Monthly Archives: November 2007

Best Places to Work in the Corridor

Every year The Edge Business Journal announces their Edge of Excellence Awards.  The awards recognize numerous different organizations and residents in the Corridor.  In November, 2007 The Edge announced the area’s best places to work and places with the best business growth. 

So if you’re new to the area, or just looking to change scenery, these would be great businesses to check out!

Winners for 2007 include:

Business Growth – 2007

TMone — Headquartered in Iowa City, TMone is a leading front office Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firm specializing in customer relationship management (CRM) and database management.

RuffaloCODY — RuffaloCODY is a leader in providing software, consulting, fundraising, enrollment management and other innovative solutions for nonprofit organizations.  RuffaloCODY has location across the country.

Past winners: Marketing and Communications Strategies and Bankers Trust.

Best Place to Work – 2007

Geonetric – Geonetric works with hospitals and health systems to develop and implement innovative Web strategies to engage their online customers and is located in Cedar Rapids.

GreatAmerica Leasing – GreatAmerica is a national lessor dedicated to helping manufacturers, vendors, and dealers be more successful and keep their customers. GreatAmerica is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with offices in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and Illinois.

Past winners: Clifton Gunderson, Kirkwood Community College, Genecor International and GE Commercial Financial.

Community Service – 2007

Farmers State Bank – A local bank with the mission of helping customers achieve their financial goals by connecting them with the right financial solutions. They have six locations in Cedar Rapids, Marion, Hiawatha and Alburnett.

Past Winners: Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, University Hospitals, Iowa State Bank & Trust, and Rockwell Collins.

On the The Edge’s Web site they have a list of videos of the winners.  The videos take a bit to load but they are worth it to see a first-hand glimpse into the companies and learn what makes them unique. 

If you work at one of the winning companies, and even if you work somewhere else, tell us what you think makes your place of work special.  We are lucky to have so many great companies to work for in the Corridor!

posted by: heatherjoy77


Leave a comment

Filed under Great Places to Work, Why it's great to live here

Shop in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village

by Ruth Paarmann

Before you even think about busting through mall crowds, take a trip to Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village. The area runs from the 16th Avenue bridge to C Avenue SW, just west of the Cedar River.

The neighborhood offers a national museum and a row of lovely locally owned shops. Supporting these local shop owners is important to me, and each fall, I look there for items to fulfill my holiday gift list.

One of the highlights for me is Czech Cottage, where gifts of glass and jewelry line the shelves. The shop owners travel to Europe to select items for sale, so the merchandise is quite unique. It’s a great place for gifts for moms and newlyweds like cut-crystal vases. I’ve also found adorable little glass animals which make surprisingly good, but inexpensive, gifts for friends.

At Christmastime, the gift shop at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library brims with spectacular blown-glass ornaments, cookbooks, souvenirs and more. Located next to a clock tower, the museum itself offers excellent special exhibits and an informative permanent exhibit about Czech and Slovak history. It’s one of Cedar Rapids’ best cultural stops.

Saddle & Leather Shop

I always try to visit the Saddle & Leather Shop, too. The store has changed little since my days as a young rider to buy saddles, bridles and Western wear. It’s still a clean, early-1900s vintage shop run by the Barta sisters. I go there for boots as needed for my time volunteering at the therapeutic equestrian center, Miracles in Motion. Enjoy the aroma of leather while you browse clothing, hats, horse toys such as Breyer models, and more.

The Czech Village also features places to eat and drink, including a restaurant and local watering holes. Baked goods, meat, wine and more can be found to fulfill your appetite. Many other mom-and-pop shops, selling everything from appliances to tattoos, have made their home in this ethnic area. Everyone will have different favorite stops, but regardless of your tastes, Czech Village is something special in this area, and it should be on your shopping list!

Ruth Paarmann, owner of Paarlance Creative Writing, is a freelance writer who appreciates quality ethnic experiences.

1 Comment

Filed under Arts and Music, Good Eats, Shopping, Why it's great to live here

Not just corn and pigs: Local magazine serves as guide to great food

In 2004, when I was contemplating moving to Iowa from the Washington D.C. area, one of the things I worried most about was losing access to interesting dining and cooking experiences.

“Is there Vietnamese food?” I asked the person who I planned to follow out to the Midwest. “Because if there’s no Vietnamese food, I’m not coming.”

He dutifully sent me a few web links to the names and addresses of Vietnamese restaurants within 50 miles of Iowa City. I grudgingly agreed to move, but made sure to get a solid dose of Bun Cha Gio, Ga xa and Pho before getting on the plane.

Sweet cornI’ve now lived in Iowa City for more than two years, and, for all my pre-Iowa yapping, haven’t even made it to a Vietnamese restaurant out here. Instead, I’ve feasted on American prosciutto from Norwalk, Iowa; amazing salsa from Wellman, Iowa; and single source honey from Watertown, Minnesota.

Sure, I gnaw on sweet corn like nobody’s business in the summer, but I’ve also discovered Iowa farmers grow Muscatine melons, which might be the sweetest melons I’ve ever tasted.

I find a wealth of the local food products through Edible Iowa River Valley, a quarterly magazine that examines just what makes eating in Iowa so interesting. (Full disclosure: I’m a Edible Fall 2007contributor to the magazine, but was already a subscriber before I started writing for them!)

The latest issue just hit the streets in Eastern Iowa, and it’s a great resource for local food products and places to find them throughout the region. This is the magazine’s fifth issue, and Publisher Wendy Wasserman and Editor Kurt Michael Friese have managed to weave together an impressive tapestry of stories about the region. The Des Moines Register even profiled Wendy today and talked a little further about the magazine and its goals.

In this issue, you’ll find stories about Fort Madison’s Lost Duck Brewery, a cover story about Iowa’s expanding taste for goats, and, my contribution this time around, a story about locally-grown chestnuts, just in time for all that roasting-over-an-open-fire business.

The magazine is available free at approximately 150 locations throughout the region, and is also available by subscription.


Genie Gratto also blogs at The Inadvertent Gardener.

Leave a comment

Filed under Good Eats