Category Archives: Shopping & Dining

It was Meant To Be!

In January of 2014, my husband Kevin and I purchased the established business of Meant To Be in downtown DeWitt.  At that time we added fresh flowers to the store, which was the reason for the name change to Meant To Be With Flowers.  I completed Floral Design Schooling in West Palm Beach from South Florida Center for Floral studies in 2013.  It had always been a passion for me to become a floral designer and I truly enjoy decorating and searching for new, unique ideas!

I grew up in a small town in Northeastern Iowa on a dairy farm, and I have always had a passion to work hard, play hard, be kind and pray!  I feel very fortunate to own a small business in DeWitt and to be a part of this thriving community!  I realize that owning a small business takes lots of hard work, commitment, and a dedication to make every customer that comes in the door feel like they are special.  Our main focus at Meant To Be With Flowers is for people to feel welcome and regardless if they purchase anything or not, that they feel at home! I enjoy hearing our customers call this their “happy place”, or when they say they would like to “bottle our smell up and take home”!  We have a special candle always burning, butter maple syrup is our signature scent.  One of our hometown customer service details is every customer that comes in the door is greeted with a delicious chocolate mint.

DeWitt is becoming a “destination small town” and I am honored to be part of the retail businesses.  I feel we do our best to direct people to other shops in town if they are looking for something that we do not offer.  When customers realize that the retail businesses are working together it makes their shopping experience even more rewarding.  As a businesses owners I really enjoy the DCDC’s Look Local First Campaign we have lots of customers, local and visitors to the community, talking about the program and the Chamber Bucks drawings.  It is exciting to hear customers for miles away talking so highly of DeWitt!

My husband Kevin and I are blessed with four wonderful children, Jenna 25, Krista 23, Colin 20, and Kara 16.  I enjoy golfing, exercising, spending time with family and the long hours of being a small business owner.  I feel my reward for the long hours and commitment to the business is helping people find those unique gift items, decorating for hours for each holiday, which our entire store is now Christmas!  And of course I love to visit with customer and listen to their likes in home décor! Have a Happy Holiday Season and stop by to view our decorated LIVE Window during the upcoming Hometown Christmas Window Walk, on December 2nd!

Lisa Duffy – Owner of Meant to Be With Flowers

Fresh Food & Friendly Conversations

At the core of community is the sharing of food.  A farmer’s market is a shared space wherein folks meet face to face and talk about food.  Perhaps this explains why the number of farmer’s markets nationwide have increased from 1755 in 1996 to 8,144 in 2013.  A farmer’s market connects people together.  A farmer’s market provides space for friendly conversations with folks who actually have grown, harvested and prepared food.  Folks at a farmer’s market share not only the food itself, but also information about how the food is grown and prepared.  Shoppers  at a farmer’s market can ask questions and express their preferences in face to face conversations with vendors.

‘Walkable space’ is a term used by city planners and developers to refer to a shared space within community that is accessible on foot.  There’s really nothing new about this concept—in plain English, we call this space a “park”.  Such shared spaces seem to connect people together and enhance the quality of life in a community. Here in DeWitt our farmer’s market is centrally located on the east side of Lincoln Park Thursday afternoons (between 3:30-6:30PM) from May thru October.  Although we struggle from time to time with unpleasant weather, on good days many folks seem to enjoy a walk to the market from their homes.  There is grass, shade, benches, and picnic tables, and a playground nearby.  The DeWitt Farmer’s Market is a relaxing way to get some exercise on a summer afternoon and to visit with neighbors.  It doesn’t cost as much money as some other outdoor entertainment.   It’s truly a nice walk in the park.

John Ivens, Farmers Market Manager

With So Many Choices, Why Look Local First?

No one business can be all things to all people.  And the number of options available to shoppers is greater than ever.  Online vendors, big box stores and franchise businesses offer many advantages. Small Businesses have distinct attributes and advantages as well, and hopefully, give you reasons to Look Local First.

