The City of Onawa Plans A New Street Scape

The City of Onawa, in conjunction with Onawa Economic Development and Onawa’s Downtown Revitalization Committee, is moving swiftly forward with a dedicated Downtown Streetscape Revitalization Project. The overarching mission for this project is to encourage local spending, provide business development opportunities, inspire a safe and healthy community, promote tourism, and cultivate a sense of community pride.

The City has hired landscape architectural consultant Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company of West Des Moines, Iowa to lead the design process alongside Sundquist Engineering of Onawa. Through careful coordination, planning, design, and implementation, the Downtown Onawa Streetscape will be transformed into a vibrant, aesthetically pleasing community destination for all to benefit. General project improvements include but are not limited to: Iowa Avenue 4 to 3 lane conversion, Iowa Avenue frontage road renovations, intersection bump-outs, decorative pavements, pedestrian street furnishings, street trees and floral plantings, way-finding signage, and stormwater improvements. The project will be completed in several phases over the span of multiple years. Preliminary project boundaries are set to include Iowa Avenue from 11th Street to 8th Street, and 10th, 9th, and 8th Streets from Pearl Street to Diamond Street. The consultants are actively working alongside the City to apply for several grants to help fund the projects, establish a budget, and phase the implementation.

The design consultants would like to invite all to an informal public informational meeting to discuss preliminary plans, listen to your ideas and concerns, and answer questions about the project.  The meeting will be held from 6:00pm – 8:30pm at the West Monona High School Band/Choir Winter Concert on Monday, December 17th in the high school foyer/commons area. Come and go as you please. A light snack will be provided.

If you are a resident of Onawa, please go to this link, and fill out the community survey to provide your input.


Burgess Receives 2018 Employer Award

MONONA COUNTY, IA NOVEMBER 26, 2018— Burgess Health Center was named 2018 Employer of the Year as part of Monona County Economic Development Partnership’s (MCEDP) business recognition program. Burgess was nominated by community leaders and chosen as the award recipient by the Board of Directors for MCEDP.

Burgess has been providing health care to the Monona County area since 1963 and employs a diverse group of professionals, including those with extensive clinical degrees and those in nonclinical support positions. Burgess is one of the leading employers in the area, employing approximately 260 people and offering
attractive benefits, including competitive salary, generous PTO, health plan, 403(b) with company match, professional development, tuition assistance, and health club membership discounts.

“On behalf of MCEDP, I congratulate this year’s Major Employer of the Year Award winner, Burgess Health Center, for their demonstrated commitment to partner with local workforce and education partners in support of the local economy,” said MCEDP Executive Director, Jessica Carrier. “Preparing our future healthcare workforce is crucial, and I commend Burgess for their innovative and valuable work.”

Burgess is actively involved with Monona County’s workforce initiatives by means of a partnership with MCEDP. Burgess also is an active community partner with various civic and community organizations. Through the Burgess Auxiliary organization, scholarships are awarded each spring to area high school seniors and first-year college students that wish to pursue a career in a health-related field. Burgess’s support of the county workforce system aligns with its mission to continue improving the quality of
life for the people and communities they serve by providing excellent healthcare and exceptional patient experience.

Monona County Economic Development Partnership (MCEDP) is a public-private partnership dedicated to helping Monona County employers, workers, and communities prosper economically.

Commercial Building Available In Mapleton, IA

This office space or clinic building downtown in Mapleton, IA is available for sale. It comes equipped with a waiting room, front desk, and 3-4 offices.

This building also includes a partial basement, a break room, and a built in music system.

Want to start new or move your business to Mapleton? Give us a call! 712-433-4493



RAGBRAI Journey Through Monona County

Our entire county is very excited to be the beginning of your 2018 RAGBRAI adventure. Named for the term “Beautiful Valley” Monona County is home to very well kept National, State, and County Parks. While visiting here you will quickly find that you feel as though you are among friends whether you have been here for 50 years or 5 minutes. Positioned between two cities, Monona County is an excellent place to visit, live, and even start a business. While you are here, please take time to stop at a local shop!

