Each dollar you spend locally returns an average of 3X more to our community than buying elsewhere. Buy Here features 5 local businesses that represent what makes our local economy and adds value for local consumers.
Almost Famous Popcorn
Having won state-wide awards and been recognized as one of the top five popcorn shops in the United States by travel authority Orbitz, Almost Famous Popcorn is on its way to becoming a landmark local business.
The company was originally founded in the NewBo City Market in the Czech Village/New Bohemia District in Cedar Rapids to teach the owners’ children about running a small business. “Hatching” from the market incubator, Almost Famous Popcorn took root in its own historic storefront with the mission to delight customers with an intimate level of personal service and the finest products possible. Success to the company means personal and professional growth of its employees, job creation, spending locally and tirelessly promoting the Cedar Rapids community. Almost Famous Popcorn is available at their store and throughout the region at local retailers like Hy-Vee, Casey’s General Stores and Fareway.
Amish Connection is a custom hardwood furniture store providing heirloom quality furniture. The company brings together furniture buyers and Amish builders to design pieces in the style, size, wood, stain and functions that work best for the customer’s home or business and lifestyle. Although Amish Connection has been in business for over 20 years and had various locations in the region, President & Owner Christa Thompson has led the business for the last three years.
Customization is key at Amish Connection. The business works with an Amish builder that has catalogs full of items that can be customized, and customers can even provide photos of items they are seeking. If Amish Connection doesn’t have a similar item on hand, the business will have builders create it from scratch.
Amish Connection specializes in solid wood furniture that can be used for generations. If the piece gets damaged or the stain color no longer works with the design of a room, the piece can be refinished. Other types of furniture cannot be altered in the same way, ultimately leading to wasted furniture.
Kepros Physical Therapy
Kepros Physical Therapy opened its doors in 2014 with the primary services of physical therapy and injury prevention as well as athletic performance training. With three locations serving Cedar Rapids, Marion, North Liberty and the surrounding areas, Kepros has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years.
By looking at patients comprehensively, treatment plans address the individual as a whole, aiming to identify how they can become stronger and better by the time they are done with physical therapy. By providing services that no other physical therapy businesses in the area offer, like Annual Physical Therapy exams, Kepros promotes a proactive approach to improving and maintaining physical wellness. When a patient “graduates” from physical therapy, they’re reminded that the door is always open for a lifetime of quality care, including the option for the Next Step program focusing on strengthening emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual well-being for future retirees.
Kepros is proudly dedicated to research in collaboration with the University of Iowa and an increased impact on health and well-being of the community through its patients. The company supports its staff, patients and nonprofit organizations in the area through outreach supporting youth in the community like National Council on Youth Leadership, Four Oaks, and others focusing on building a better future. Kepros strives to maintain a reputation of excellence based on word-of-mouth referrals.
New Pioneer Food Co-Op
New Pioneer Co-op is a locally owned food cooperative that supplies local, organic and natural groceries. New Pioneer sources from over 120 local and regional growers, producers and suppliers to offer fresh, sustainable and quality food, creating a marketplace for local farmers and producers to sell their products in one place. Priority is given to vendors within 250 miles of the store and determined by shoppers’ demand, which all benefits our local food economy, shoppers and the environment.
Established almost 50 years ago, New Pioneer Co-op has been a staple in Iowa City-Cedar Rapids (ICR) since 1971 and expanded to its Center Point Road location in Cedar Rapids five years ago. Currently, New Pioneer Co-op is the only food co-op in ICR. With their unique model, running as a shopper-owned democracy, all are welcome to shop, whether you’re a member or not. In addition to groceries, New Pioneer offers freshly made bread, deli items, a hot bar and salad bar at all three of its locations. New Pioneer uses organic and local ingredients as much as possible in its fresh made goods and have some of the best chefs in the area to run its kitchens and delis.
Shop Where I Live
Shop Where I Live, "Where Main Street Meets the Internet," is an online marketplace designed specifically for local businesses. Shop Where I Live's goal is to help communities shop online from local businesses first, before spending their dollars online from outside of the community. A local marketplace website allows local businesses to market as a group, leveraging the efficiency of selling their products, services, events tickets, and custom work in one place; which in turn, makes it easy for customers to shop, find, and buy local online.
In 2016, Shop Where I Live co-founder, Cherie Edilson, was selling handmade products at the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers' Market, at craft fairs, and selling online through her website and Amazon.com. Her husband, Robert, was a website developer creating websites for local area businesses and working as a Marketing Director. The inspiration for Shop Where I Live was born from poor customer attendance at a craft fair where Cherie was vending. She realized the opportunity for these vendors to sell their products easily online was another means of income for them. With Robert's web development skills and Cherie's understanding of vendor challenges, they created a marketplace that serves both business and consumer needs, while showcasing Cedar Rapids' area businesses online together through one platform.