Tag Archives: DeWitt Chamber & Development Company

Agriculture Awareness

Driving around the vastness of farm acreage outside DeWitt, one might not realize the esteemed value of the land. Or how our local countryside effects the world.

Fruitful Location. Farming is a global business, and it begins right here on the 1,244 farms in Clinton County. Area farmers have the notable benefit of Iowa’s rich and deep soil, ample water supply and long growing seasons which produce more profitable crops. Corn and soybeans are the two thriving crops, but for over 150 years, corn has been Iowa’s dominant crop, the largest producer of corn in the nation for almost two decades. In Clinton County, 198,000 acres of corn were harvested with an average yield of 186.8 bushels per acre and 109,000 acres of soybeans were harvested with an average yield of 50.8 bushels per acre.

The soil isn’t the only local benefit. Here around DeWitt, local farmers have access to major Midwestern and global markets. DeWitt’s crossroads allow farmers the ease to export their harvest and livestock by truck, rail or river to local and global processing plants, which are used across the world for food, fuel, fiber and feed.

Local support comes from the Clinton County Farm Bureau, located in DeWitt, which is dedicated to helping farm families prosper and improve their quality of life. Financial support such as Farm Credit Services of America, First Central State Bank and DeWitt Bank & Trust Company, all located in DeWitt, offer farmers operating lines of credit, livestock loans, equipment financing, and real estate loans to name a few.

Technology. Agriculture businesses such as Park Farms Computer Systems, Ag Spectrum Company, River Valley Co-Op and Kunau Implement Company in DeWitt provide farmers with valuable cutting-edge technologies and education based on proven scientific research. Tractors with GPS systems. Drones capturing pictures and video of crop health. Nutritional systems that address the basic science of plant and soil health. Farmers depend on local business services to offer high-tech equipment and new technology to help increase crop yields and efficiency. An essential outcome when agriculture is responsible to feed today’s world population of 7.3 billion people.

Because of this technology and better understanding of crop management, today’s farmer is more efficient and better stewards of the land. For example, in 1990, one acre of corn fed two head of cattle. Today, 1 acre of corn feeds 1.9 head of cattle, creates 580 gallons of ethanol, 27 gallons of corn oil, and 1.7 tons of CO2 for industrial use.

Economic Impact. Clinton County is an economic powerhouse when it comes to agriculture. There are 417,189 acres of farm land, with the average size farm at 335 acres.

In Clinton County, there are over 70,000 cattle and calves and more than 56,000 hogs and pigs in inventory. 1.7% of all jobs in the county came from livestock production and the market value of livestock sold was $112.7 million. The market value of crops grown was $286.6 million with 17.7% of all jobs in Clinton County coming from crop production.

Overall, agriculture-related industries produce 8,887 jobs, contributing $524 million in wages and over $4.8 million in total sales in Clinton County.

The next time you drive around the rolling hills of farm land outside DeWitt, appreciate the vastness of the rich, deep soil. The livestock managers, agronomists, and scientists we call farmers. And the impact it reaches on a local, regional and global level.

Explore more about how DeWitt Delivers Agriculture!

The Logic of Looking Local First

Options by the numbers.  Thirteen companies offer insurance services in DeWitt which cover home, auto, life and health look local logo color (1)needs. Over ten financial institutions present a variety of services such as banking, investing, and accounting; and six of them offer tax service, which is important to note during tax season. If you are wanting to change your look, try one of the five hair salons like Touch of Bliss Salon Spa or the two barber shops in town. Four printing and signage companies like Custom Art and Signs offer many different custom services for your business or personal needs. With all those options and competitive prices, you don’t have to look out of town.