Your journey through Monona County begins with a huge downtown party in Onawa where you can enjoy the happenings at local businesses, home cooked meals from our churches, and delicious Eskimo Pies!

Onawa RAGBRAI Website                     Onawa RAGBRAI Facebook Page

After that first tasty sip of coffee on Sunday morning, you will head East out of town and soon enter the small town of Turin. At the Gateway to the Loess Hills, you will be greeted with excited locals serving up breakfast burritos, pancakes and more!

As you travel through the Loess Hills, taking in the breathtaking scenery, consider challenging yourself by riding the optional gravel loop. Halfway into the gravel loop, you will travel through the town of Moorhead. Home to plenty of historical sites and the Loess Hills welcome center, Moorhead is also known for life in the great outdoors. Enjoy music, a farm equipment show, great food, and a giant swing set downtown.

Moorhead RAGBRAI Facebook Page

Upon completion of the gravel loop, you will enter the City of Soldier, also known as Oletown. Soldier locals are excited to have you pass through and welcome you to take part in their Norwegian heritage. Enjoy taking some fun photos and listening to live music in the downtown beer garden.

Soldier RAGBRAI Facebook Page

Finally, get ready to have a great meal in the town where Jesse James once did. The City of Ute is an official meeting town and your last stop in Monona County. In Ute, you will enjoy taking part in fun activities such as water slides, bike challenges, dunk tanks, photo ops, a signature wall, and the Loess Hills Saddle Club.

UTE RAGBRAI Facebook Page

We hope you enjoy our wonderful county and have a safe ride across Iowa.

Cubby’s Opens Onawa Location

Cubby’s Inc., an Omaha-based chain of convenience stores, has opened its first location in Onawa, IA. The store is open for business and an official ribbon-cutting took place at the new store at 10 am on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.

Cubby’s, purchased the old KC Mart and former Happy Chef at exit 112 on I-29. The Cubby’s gas station began operating while construction was underway to convert the Happy Chef and then Mexican restaurant into a modern travel plaza.

The Onawa Cubby’s location offers diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) at all diesel gas pumps. The DEF pumps are located next to the diesel pumps, allowing the vehicle operator to fill both without having to purchase DEF inside the store or at a single pump. 

“The availability of DEF at the pump will be a huge convenience for diesel vehicle drivers,” said De Lone Wilson, owner of Cubby’s Inc. The Onawa Cubby’s will be the first gas station between Sioux City and Missouri Valley to offer DEF at the pumps along I-29.

Cubby’s Inc. is also known for their famous Chester’s Chicken, as well as an extensive selection of fresh deli foods.

Prepare Your Small Business For Big Events

Monona County, IA is expected to see a large influx of people in the summer of 2018.

Onawa Racing and Events Complex is opening in May with a full schedule.

The Whiting Rodeo, Monona County Fair, and RAGBRAI are all happening in July.

All of these events will bring in more than current businesses are used to serving. This is Monona County’s opportunity to be a stand-out region. We can start by preparing our local businesses. Although summer is still 4 months away, the time to plan is now.

Staff  & Customer Service:

The first thing to do is meet with your staff. A staff that is included in the planning process will work harder for the success of the business.

After you have determined the amount of staff needed to work each event, start scheduling their hours today. Be sure to account for situations with staff that cannot be foreseen, so you don’t end up understaffed. It may be a good idea to hire temporary employees, if your budget allows.

This is also the time to talk about customer service with your employees. It is imperative that your business put its best foot forward with customer service during this time, as friendly local service reflects on the entire community. Be sure you are allowing your staff proper breaks, a variety of work, and rewarding incentives to keep them from getting board, tired, and over-worked. Happy employees will provide great customer service for your business.


Have you been needing to apply a new coat of paint, deep clean, or fix that outside light? Take this opportunity to make a great impression on this summer’s guests by tackling those lingering projects in the coming weeks.

Supply & Financials

Two weeks before a big event is not the time to try to come up with the money to stock the shelves of your business and pay additional staff, nor is it the time to take your distributor by surprise by ordering a large amount of items that they are unable to fulfill. You will need to plan to supply your business with a larger amount of inventory than normal. Start getting creative today with supplies and financial planning. Some businesses will slowly add to their inventory each week by adding a few extra items with each shipment. If your business stocks perishable items, you can apply the same concept by slowly setting aside the money to order the items closer to time and communicating with your distributor, the needs of your business for a big event.