Small Businesses represent community, an interdependence among its residents, neighbors and city leaders.  They offer personalized service and unique finds, but more importantly – a slower pace, and an experience to be enjoyed with family and friends.  They know, enjoy and appreciate their customers, and they cannot exist without local support.

THE CROSSROADS Inspired Living & Garden Cafe opened its doors on June 20, 2011 after a nine month renovation of the former Martha’s Café.  The name recognizes in part, the historical crossroads of two transnational highways 30 & 61 at DeWitt’s downtown intersection of 6th Avenue & 10th Street. DeWitt’s many quality of life amenities along with its nice downtown and music along 6th Avenue, its proximity to the Quad City area and surrounding communities, made it seem like a good location to open a new business.

This was truly a family endeavor and partnership.  As such, it was not only an investment in DeWitt, but a time of making memories and rejuvenation following a period of ill health.  Indeed, it was the beginning of a new and adventuresome journey that still continues to this day.  Having celebrated our 5th Anniversary this past June, we can say that “It is good to be here.” For truly, the best part of this journey so far has been sharing ‘Inspiration’ and ‘Experiences’ with so many people along the way.

That’s what Small Businesses are about:  Personal Connections and integrating what we do into everyday life.  Just one of many reasons to Look Local FirstDo enjoy all that DeWitt has to offer.  Experience Your Hometown….  And Meet Us at THE CROSSROADS.  Be Inspired!

Linda Snyder – Owner of THE CROSSROADS Inspired Living & Garden Cafe 

Taking The Road Less Traveled To DeWitt

My wife Sandy and I will take any excuse for a road trip that gives us an opportunity to see new parts of the country.  And when we do, we like to get off the main roads to enjoy the real America, not just the “highway America.”  We enjoy the slower pace, the opportunity to see the great beauty and many attractions and curiosities this country offers, and the chance conversations and experiences one can only have if you take the road less traveled.  In all these respects, DeWitt definitely delivered.

Last month, Sandy and I had an opportunity to travel from northern Virginia to Vinton, Iowa to attend our son’s end-of-service ceremony with FEMA Corps, a national service program focused on disaster response and disaster mitigation.  We came up through central Ohio and stopped off to visit friends and family, wound our way through Indiana hill country and Illinois croplands and crossed the Mississippi north of Davenport heading to Vinton.  Thus it was that we found ourselves passing through DeWitt on Route 30 on a fine spring day around lunchtime.  So we stopped off at the Garden Café for some mighty fine soup and sandwiches.

While enjoying the hospitality of the nice folks at the Garden Cafe, we read a bit about native son and noted artist John Bloom and a mural he had painted, “Shucking Corn,” installed in the old DeWitt post office, now City Hall.  With a little time on our hands, and always keen to take advantage of local attractions, we decided to have a peek.  We wandered over to the post office and inquired about the mural and the very helpful postmistress informed us that we had found the new post office, and that the mural was located in the “old post office,” now serving as the City Hall.   Entering City Hall, we were invited by the folks in the front offices to enjoy Bloom’s work located above the Mayor’s office door.  It was well worth the time—a wonderful artistic representation of the American experience we leave the city and highway to enjoy.  The enthusiastic folks there pointed us to some additional Bloom sketches mounted in the Council chambers.  We had an enjoyable conversation about the growth and development around DeWitt.

Heading back to the car we crossed the intersection of 10th Street and 6th Avenue, and we were diverted by a sign identifying the intersection as the crossroads of the old Lincoln Highway and the historic Blues Road.  I’m a great blues fan and it is my ambition on a future road trip to follow the Blues from New Orleans northward.  As we were enjoying that discovery, we turned around to see a thatched roof building in Lincoln Park, something you just don’t see every day in this country!  Further intrigued by the German “Hausbarn” museum sign, we poked our German Hausbarn, DeWitt Iowaheads into the Chamber of Commerce offices to inquire about it.  We met the DCDC staff, who couldn’t have been more gracious representatives of DeWitt—opening up the museum for us and letting us know about the various happenings in the DeWitt environs, including Tunes in Town located in Lincoln Park.  We greatly enjoyed our conversation with them and their willingness to show us the well-organized displays relating to the German migration to America.