Reliable problem solvers right around the corner. You don’t have to call an 800 number and be put on hold. Not only are there many options and quality service, there’s a bounty of highly trained professionals right here in DeWitt. Frustrated with spreadsheets at work? Hasenmiller Spreadsheet Solutions specializes in optimizing your time by customizing spreadsheets. Need some advice on a house addition?  Consult with one of the three highly experienced construction companies, three electrical contractors or two plumbing and heating companies in town. Does your car need a tune up? Take advice from the three long-standing mechanic shops right around the corner. Three attorney offices offer legal expertise to business and individual clients, which saves a trip to larger cities when dealing with legal matters.

Welcoming community equals business growth. While offering services locally, many companies stretch their territory to a large part of Midwest zip codes. Sandry Fire Supply not only provides gear and equipment to many surrounding states’ fire departments, but also provides emergency car-cutting training to places in South Africa and Europe. Kirby Water Conditioning and Jansen Electric both service a 60-mile radius from DeWitt, offering their expertise to many communities. On the other hand, Grace Lutheran Camp and the Clinton County Fairgrounds literally keep themselves local; however, they service people from all over the region with their extensive community rental facilities.

Giving back. Locally owned businesses build strong communities by supporting local causes. Evidence is in the long list of contributors at a local fundraiser. Title sponsors at a charity event. It’s visible at the Veterans Memorial, a collaboration of companies such as Holst Construction, Hansen Monuments, Jansen Electric and others, who brought their quality of work to a meaningful project.

Rooted in DeWitt, these professional service companies provide us with the advantage of their expertise every day. Reliable problem-solvers with dependable service, highly trained and price competitive. Look Local First. It’s all here, right around the corner.


Changing Needs, Consistently Great Care!

Different families consider different amenities important when they are relocating to a new community. For some, it may be recreational sports; for others, proximity of fine arts opportunities; and for still others, access to churches, a library or a movie theater.  When my husband and I chose DeWitt in 1972, it was a pleasant little town of about 4,000 residents, with friendly people and all the necessities we desired — including excellent schools and a hospital just down the street.

In those early days, with three children then kindergarten-age and younger, we did not know how often we would remind each other of the importance of having a hospital close by. The first week we were here, our 3-year-old developed an earache, and I packed up the morning kindergartner and the newborn to spend what I expected would be the whole afternoon at the doctor’s office with a feverish, whiney toddler and his siblings.  After all, we were new and did not know a soul to ask a babysitting favor, let alone did we have a family doctor.

The kindly receptionist “worked us in” and soon our son was on the road to recovery, and my sanity was preserved. There were many other occasions when our family was able to be seen on short notice, and we always appreciated being able to fill prescriptions or have lab tests done right here in DeWitt.

For a time, we were frequent flyers in the emergency room and on a first-name basis with the x-ray tech as our well-rounded children tested their super powers. I learned to take stitches and casts in stride and became adept at wrapping appendages in bread bags so they would not get wet in the shower. Again, it was great to have our hospital just down the street.

I delivered Baby No. 4 at DeWitt Community Hospital. it was, by far, the best birthing experience of the four, made special because by that time, I had gotten acquainted in the community and knew some of the nurses and aides who cared for us.

When my husband developed complications from a blood clot after open heart surgery at another hospital, the local staff took special care of him until it finally became apparent he needed to be moved back to the larger facility to receive more extensive care. But the TLC he — and I — received is something I never will forget.

Fast forward 34 years, and I again was hospitalized just last fall in DeWitt — this time for double pneumonia. While it was not pleasant being ill, I received the best of care from friendly, caring staff who are very good at what they do and who did everything they could to make me comfortable. From the environmental services staff to the kitchen crew to nurses, aides and special technicians who monitored my health, I absolutely felt I was in the best hands.

Need a mammogram, blood work, a colonoscopy, cataract surgery or other procedure done? Chances are it can be done in DeWitt. But healthcare does not happen just at the hospital and doctor’s clinics. Patients seeking competent, friendly practitioners at dental, optometry and chiropractic offices, in physical therapy gyms and massage therapy salons will find them here as well.