Your Website, Google, & Yelp

No better time than the present to beef up your online presence.

Check your website to be sure it is updated with current address, hours, & phone numbers. A majority of the people visiting the area this summer will be completely unfamiliar with our communities. They will turn to their phones and the internet to help guide them toward what they are looking for.

Take a moment and ask Siri “Take me to the closest (insert your business type)” Where does google maps direct you to? If it is your business, your right on track. If not it’s time to do some work. Use this guide to help. If your business does show up, check the map to make sure it is pointing to the right location.

Yelp is a mobile app being used all over the country as a business directory to help customers find what they are looking for based on location and rating. Get on Yelp here. Yelp and Google are both free services that increases your business’ exposure. Need help? Contact us today.

Now you have stocked your supplies, hired staff, and got your brick and mortar location in tip-top shape. Lets take a look at how to get those customers through the door with four quick steps.

4 Things You Can Do Today to Attract New Customers

Brick and Mortar is not dying.

With all of the online shopping hype, you may believe that brick and mortar retail will slowly fade out and that online shopping is the future. This is not the case today. While online shopping is a great new convenient technology, we have to remember that people do not want to be stuck at home all of the time. More than that, people are eagerly seeking out smaller communities to visit and experience. We just have to let them know that we are here and what we have to offer.

Ask yourself today: “What makes a customer leave their home to visit my store?”

Would you personally leave your home to visit your store if you did not own it? What makes it so special? Nowadays brick and mortars aren’t competing for customers based on product. We are competing based on experience. Before diving deep into marketing your business in this post-modern era, take some time to ask yourself what does your business have to offer for a unique experience? Got the answer? Great. Lets market like we have never marketed before!

1. Get Social.

If you haven’t yet, its time to set up that Facebook business page. If you already have one, it’s time to get active. Check out Wordstream’s article on Getting Started With Social Media Marketing. Share photos to your social profile that will entice customers to visit your store. Talk about the environment, the staff, etc. Don’t forget to engage with customers by answering questions and encouraging them to comment. This builds relationships and loyalty. Chances are, you are already spending time on social media. Take that time to market your business. One simple step you can take today is liking and commenting on other posts, just to help people remember your name.

2. Get on the Map.

With today’s technology, a potential customer no longer has to drive around searching for what they need. They simply push a button on their phones, and say “I would like a giant cheeseburger.” Google will analyze the need and location of the customer and gather a business list of the closest restaurants known for “Giant Cheeseburgers.” The map will take the customer directly to that business. Is your business in on this action? Click here to add your business to the map!

3. Check your facade.

Is it time to update the facade of your building? Been needing to update your signage? Studies show that just changing an accent color, or adding a potted plant can help potential customers to notice your store. Some Monona County Cities have exterior facade programs to help offset the cost of upgrading the exterior of your building, read about upgrade incentives here.

4. Make your customer’s visit enjoyable.

Create a clean environment your customer will want to spend time in. When you make a customer’s visit enjoyable, they will do half of your marketing for you. When its not-so-great they also will spread the word. Talk to your staff today about customer service, organization, and cleanliness.


Monona County Economic Development Partnership offers a free service to businesses looking to start or expand their business in Monona County, IA.  Contact us today to get started.

RAGBRAI Coming To Monona County 2018

Saturday, January 28th, RAGBRAI (The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) announced the overnight towns for the 2018 state-wide event. The ride returns to Central Iowa, being one of the quickest, easiest routes for riders. The start of the RAGBRAI event kicks off this year in our county seat: Onawa!

The event starts Saturday, July 21, 2018

According to individuals who have been a part of Onawa hosting RAGBRAI in the past, the riders, vendors, staff, and drivers will start pouring into the area Thursday (7/19), Friday (7/20), and Saturday (7/21), then take off across Monona County heading toward Denison on Sunday (7/22) morning.

