Covering Siouxland’s business sector is probably one of the most enjoyable challenges I’ve faced.
In our tri-state area, there are more than a hundred unique communities and countless established businesses, start-ups, and movers and shakers. It's my job to try my best to keep an eye on all of those things.
While it can be daunting and incredibly stressful when something falls through or a competitor breaks a big story before I do, it’s unbelievably rewarding when things work out as planned.
Additionally, I probably average more unique experiences in a month than some people likely will in a decade.
So while I’m still about four months away from my one-year mark, here are five business stories — in no particular order — that I really had fun reporting and some additional information about them.
- Red’s All Natural — I got to tour a frozen burrito factory! Let me say that again, “I GOT TO TOUR A FROZEN BURRITO FACTORY!” Now for people wondering what the big deal is about that, tell me how many burrito factories you’ve toured? This story was also pretty fun because I got to bookmark an important chapter for an up-and-coming food processor and got a peek behind the curtain of an important food group that helped me make it through adolescence.
- Lakes strip club fire — So the initial story and this follow-up were quite unique. Now once you take away all the surface level giggles of writing about an adult entertainment establishment, you’ll find a story about a small business owner challenging the status quo and trying to rebuild his business after a devastating fire. Hmmm, I should probably follow up on this soon!
- CF Industries PROGRESS — If you lived in Siouxland during the last five years, the words “C-F” have probably come out of your mouth. This massive $2 billion infrastructure investment changed a lot of things in the community and — albeit temporarily — provided a significant population boost to the region. Fun fact: Before Journal Visuals Editor Tim Hynds and I could tour the expanded complex for this story, we had to watch a safety video in the security office and pass a quiz.
- Gentle Giants dog food — Another excellent factory tour that featured one of the most modern facilities I’ve visited in my career but with the added bonus of Robin the Boy Wonder tagging along. In a separate story, I wrote about getting to pick his brain for a bit.
- The economic impact of RAGBRAI — Spencer and Orange City are two of my favorite Northwest Iowa communities and each is gorgeous, unique and have thriving downtowns filled with locally-owned shops. For this assignment, I got to spend half a day in Orange City and when I wasn’t interviewing shopkeepers or knocking on doors, I got to hang out in a cool coffee shop and get a head start on writing my story.