Assisted living services are available at Maggie’s House, and the community is blessed to have several senior living complexes that cater to those who still live independently. And when skilled nursing care is indicated, Westwing Place is among the best in the country. My grandmother was a resident there for 22 years — until the ripe old age of 103 — a milestone I attribute to the wonderful care she received.

Yes, quality health care is abundant in DeWitt. I cannot imagine raising a family in a town without a hospital or other medical services that are not only convenient and easily accessible but also top-notch.

In the scheme of what really is important, amenities such as  an aquatic park, a country club, a fitness center, and biking and walking trails go hand-in-hand with with medical providers to assure DeWitt Delivers health and wellness!

Mary Rueter – DeWitt Resident

Active Dad = Confident Leader

Eleven years ago, I was living in Detroit with my wife and my newborn son, Sam.  My job kept me traveling internationally most of the time.  We decided to move back home to DeWitt about 18 months later.  My new position would allow me to be home and spend time with my family.  Due to the fact that I missed a lot of Sam’s first year of life, I decided that no matter the activity he wanted to participate in, I would be involved.  I really wanted to be a dad who took an active part in their child’s life.

My first volunteering opportunity came in the form of coaching youth sports through the DeWitt Parks and Recreation Department.   I learned early in my volunteering that all these activities took dedicated people to make these programs successful.  I wanted them to be successful so that my kids and other kids could enjoy and learn from these programs.  I realized that I would have to put in a few more hours to help.  This was especially true with the Cub Scouts.  I was not a Cub Scout growing up but Sam wanted to participate.  This drove me to learn about the organization and try to make it the best program for the scouts in town.

Another reason I have volunteered is that it has helped me to grow.  I am not naturally a social person.  I am not comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people.  Two opportunities presented themselves to help me feel more relaxed and open to public speaking.  I took a chance and volunteered to teach Junior Achievement.  It may not seem intimidating to teach kids, but any teacher will tell you that it is a lot harder than it seems.  It has helped me to be more confident in speaking in front of people.  I also became an ambassador for the DCDC.  This forced me out of my comfort zone by having to meet new people and be a face of the community.

I realized through my volunteering that I didn’t just want the programs for the kids to be successful; I wanted to help make the DeWitt community better.  I love living in DeWitt.  I love raising my family here.  I want other people to want to live in DeWitt.   These are some of the reasons I jumped at the opportunity to serve on the United Way and DeWitt Hospital Foundation boards.  Taking a few hours each month to volunteer with these organizations can make our community a better place to live.

So why volunteer and how would I have enough time to do all these things?  The thing is you don’t need to volunteer for everything.  If more people volunteer, so much more can be accomplished with little time commitment.  Plus, there are so many positives to volunteering: having fun and building relationships with the people you are working with and helping out; refreshing your spirit and mind; the knowledge that what you are doing is benefiting others.  I have personally gone to a practice or a meeting feeling stressed out, but after spending an hour or so with kids having fun, I have come back feeling like a new person.  Of course the biggest reason to volunteer is to help others; no one can do everything on their own.  It takes a committed group of volunteers to make a great community like we have in DeWitt.

Adam Gravert                                                                                                                                                   DeWitt Resident & Volunteer


Seize the Day and Volunteer

Volunteerism is the backbone of  DeWitt’s successful community. Looking around the community, I see the Operahouse, beautiful churches, the hospital, the school, and the warm
welcoming downtown. Most of this was accomplished through the time and efforts of DeWitt’s volunteer community.

I feel lucky to be a part of this community. For me, it started in the late 70’s when Al Tubbs asked me to assist in the reconstruction of the Operahouse (DART).  I felt such pride as the doors opened and the first movie was shown.  It was a wonderful, fulfilling experience.  I guess that was what wet my whistle for volunteering. Since that time I have watched many organization grow, the Hospital Foundation in 1999, the Central Community Educational Foundation in 1993, the LincolnWay Foundation in 2005 (former DeWitt Area Foundation in 1987), the STAR Project for Central Schools in 2006, and now working with Friends of Frances for the Frances Banta Waggoner Library expansion. What a pleasure it is to say I have had a part in these projects.  I pattysmile every time I walk through the doors at one of these great facilities; I even smile when I drive past them!

