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The Week in Social 2/22-2/26

The Week in Social rounds up the best of Iowa’s uplifting stories, exciting initiatives and fun events from all 99 counties discovered through social media. In a time where every bit of good news is cherished, this series is devoted to being a fun, lighthearted way to stay informed about Iowa’s good news.

If supporting local small businesses is important to you, the Black Capitol of Iowa passport is a great resource to bookmark. Spearheaded by Experience Waterloo, the Black Capitol of Iowa Passport is a free mobile coupon book created to celebrate Black-owned businesses and spur economic development in Waterloo and across Iowa.

“The passport is an opportunity for us to let our community know that they’re not alone,” said Tavis Hall, director of Experience Waterloo. “Our mission with this passport is to empower Black-owned businesses, continue to educate our community and help our small business owners be successful.”

With more than 42 businesses signed up, and more joining every week, the passport is an innovative solution to help empower and amplify Iowa Black-owned businesses throughout the state while allowing those who sign up to instantly unlock discounts and earn points at participating businesses. Signing up is easy, free and can be done from a mobile device. Sign up today.

Travel Awaits, a site dedicated to travelers 50 years and up, included Van Veen Chocolates in Pella and Palmer’s Candy in Sioux City, as well as Lagomarcino’s Confections (which has locations in both Davenport, IA and Moline, IL) to its list of 11 Best Chocolate Shops In The Midwest.

Travel Awaits writer Tim Trudell mentioned Van Veen’s peanut butter brittle, meltaways and butter toffees, Palmer Candy’s Bing candy bar (nut-covered cherry nougat mounds), fudge and truffles, and Lagomarcino’s ice cream treats, malted balls, sea salt caramel bites and English toffees. Searching for more great chocolate shops? Iowa is home to plenty!

Lola’s Hot Sauce is heating up! The Des Moines-based Asian-American inspired hot sauce company was born from a family recipe passed down by owner Taufeek Shah’s mother Lola. An Iowa favorite, Lola’s recently received a national boost thanks to home improvement retailer Lowe’s entrepreneur series, “Making It … With Lowe’s.”

Lowe’s invited entrepreneurs from around the country to pitch their most innovative products, resulting in more than 1,300 submissions. The series, hosted by Shark Tank’s Daymond John, featured a panel of five judges made up of Lowe’s executive team. Three entrepreneurs had their products chosen, and Shah made the cut.

Lola’s was awarded coveted store space and will be available online and in stores throughout the country, as well as a marketing support package, a mentoring package from John and a $5,000 Lowe’s Small Business Grant.

Last week Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig participated in a virtual trade mission with Japan.

The mission, coordinated by IEDA, allowed Iowa representatives to continue conversations with Japanese companies following a successful in-person meeting in 2019. The virtual trade mission helped build on positive momentum with expanding trade and investing opportunities for Iowa. Last year Iowa companies exported $1.4 billion in products and services to Japan and the country is Iowa’s leading export market for pork and beef products.

“Although COVID-19 had different plans for our reunion, I am still so pleased to have connected with the Japanese delegation,” said Governor Reynolds. “It is crucial for Iowa to have a strong presence in the global economy and these trade missions increase the potential to expand Iowa products internationally and to bring new business to our communities. Japan is an important partner for the state, and I appreciate our long-standing relationship.”

Published March 01, 2021

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