As two former high school classmates dug Delaney Evers and her Kia Soul out from the snow, she couldn’t resist smiling. It was a perfect example of why she decided to move back to Iowa.
“Despite being stranded at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday, when people are rushing to get home and start their weekend, there was no shortage of help,” said Evers. “That is why I love Iowa and Centerville in particular. The fact you can always count on someone — even when you are stuck on the side of the road!”
Because just two years prior, both situations — getting stuck in the snow and receiving a helping hand — were unimaginable for Evers.
Ruffles to Riches
From a young age, Evers was set on moving away from Centerville, Iowa, to one of the coasts to pursue a career in fashion. Always a go-getter, she started working at 14 for a local vendor/clothing shop and a year later, laid out a business plan to her grandfather who loaned her $3,000 to open her own clothing store.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by small business owners my entire life,” said Evers. “One set of grandparents owned a flower shop and the other started a construction company. They’ve always been extremely business savvy and ambitious — which I guess rubbed off on me.”
That ambition led to Rhinestones and Ruffles, a boutique shop she owned and operated throughout high school. She conducted photo shoots with friends, promoted her business through social media, and utilized e-commerce to generate online sales. During her senior year, Evers applied and was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. After completing her degree at a community college in Iowa, Evers sold her store, packed up everything she owned and headed west.
“I sold everything off, which was devastating,” said Evers. “But it gave me the money I needed to move, live in downtown L.A., and start school with solid a footing and money in the bank.”
No Place Like Home
To say the least, leaving a small Midwestern town of 5,000 to move to a city nearly 800 times larger was quite the change of scenery. “I think there were more people in my building in L.A. then there were in my entire hometown growing up,” said Evers.
But she adjusted. Out west, Evers majored in visual communications and landed an internship for a public relations firm where she worked on social media and influencer marketing. Post-graduation, she was hired as a publicist and charged with securing editorial placements for clients, influencer relations and showroom management. After two years, she freelanced as a social media and digital consultant which took her to Thailand on an influencer trip and then celebrity trainer Nicole Winhoffer’s branded partnerships manager.
“I was able to do so many cool things when I was in LA, but if I’m being honest, I never felt completely fulfilled,” she said. “I wanted to make an impact and in a city of four million people, that is quite a bit harder — both personally and professionally.”
Seeing photos and status updates from friends on social media made her long for the family-oriented lifestyle she had left behind. After five years, she knew it was time to come home.
The thing about a small town like Centerville is that word travels fast, and it didn’t take long for people to hear that Evers wanted to return. One who caught wind of this was a close family friend claiming to have just the right opportunity for her.
“I got a phone call from the friend and was told the perfect job was waiting for me whenever I decided to come back,” said Evers. “Three weeks after that conversation, I found myself back in Iowa.”
Today, Evers is a wedding sales manager at Honey Creek Resort, right outside Centerville. In this role, she utilizes her unique combination of creative, relationship and sales skills — all while pulling from her experience in Los Angeles.
“The past year and a half has flown by and been amazing,” she said. “I love my job and think the people I’ve worked with have responded well to some of my ideas in terms of décor non-traditional approach to weddings that I learned while out west.”
In addition to her job, Evers is also making an impact in the Centerville community. She’s joined the Centerville Young Professionals and is now the organization’s president, is the publicity chair for RAGBRAI Centerville, and is involved in several other volunteer activities.
Like the saying goes, the grass isn’t always greener, and Evers admits that it took moving to the City of Angels for her to truly appreciate Iowa and rural life — but she wouldn’t change a thing. “I’m excited to use my experiences and lessons learned and give it back to Centerville,” she said. “I see the potential here, the impact I can make, and I want to be someone who helps it reach that potential. It was ok for me to leave Iowa, but even better for me to come back.”