Pride in the community that I have grown -up in and have lived in most of my life has encouraged me in my volunteering.  I wish everyone would have the opportunity to grow -up in a healthy, safe, active community such as ours; enjoying the amenities so many volunteers have afforded this community. It is so easy for me to say ”DeWitt Delivers”!

Seize the Day!                                                                                                                                                     Patty Henricksen – DeWitt Volunteer and Resident


Photo Credit: DeWitt Observer

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!

Get Lost in DeWitt…

P1120961webA clear, brisk night and Lincoln Park is donned with pumpkins, hay bales, and all things autumn.  You can grab a sweet or savory crepe, barbeque pork chop, or pulled pork sandwich while listening to the band Soul Storm playing in the band shell.  My daughter and all her friends dash for the bounce houses, games, pedal tractor pull, or the “green park” where they run into their school friends and convene their playtime and socializing.  The first weekend in October was Autumn Fest in DeWitt and because autumn is the “most wonderful time of the year” for me, I was glad it had been rescheduled from the cold and rainy date weeks earlier.  The yearly event is just one of the many ways to “get lost” in the happiness of the community and the laughter with friends and family.

October in DeWitt is also a perfect time to get out and enjoy the colors.  If you’re an outdoor person, I know you can appreciate DeWitt as much as I do.  From Springbrook Country Club to Westbrook and Lincoln Park, to all the little streets in between…the trees are just beginning their transformations !

In wanting to find the perfect tree for this post I pulled into Westbrook early one morning planning to jump out and take a quick photo of a tree near the beginning of the Paul Skeffington Trail.  It was beautiful…but wait, what’s that around the corner?  And over the bridge, and down the trail…I found myself walking the entire length of Westbrook taking pictures around every turn.  It was dewy and foggy but the sun was just beginning to shine through in hidden spots.  I hadn’t grabbed my phone or car keys, all I had were my walking shoes and camera and it was glorious.  Of course I met familiar facesP1120907web along the way, as this is DeWitt, and most greeted me with a friendly “Whatcha up to?” in seeing the camera on my shoulder, and then in turn, discussing what a gorgeous morning it was.  And that, my friends, is what I love about DeWitt.  By the time I got back to my car I had missed two calls from work and had forgotten about a repairman that was on his way to the house to fix our garage door.  But I was happy I had gotten “lost in DeWitt” for just an hour.  I hope you’ll notice the autumn beauty on your way to work, school or maybe on your morning run or evening walk.  Here was my favorite photo from my Westbrook morning!