As we had an event to get to in Vinton, we reluctantly took our leave of the good folks of DeWitt.  But we have abiding memories of a town with great local attractions and of warm, embracing residents who have an obvious sense of civic pride, and who have a predisposition to offer a helping hand, even to out-of-town folks just passing through.  We look forward with great anticipation to our Blues Road travels in the next year or so, now not just because of the draw of the music, but because it will provide us the opportunity to travel up 6th Avenue on our return to one of our new favorite American towns.

With fond memories – Rob and Sandy Fountain

 

The Spirit of The Season

Are you having trouble getting into the holiday spirit?  Wanting to share in something a little different?  Hoping to share in the JOY of Christmas with those you love?  For these reasons, along with the desire to connect with my community, I am super excited about DeWitt’s Hometown Christmas event!  

I love living in DeWitt, a community where it is so evident that residents take great pride in where they live.  Not only is DeWitt beautiful on any given day throughout the year, but during Hometown Christmas, the downtown truly shines! As I was running errands yesterday, I noticed the large stone pots in the Downtown District were being filled with lush, seasonal greenery.  The plants were the perfect complement to the holiday lights that were recently put up by a number of community volunteers and the DCDC.  DeWitt sincerely is a great community we live in where there are many people who come together for the greater good.

I have many fond memories from the Window Walk of years past.  I adore the nostalgic feeling one gets as you stroll the streets, peeking in store front windows.  It makes me think fondly of a time where everything wasn’t as technologically spun as it is today.  You can see the children and adults enjoying their ‘job’ in the window.  The bright eyes of the passersby seem to fuel the fire of those behind the glass.  

As if the live window displays aren’t enough to get your attention, one of my favorite parts of the walk is the bonfire the fireman host.  My kids love s‘mores and they idolize fireman, so it is even sweeter to see them participating in such an event and sharing a gooey treat and friendly smile.  Also, many businesses host warming stations or holiday activities for kids to do within their business! My kids have gotten the opportunity to frost their own sugar cookies, make holiday ornaments and even go around downtown and searched for the Elf on the Shelf in the Live Window Displays! What a fun and festive event this truly is!!

So get into the Holiday spirit tomorrow in DeWItt and attend DeWitt’s Hometown Christmas! The weather couldn’t be more perfect for a December night. Grab the chance to mingle on the streets with the ones you love.  While you’re out, take a moment (I bet you’ll find many) to cherish the genuine spirit in the air.  My family and I will see you there!

-Angie Hill, DeWitt Resident and Mother

Your Assignment: Shop Local!! Due Date: December 25th

 

Let’s talk shopping.  Ladies smile and get that hint of excitement when they hear that word.  Guys: probably not so much, but there could be a way to change that…

I personally hate shopping, I really do.  I know, I’m a woman and I’m supposed to be giddy at the idea.  Dropping me at the mall with three hours to kill is like torture.  You would most likely find me in a corner at Barnes and Noble with a stack of books waiting for everyone else in my group to be done with their shopping excursions. But, I dare to say there are certain shopping scenarios I can enjoy.  You know that day when you weren’t planning on buying anything but you find the absolute most perfect gift for someone?  That unique gift that you bought the day you had half hour to kill so you walked through that little store in town.

You knew right where I was going with this, didn’t you?  But think about it, shopping local is almost always one of the most rewarding and fun kind of shopping there is.  Right here in DeWitt, we are so very lucky to have numerous unique stores and shops.  I know women from all over who plan day trips to come to DeWitt.  They have some lunch at Whisk Away Cafe & Bakery, and then walk 6th Avenue all afternoon.  I often hear from out of town family and friends just how friendly people are here; and I know that firsthand.  My mom, who often comes from Dubuque to buy her home décor here, is always greeted with a smile and helpful advice when she walks into Meant To Be, her favorite store.  My daughter is always treated as a “mini shopper” there as well and loves being the little jellybean sampler!  Keeping these unique businesses running and thriving adds to the charming character of our community.  And I’m not just talking the antique and craft stores; I’m talking all of our businesses.  We’re lucky to have Barnes Foodland in DeWitt.  They are continually upgrading and adding more selection.  For someone like me with Celiac Disease I especially appreciate that I can now buy some gluten free foods right here in DeWitt and do not have to drive to outside areas.

