Bauman and Company, a 112-year-old clothing store in Mount Vernon, topped four competitors in a pitch contest held in Iowa City on Monday evening, Monday, August 2. Five businesses from Main Street Iowa communities across the state competed in the final round of the Open 4 Business contest, which began in April with 17 applicants.
“These small business owners have dared to dream big at a challenging time, and that is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and strength of small businesses and Main Street communities across Iowa,” said Debi Durham, executive director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Iowa Finance Authority.
Bauman and Company owners Olivia and Josh Randall will receive a $20,000 grant, which they plan to use to convert the store’s basement into a full shoe department, step up marketing efforts, and work with local chiropractors and physical therapists to help fit people with shoes.
Runner-up Avoca Flower Shop will receive a $10,000 grant and third-place winner Grill Works in Marion will receive a $5,000 grant. All three businesses are located within a designated Main Street district. Each semi-finalist winner also was awarded $8,000.