Lisa LeConte, DeWitt Resident and Mother


10 Reasons Why Manufacturing Rocks in DeWitt!


  1. Easy to “see” products. Items in your home contain products made right here in DeWitt. Your house foundation of crushed limestone, sand and gravel is produced by Wendling Quarries. Blow-molded pieces of your dishwasher are manufactured at Custom-Pak. Windows in your kitchen have Guardian Industries’ glass. Your 8-person luxury spa is manufactured and designed by QCA Spas.
  2. World-wide Impact. ITW-Fluids North America sends $30,000,000 of product out each year, frequenting Mexico, China and Japan. QCA Spas ship hot tub spas to Europe, Panama and Thailand. Expander Americas routinely ships to companies in Chile, Columbia and South Africa. Ennis Business Forms consistently ships orders to Panama. ITW-Magnaflux ship all over the world (except to banned countries).
  3. Giants of Vitality. Think jobs and a healthy local economy. Nearly 1,000 people work at a manufacturing plant in DeWitt. These employees buy goods and services, rent or buy homes, and enjoy recreational amenities right here in town. That puts hard-working dollars back into the community. The industrial and commercial property taxes that come from these companies help to fund city services such as police and fire departments, library, community center, trail systems – as well as infrastructure and street projects.
  4. Local loyalty. One of the top reasons manufacturers come to DeWitt is the loyalty of the local labor workforce. At Ennis Business Forms, the longest-standing manufacturer in DeWitt for nearly 50 years, employees have an average tenure of 27 years. Even after retirement, employees return as needed to fill in during demanding times.
  5. The Glass is half-full. Guardian Industries, DeWitt’s largest company, employees over 350 employees. The DeWitt plant produces enough float glass to make a 10 foot wide ribbon from DeWitt to Grand Mound and back, each day. That glass can be seen in the Nebraska Corn Huskers Memorial Stadium, Green Bay Packer’s Lambeau Field, and the MGM Grand in Vegas, just to name a few.
  6. Eco-friendly. Irwin, Inc. started with a guy who saw waste and found a niche in remanufacturing used wood pallets. Old pallets are repaired with new wood and nails. The old nails are melted down and recycled and the worn out wood panels are repurposed for mulch or for use in the wood burner stove heating the shop. Irwin, Inc. prides themselves on minimizing waste and cutting energy costs. To understand the scope of their salvaging efforts, on average, one person repairs 3,200 broken pallets/week. (One worker broke the company record in 2015, repairing 908 pallets in one day.)
  7. Diversity in products. At ITW-Fluids North America, from their 5 product brands, they can make over 1,000 different products. QCA Spas makes 30 different versions from their 6 spa series. At Ennis Business Forms, they make thousands of different products from their 5 different printing processes. Expander Americas can make over 60,000 designs from their one patented pivot pin. Black Cat Blades manufactures 21,000 part numbers associated with one line of road maintenance vehicles. The scope and variety of products manufactured in DeWitt are relatively limitless.
  8. Innovation. At Custom-Pak, they not only make unique blow-molded products, they are the leader in advanced blow-molding technology, which means they program and custom-build their own equipment. They also make the packaging for shipping. And being conscience of waste, any unused material gets recycled to manufacture additional products at another facility.
  9. Measures of growth. One reason Expander Americas relocated to DeWitt in 2014, was to have more access to raw material, which increased their capability by 50% and urged them to purchase additional equipment and hire more job positions. 6 months ago, QCA Spas moved their Thera Suana production to the DeWitt facility, permitting more room to expand. In September of this year, Irwin, Inc. acquired a custom pallet company which uses new wood, built to custom design. Less than a year ago, Black Cat Blades added blade production to their facility, manufacturing 21,000 different parts associated with just one line dedicated to road maintenance vehicles.
  10. Something for everyone. Operators, engineers, programmers, assemblers, technicians, mechanics, drafters, machinists, welders, managers, planners, accountants and secretaries encompass a fraction of the variety of jobs found at manufacturing companies in DeWitt.


DeWitt Delivers!

With its hometown values and progressive vision, DeWitt welcomes everyone, whether they are new to the community or well-known and deep-rooted in its history. Enterprising traditions and a unique heritage were just the start of this bustling town established almost 180 years ago.

Since then, DeWitt has welcomed thousands of families who have taken pride in the community and contributed to its vigorous growth. DeWitt is home to many who work in the metropolitan area, yet offers so much more that it could never be called a mere bedroom community. DeWitt is vibrant and thriving and home to more than 5,300 people who choose to live, work and play here. Community festivals, expansive recreational activities, prosperous industries, and a wide variety of local shops and restaurants provide opportunities for all ages.

DeWitt ranks 14th out of the best Iowa communities to live in, according to the 2015
Niche Rankings. At the DeWitt Chamber & Development Company (DCDC), we tend to agree. We want to spread the good news about DeWitt to those who already live here and to those who may choose to make it their home. Now is the time to celebrate all that DeWitt Delivers:

As you discover DeWitt, be encouraged to get involved, meet new people, and celebrate all that DeWitt offers. Take pride in what DeWitt Delivers!