The exact route that will be used between Onawa and Denison will be released in March 2018. MCEDP will work to gather this information and notify our county’s pass-through communities immediately.

According to RAGBRAI’s director T.J. Juskiewicz, “Over 200 towns expressed interest in hosting this year’s event.”

It is both a privilege and an honor for one of our Monona County cities to be chosen as a host community! Though this event will be fun for everyone, it also means a lot of volunteering, planning, and top of the line hospitality. Here at MCEDP, both our cell and office phones have been ringing all day with an expressed interest in volunteering and hosting riders. While MCEDP isn’t the contact for this event, we are doing our best to help with local businesses & organization’s concerns and will attempt to stay in-the-know to point all of you in the right direction.

According to MCEDP’s Vice President, Brent McCall, who was involved in the initial planning and applying for RAGBRAI as part of the Onawa Chamber of Commerce, “We will be meeting this week to establish an advisory board and meeting with RAGBRAI staff the following week to start the planning process. We will have more information available then, and will most likely develop a communication platform for everyone in the area to stay up to date.”

If you would like to get your name in as a volunteer, please send an email to Clint Weaver at Onawa Economic Development with your Name, Phone Number, and Email address (

For more information on the RAGBRAI event,  visit RAGBRAI’s Website.

Photo Credit: Des Moines Register

Do you accept this challenge?

Lets put Monona County on the map for Health and Wellness

Monona County Public Health, Burgess Health Center, Onawa Chamber of Commerce, Mapleton Chamber of Commerce and Monona County Economic Development would like to invite everyone in the county to participate in the Live Healthy Iowa 10-week wellness challenge.

This fun and friendly competition will provide an opportunity for everyone to improve their health! The challenge begins January 22 and ends March 30, 2018. This is a great opportunity to get businesses, healthcare facilities, churches, and everyone in the county involved.

3 Easy Steps to Join the Challenge:

1) Build Your Team

Form a team of 2-10 people and elect a captain. Decide if your team wants to track activity minutes and/or weight loss. Select a team name, gather team members’ email addresses, T-shirt sizes and $22 registration fee per participant.

2) Sign Up

Beginning December 11, team captains can register teams at

When registering, use the Monona County code: LHIMONONA.

3) Get Moving, Get Healthy

Track your team and individual progress on your personal dashboard throughout the challenge. With team support, unlimited access to tools and helpful resources, you’ll be on the road to a healthier you.

Participants Receive:

 Challenge T-shirt (Adult small - 4XL)

 Personal online dashboard with the ability to sync Fitbit devices and Under Armour apps

 One-year magazine subscription of your choice

 $10 discount for the LHI 5K in April 2018 at Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa

 Chances to win weekly prizes

 LHI Access Card redeemable for discounts across Iowa

 Free registration for Winter and Summer Iowa Games, Fitness Walks and ZUMBA events

Last year, Monona County Wellness Coalition set a goal of getting 2% of our county population (approximately 190 people) to participate in this wellness challenge. With your help, we were able to exceed that goal!

This year, we are raising the bar to 3% of our county population (approximately 266 people).

We are small, but Mighty. We can do this!

Please see your personal invitation and a registration guide attached. We are encouraging anyone that lives or works in Monona County, including families, friends, businesses, churches, healthcare organizations, etc. to join in the fun. 

Please forward this invitation to anyone else that may be interested in joining.


For help finding a local team to be a part of, contact:

Monona County Economic Development: 712-433-4493


Monona County Public Health: 712-433-1773


For Registration Questions Contact Live Healthy Iowa:

Phone: (888) 777-8881

Let’s get healthy Monona County!


Launch Week

A week of events relating to innovation and entrepreneurship will take place in Sioux City as part of the 5th annual Launch Week, November 10th – 17th. With speakers, startup presentations and plenty of networking, Launch Week aims to inspire, motivate, and promote collaboration among professionals.

We have all of the Launch Week Events listed on our Event Calendar,

Business Succession Planning

ISU Startup Factory

Google Workshop

Biz Brew

Dream Big Grow Here Grant Pitch Competition

Business For Breakfast

or visit Iowa West Coast Initiative website for more information.