So let’s do some Christmas shopping this month or next!  If we all bought just one or two Christmas gifts in DeWitt, think of the money that would be staying right here in our community instead of going to a big chain store.  Get your child’s birthday cake from Whisk Away Cafe & Bakery, grab those groceries at Barnes Foodland, expand your wardrobe at The Family Tree, enjoy a coffee at Blondie’s Coffee Out Back drive-thru instead of Starbucks, or take the family to a weekend matinee at the DeWitt Operahouse.  And guys here’s the easy part – drive those few minutes it takes to get downtown and buy your lady something nice from Necker’s Jewelers, or that antique table at Emma Rae’s Antiques & Uniques that she said would look striking in the dining room.

Yes, I have learned that shopping does not have to be torture; it can actually be very enjoyable.  It’s a proven scientific fact (in my mind anyway) that local businesses hire the best people.  The business owners and their staff are our friends and neighbors and their customer service makes shopping locally so very worth it!

Lisa LeConte, DeWitt Resident and Mother

5 BIG Reasons to Keep Shopping and Dining Dollar$ in DeWitt!

 

1. Personalized service, where everybody knows your name. Store-owners who place  individual orders for customers, for items not in the store – at no extra cost. Restaurant waiters who know your “usual” order. A welcoming smile and conversation, every time you come in the store. People are looking for an experience – DeWitt Delivers a high level of customer service.

2. Awareness in Savings A regular shopping trip to a larger city is at minimum 50-miles roundtrip from DeWitt. Based on the 2015 government business mileage rate at 57.5 cents per mile – which includes depreciation and maintenance of the vehicle, gas and oil costs – the trip alone will cost $28.75. By changing course and being aware of how DeWitt’s stores and restaurants cater to most daily needs, dollars can be redirected to preserving our progressive and thriving community.

3. Meeting Your Daily Needs The vibrant Downtown District (6th Ave) and the stress-free Old Lincoln Highway District (11th St) present two different ways to shop and dine in DeWitt. The Downtown District, with its sweet tunes, invites you to park your car and take a walk as you enjoy multitasking errands with grabbing a bite to eat. The Old Lincoln Highway District allows people little effort to accomplish Saturday morning shopping tasks with ample parking and easy in-and-out access to a variety of stores and restaurants.

4. Chamber Bucks Makes It Easy Not sure how to show your gratitude for the neighbor who always mows your lawn or watches your house when you are out of town? How about the office manager who keeps things running smoothly in your company? Or that certain friend who is driving the car pool?  Chamber Bucks makes it easy for the times you want to say thanks. Plus, it keeps dollars in DeWitt and boost the local economy! It works like a check at over 200 locations in town and can be purchased at DeWitt Bank & Trust Company, DeWitt Chamber & Development Company (DCDC), Dot’s Hallmark, First Central State Bank, and Whisk Away Café and Bakery.

 5. Delicious Dining Options You can travel from Mexican to Chinese and back to good old North American cooking any day of the week! DeWitt not only offers a variety of ethnic choices, but also an assortment of restaurants who cater to cozy atmospheres, take-out, delivery or drivethru services. Whether you are on the go and need something quick and easy, or have time to enjoy the ambiance and stay for desert, there is always something for everyone’s taste buds in DeWitt.

By keeping your shopping and dining dollar$ in DeWitt, you give your Local Economy a Boost! Buying from local retail stores and restaurants improves a community by helping a local store owner put food on the table and pay a mortgage versus helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. Studies show independent retailers return more than 3 times as much money per dollar of sales to the local economy than big box competitors.

Change your course, walk into a new store, try a new entrée,  simple things that will make a big impact on the DeWitt community!