Garner businesses selected for “make-over” project

Councilman Tim Schmidt escourts students of the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences on a walking tour of downtown Garner. The student will be working with four local businesses on a business consulting "makeover" project.

Rebecca Peter|The Leader


GARNER - Four Garner businesses will be working with students from the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences on a business consulting and “make-over” project.

Participating business are Farm Chick Quilts, Synergy Salon and North Iowa Kitchens, and North Iowa Designs.

Teams of students will be working with the owners over the next few weeks to assist them with new ways to become competitive, according to Professor Linda Niehm.

“What are consumers looking for today? What should they be doing that Walmart doesn’t?” Niehm said. “We’ve been doing this since 2004. Recently we have partnered with Extension on a project called the Iowa Retail Initiative.”

The Iowa Retail Initiative is a partnership between the College of Human Sciences and the College of Design.

“We can provide some business assistance and if there is some design elements of that assistance, we can ask for resources help from the College of Design.”

“We’ve been to a number of Iowa communities including Eagle Grove and Humboldt,” Niehm said. “So the word is getting around.”

The college worked in cooperation with the Hancock County ISU Extension Service and Garner Chamber of Commerce to identify businesses that “wanted assistance and wanted some fresh new ideas and were in line with the type of assistance we can provide,” she explained.

About 30 ISU students recently went on walking tour of downtown Garner.  During a noon lunch break at the Garner Education Center they met with a panel consisting of Councilman Tim Schmidt, GHV Superintendent Tyler Williams and Chamber of Commerce Director Amber Jenniges, for a question and answer session about Garner.

During the afternoon they broke into smaller teams and met with the business owners.

Read the complete story in the Oct. 3 Leader.