Happy Small Business Week 2015

“I love the flexibility and setting my own schedule. And, I am ultimately responsible for the success of my own business.” — Tim Kraayenbrink, Kraayenbrink Financial Services

“I enjoy the creativity working for yourself provides, leveraging your own strengths and chasing your own goals. At the end of the day, it’s hard, but very rewarding.” — Rick Bertrand, local commercial developer

“The harder I work, the more potential I have and my business has. It’s the American Dream. I like the independence – becoming a small business owner is the best decision I’ve ever made.” — Brad ZaunZaun’s Trustworthy Hardware

“Our business is family-owned and it is great working with my family and such wonderful employees each day, knowing we are the best part of someone’s worst day and helping them when they’re in need. It’s a very rewarding experience helping out my neighbors, friends, family and community.”— Jake Chapman, family-owned private ambulance service

“For me, what’s great about owning a small business is it allows you to provide a good or service to people in an area you are passionate about. Though business ownership is extremely rewarding, it’s also very demanding and risky. I will always have a great deal of respect and admiration for anyone who takes on that challenge.” — Jack Whitver, Acceleration Iowa

“I enjoy interaction with employees, clients and customers. It’s like having an extended family; the relationships we building are long-lasting. Being in business for 31 years, you build a lot of relationship you may not have foreseen.” — Michael Breitbach, Trans Star Trucking and Swales Precast Inc.

“Owning a small business and making wheelchair parts for the disabled, allows me to help solve problems, employ hard-working Iowans and contribute to the economic growth in my community.” —Mark Chelgren, Frog Legs, Inc. 

No Place Like Home: Senate District 28

Senator Michael Breitbach calls his district the gateway to the beautiful hill country.

“My district is where the flat lands and prairie meet the hills of northeast Iowa,” Senator Breitbach said. “It runs along the Fayette and Clayton county line. Once you get to that area, everything south and west of Strawberry [Point] pretty much flattens out. Everything north and east is all hills. It looks completely different than what most people think of when they think of Iowa.”

SONY DSCSenator Breitbach’s home, Strawberry Point, Iowa, is located in Senate District 28, along with a number of historical buildings, businesses, and of course, the “World’s Largest Strawberry.” This strawberry welcomes you to Strawberry Point City Hall, measuring 15 feet tall and 12 feet across. It weighs in at 1,500 pounds.

“Decorah is another beautiful town with many historical buildings,” Senator Breitbach said. One of those buildings is Hotel Winneshiek, originally constructed from 1904-1905. In April 2000 it reopened after extensive renovations.

“It really is something you have to see to truly appreciate,” Senator Breitbach said.

A little south of Decorah is the Bily Clock Museum in Spillville. Two brothers, Joseph and Frank Bily, started carving clocks in 1913. These clocks often depicted cultural, historical or religious scenes, some standing over 9 feet tall. The brothers never sold any despite offers they received. Their collection was donated to the museum after their passing.

Festina, Iowa, a small town outside of Deocrah, is home to  St. Anthony of Padua Chapel, the world’s smallest church.

Senate District 28 is also home to Effigy Mounds, a national monument stretching across Allamakee and Clayton counties. The prehistoric animal-shaped mounds built by Native Americans are believed to have many different meanings, such as seasonal observances, celestial events or boundary markers.

“We always have been active in our community. I spent time as a council member and my wife was the mayor,” Senator Breitbach said. “I wanted the opportunity to give back for all of the good things our family has enjoyed here. I thought running for office was a great way to do that.”

Senator Breitbach has served 30 years as a volunteer fireman, 22 years as a volunteer EMT, 20 years as a Boy Scout leader, as well as serving on many other boards and positions in the city.

“Each district is really different and I’m proud to represent the one I call home.”