEVILLE, WI 53818<br />

PERMIT NO. 124<br />

CONTACT:<br />

Judith Cobb, Magazine Media Consultant<br />

judith@corridorbusiness.com | 319.665.6397, ext. 318<br />

*Originally published in the April 2015 issue of Marketing News.<br />


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