News & Photos
Third Annual Grant Contest Awards Small Businesses

Source: WCEDC
Author: Brennan Ginder
Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 Time: 11:26 AM

On March 30, 2017, Warren County Economic Development Corp. hosted its 3rd Annual Small Business Grant Contest at Simpson College. It was an evening of healthy competition, new friends, and possible business alliances as three start-up business finalists and three existing businesses finalists presented their business pitches and ideas to a panel of judges. The start-up businesses were competing for a $4,000 grant, while the existing businesses were competing for $6,000.

The judges had their work cut out for them, as all six businesses have an impact on the local economy and add unique services and retail opportunities to the area. Each finalist had ten minutes to sell their business and convince the judges of their business plans. All six finalists did an amazing job presenting, and regardless of who won, it was truly a fantastic event where they could show off their products and services, and let their passion for their work shine.

The winner of the start-up business grant was SF Services, owned by Scott Foster and based in Indianola. SF Services is a professional exterior cleaning company that provides services including: window and roof cleaning, commercial and residential surface cleaning, siding cleaning, and more. It is a service-based business with instant gratification for clients. The grant money will be used to purchase a new commercial heated power washer and equipment to help advertisingefforts.

The winner of the existing business grant was Eco Blast, LLC, owned by Chris and Janel Crowe and Jim Fatino. Based in Indianola, Eco Blast, LLC is a restoration company that restores antiques, furniture, cars, residential and commercial structures, and more. Eco Blast, LLC uses Dustless Blasting technology, which uses material like crushed glass instead of sand. The grant money will be used to purchase a paint booth, which will make them a one-stop-shop for restoring and painting, as some of their most frequent clients are auto body shops. Eco Blast, LLC plans to further give back to the community through the creation of a new program aimed to help disadvantaged youth. Learn more at

While only two businesses walked away with grants, the four runner-up businesses were strong contenders and we anticipate great things from each of them in the near future. Learn more about them below.

Start-Up Business Finalist - Nixon Caliber LLC, owned by Diana Nielsen, creates high end one-of-a-kind furniture and home decor. Planning to open on the Indianola Square, Nixon Caliber LLC will carry unique, custom-made pieces that turn ordinary, unusual parts into furniture. This includes: bars, benches, tables, and chairs that are made from old cars, trucks, tractors and more. Nixon Caliber LLC also plans to carry furniture pieces from other local artists. To contribute to the art scene in Indianola, Nixon Caliber LLC aspires to organize a local school art contest/event.

Start-Up Business Finalist - The Iowa Market, owned by Rick Valentine. Valentine currently owns and operates Valentine Food Co. offering delicious smoked meats and pre-cooked meals that are packaged for the consumer to enjoy in the comfort of their home. Valentine has expanded to offer packaging and bottling services for other products like: Three Sons Sauce, Jaun O’Sullivan’s Salsa, Farmers Bootleg Salsa, Wild Heer Bloody Mary Mix, and more. Currently, you can find these well-known products in local Hy-Vee stores, as well as Whole Foods and Farmer’s Markets. Valentine is creating The Iowa Market to add a unique distribution service to further circulate the products it packages and produces. Learn more at

Existing Business Finalist - Aronson Woodworks, owned by Clayton Aronson and based out of Prole. Aronson Woodworks is a custom wood furniture company that creates and sells breathtaking furniture pieces predominately from salvaged and reclaimed wood. Many pieces are created from ash trees that have been removed around the Des Moines metro in preparation for the emerald ash borer. Aronson gives new life to the ash trees by transforming them into gorgeous furniture that will last for generations to come. Aronson Woodworks is turning heads and getting a lot of attention lately. Watch for them to be published in “Traditional Home” magazine and see their furniture up close and personal during the Des Moines Home Show Expo held in Norwalk this summer. Learn more at

Existing Business Finalist – McCoy True Value has been serving Indianola, Warren County, and beyond since 1885. True Value is a locally-owned hardware store offering paint, tools, equipment, household and garden items and more. In addition, McCoy True Value has a robust rental department, where you can rent equipment for events and projects of any size. With the rise in online sales, McCoy True Value stays ahead of the curve with their exceptional customer service and takes pride in always having a ready smile and a helping hand for its customers. Watch for interior and exterior updates throughout the store in the coming year. Learn more about McCoy True Value at

Warren County Economic Development Corporation would like to express our congratulations to all six businesses that made it to the final round!