Founders of Epiphany, a full-range marketing company that opened Jan. 2 in Marion, credit a list of local female entrepreneurs and business leaders for inspiring them to strike out on their own.
"Marketing is our passion. We love helping companies and nonprofits achieve success." said Anna Patty, who co-founded Epiphany with partner Christa Nelson. "As entrepreneurs and women business owners, we are excited to follow in the footsteps of the pioneering women who have paved the way for us."
Ms. Patty and Ms. Nelson cited entrepreneurs like Nancy Garberson and Maureen Kler Osako as well as local business leaders like Tiffany O'Donnell and Liz Mathis for inspiring the new firm aimed at helping local organizations grow their marketing reach. Epiphany will provide a full-range of marketing services, including strategic planning and fundraising, brand identity, digital marketing and web design, social media and media relations.
"Our mission is to be the creative spark companies and organizations need to help achieve their goals." Ms. Nelson said in a release. "Everyone deserves a unique, comprehensive approach to their marketing efforts that ensures that every penny spent has a purpose."

The Epiphany team brings a combined 30 years of experience in the marketing field. Ms. Nelson holds an MBA, is an adjunct professor at the University of Dubuque and has many years of marketing experience in marketing. Ms. Patty has several years experience in the marketing field and a deep understanding of the nonprofit world, including fundraising, marketing, writing, development, digital marketing and public relations.

Epiphany's launch coincides with the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings' Day, on Jan. 6.
Para2Small business employment spikes in December

Small businesses hiring jumped sharply in December with about 94,000 new jobs added last month, according to a just-released report from payroll provider ADP and Moody's Analytics.  

December's numbers nearly doubled November's total of 53,000 jobs and far outpaced the average of 61,000 small business jobs added monthly over the whole of 2017. ADP classifies small businesses as those with 49 workers or fewer.  
Many of the new December jobs were in the service sector, which traditionally sees a holiday bump, although just 41,000 new small business jobs were added in December 2016.  
ADP reported 250,000 new jobs overall from its business customers of all sizes. The report helped send the Dow over the 25,000 mark for the first time, CNBC reported. 
"The job market ended the year strongly," Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi said in a statement. "Robust Christmas sales prompted retailers and delivery services to add to their payrolls. The tight labor market will get even tighter, raising the specter that it will overheat." 
Para3New CR eatery to feature 'Windy City-inspired' beef sandwiches
Gianna's Italian Beef, a Chicago-inspired "fast casual restaurant" will open this spring in the former Iowa-Illinois Gas & Electric building at 323 Third St. SE in downtown Cedar Rapids. 

Featuring specialties including the classic Italian Beef sandwich, the Italian Beef combo and the Chicago Hot Dog, the restaurant takes its name from the late Gianna Hadjis, daughter of Adam Hadjis, who founded the business.

Mr. Hadjis said he is is "passionate about people, community, and amazing food." 

The restaurant is slated to open in late February or early March, according to a Facebook page charting Gianna's construction progress.
pitchThis week's CBJ: The year ahead for retailers, entrepreneurs
In early December, we asked a handful of Corridor business leaders from varĀ­ious sectors for the trends and developments they would be watching in 2018, in hopes of getting a fuller picture of the business year to come. Their answers seem to point to a year of growth for most in the Corridor, including a banner year for both retail and entrepreneurship.   
Here's a sampling of the responses:
Retail: Gaining strength thanks to critical mass
By Deanna Trumbull, President, Trumbull Consulting, and Director of Leasing, Iowa River Landing
Retail in the Corridor remains strong and we continue to see new retail, restaurant and entertainment concepts opening in the area. Site access, visibility and co-tenancy continue to be important to most retailers. Creating a massing of retailers who share similar target markets is a critical component to retail success. Although the Internet has become a strong shopping option for some, most retailers still see the importance of a multi-channel approach to maximizing their sales potential, which includes brick and mortar retail along with a strong online presence. Experiential retail, creating an entertaining or "only in the store" experience, continues to be important to brick and mortar retail success. As new commercial retail space is developed, the Corridor continues to be an even stronger retail destination in the region with pockets of retail adding opportunities for local, regional and national tenants
Entrepreneurship: Another record year in the offing 
By Curt Nelson, President and CEO, EDC Inc.
As the Iowa Entrepreneurial and Small Business Center (EDC)
heads into 2018, we will complete our 15 th year of providing hands-on support to Iowa 's entrepreneurs - nearly 1,000 in that time. Some came with ideas that are now viable businesses and some with smaller businesses that are now much
larger - all contributing to a growing, diversified economy. The growth of entrepreneurial activity has steadily increased to a record 119 entrepreneurs assisted in 2017. This vigorous entrepreneurial activity requires hands-on assistance at critical times over the entrepreneur' s journey to improve their
odds of success. With the experience gained to date, EDC is increa singly able to provide timely support in an efficient manner. Based on this u pward demand for our services, we anticipate that 2018 will be another record year of engagement for EDC.
Read the full feature in this week's print and digital editions of the CBJ. 
Para5Consulting: Optimizing your Google business listing

In this week's consulting spotlight, Sherry Bonelli of early bird digital marketing illustrates how to use the power of Google My Business to connect with customers:
Four out of five consumers use the internet to find local businesses. Are potential customers finding your business online? One way to increase your chances of being found is to claim and verify your Google My Business (GMB) listing.

Google offers every business that meets its criteria a free listing showing the company's name, physical address, phone number, business hours and other information. Having a GMB listing helps potential customers find your business on Google, and can increase the odds of your business showing up in the coveted "local three-pack" that appears below the ads and above the organic search results when you search for local businesses on the search engine.
If you haven't claimed your company's GMB listing yet, visit to start the process. If you have, you're in great shape to start optimizing your listing.
One of the newer features that Google has added to local business arsenals is the ability to create a "post." A GMB post is just what it sounds like - a mini ad that shows up on your GMB listing when people search for your business on Google It's a great way to show off a special offer, promote a new product or service or give details about an upcoming event.
A post stays online for seven days, or until after the event date. Use posts to entice potential visitors to take action - like visiting your site, going to a landing page or signing up for a workshop you're offering.
Read the full column at
aroundtheweb From around the web: 
Resolve to start the year right

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See something we missed? Send tips, leads, corrections, etc. to [email protected].
Stocks Corridor Stocks
AEGON AEG 6.41 0.07 1.10%
Alliant Energy LNT 41.25 -0.49 -1.17%
Deere & Company DE 159.64 0.91 0.57%
Dow Jones DJI 25,075.13 152.45 0.61%
General Mills GIS 59.41 0.68 1.16%
GoDaddy Inc. GDDY 50.55 0.54 1.08%
Great Western Bank GWB 40.09 0.30 0.75%
Heartland Express HTLD 23.31 -0.24 -1.02%
KemPharm KMPH 4.90 0.40 8.89%
Marsh & McLennan MMC 82.30 0.85 1.04%
MidWestOne MOFG 33.25 0.03 0.09%
Pearson PSO 9.90 0.02 0.20%
Pepsico PEP 118.33 0.58 0.49%
Principal Financial PFG 71.45 0.92 1.30%
QCR Holdings QCRH 42.80 -0.25 -0.58%
Rockwell Collins COL 136.43 -0.12 -0.09%
S&P 500 GSPC 2,723.99 10.93 0.40%
Tanger Factory SKT 25.63 -0.60 -2.29%
Procter & Gamble PG 91.18 0.64 0.71%
United Fire Group UFCS 44.5 0.02 0.04%
U.S. Bank USB 54.98 0.42 0.77%
Wells Fargo WFC 62.33 0.77 1.25%
West Bank WTBA 24.80 -0.05 -0.20%
Whirlpool WHR 168.82 -0.02 -0.01%
Short-Term Event Planner     
Jan. 5
First Friday Coffee Connections, by Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, 7:30-8:30 a.m., Iowa Donor Network, 550 Madison Ave., North Liberty. Enjoy an hour of energetic networking
before heading to work. Will be held the first Friday of each month at a member business. Free. For more information, visit
Jan. 9
TechBrew AM, by Technology Association of Iowa and ICAD Group, 8-9 a.m., MERGE, 136 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City. TAI President Brian Waller will conduct a casual interview with a CIO who will share their favorite music, discuss their career path, and share what's most important for Iowa's technology community moving forward. Free. To register, visit
Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28 
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28
The Cedar Rapids Police Department is investigating a bank robbery that happened Wednesday morning. CRPD was called to the U.S. Bank at 129 16th Ave. SW at 11:47 a.m. for the reported robbery. Police say the suspect is a 6 foot tall black man who was wearing a gray hoodie. Police say he did not display a weapon when he demanded cash. No one was hurt. Officers are investigating whether he left the area on foot or in a vehicle. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Cedar Rapids Police Department at (319) 286-5491.
A new law to cut waste in Johnson County is now in effect requiring all residents or businesses throwing away trash to keep cardboard boxes out of the mix. Leaders hope the change will cut down on waste that what winds up in the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center. Now residents or garbage trucks throwing away trash at the landfill cannot have visible cardboard inside each load, or they may be fined. "That load will be charged double the regular tipping fee," said Jane Wilch, who is the City of Iowa City Recycling Coordinator. Homeowners signed up with the city to have curbside trash and recycling pick-up will not be fined, but if they choose not to recycle their cardboard, they might not have their trash collected. 
T hese news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
CBS2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast

There will be some clouds that move in, mainly near and west of I-380 late today. That is also where a few light snow showers or flurries will be possible. The cold continues to end the week with high temperatures in the single digits and lows below zero through Saturday. A warm up is coming for the second half of the weekend as our next winter storm arrives in the Midwest.