Story1Uptown Snug opens in historic Marion building

Uptown Snug, located at 770 11th St. in Marion. Courtesy Uptown Marion 
Marion's newest Irish pub, Uptown Snug, has opened its doors on the first floor of Memorial Hall, one of the city's historic Uptown District buildings.

Jeanne and Paul Matthews purchased the building in 2013 in a state of disrepair. The couple has backgrounds in realty and general contracting and have worked for the past three years to build and renovate the building, adding an Irish theme to the pub space.

Memorial Hall was originally constructed in 1900 with funds raised by the Women's Relief Corps. The first floor contained a dry goods store and a horse livery, and the second floor served as a meeting hall for Civil War veterans.

"Marion was founded along the rail road, and the Irish were the everyday workers in the area," said Ms. Matthews. "This pub is a way to honor the heritage of the town and the people who built it."

The new pub features 12 beers on tap, wine and cocktails. A patio off the back overlooks the ImaginArt in the Alleys project which is expected to be completed later this year.

There will be a ribbon cutting and grand opening tomorrow, June 24 from 4-6 p.m. at 770 11th St., Marion.
Story2Minimum wage increase recommended for Linn County
Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett speaking during the 2015 State of the City address 
Linn County could have a decision on a study committee's recommendation to create a new county minimum wage of $8.25 an hour before fall.

The study committee recommended the minimum wage be set $1 above the current federal and state minimum wage of $7.25 on a strong majority vote at its meeting on June 21.

Linn County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ben Rogers, who also chaired the committee, said the matter of setting a schedule for public input and a decision on the recommendation will be considered at the board's June 27 meeting. He would like to see that happen before September, so that businesses can prepare their budgets for next year accordingly.

With no change in the state minimum wage since 2008, members of the Linn County Minimum Wage Study Group want Linn County to follow Johnson County's example by enacting a local minimum wage ordinance.

"Our group has repeatedly heard from individuals and business owners that the state should take up this issue," Mr. Rogers said in an email explaining the vote. "Our study group agreed with that sentiment, but were unwilling to wait for the state to take action."

Johnson County became the first in the state to adopt a local minimum wage ordinance. The ordinance took effect April 30, 2015, raising the minimum wage to $8.20 on Nov. 1, 2015, $9.15 on May 1, 2016, and $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2017.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett has been among those urging Gov. Terry Branstad and the Iowa General Assembly to raise the state's minimum wage. He repeated after voting with the committee to recommend the $8.25 Linn County rate that unless the state takes action, Polk and other metropolitan counties in the state are likely to adopt their own minimum wage ordinances.

The proposal appeared to avoid a phased approach to more than $10 per hour that some committee members supported. Mr. Corbett said he views the issue from the perspective of a former business owner, and his concern is greatest for independent businesses who can't spread the local wage increase in one area over multiple locations.

"My position is to ... not place an undue burden on the business community by too aggressively raising the minimum wage," Mr. Corbett said. "Also, we set it at a point where they [local governments] would probably go along with it. Above $8.25, I would have encouraged the city council to opt out."

Read the full story at
Story4Dunkin' Donuts coming to Marion in August

The new Dunkin' Donuts building on Seventh Avenue in Marion, shown on a recent morning. 
Eastern Iowa Food Service Inc. is targeting a late August opening for its first Dunkin' Donuts location in Marion.

The 2,000-square-foot restaurant at 584 Seventh Ave., Marion, will feature a drive-through and interior seating options, according to Andrea Farley, head of operations for Eastern Iowa Food Service.

Dunkin' Donuts announced a multi-store development agreement with Eastern Iowa Food Service in 2011 for 12 restaurants in the Cedar Rapids metro between 2012 and 2018.

While staying true to its donut roots, the Massachusetts-based restaurant chain now offers frozen and iced beverage, bagels, muffins, bakery sandwiches and other food selections.

Eastern Iowa Food Service is a subsidiary of Reif Oil Co., a family-owned company based in Burlington.
EcoLipsVortex Business Solutions selects DVIP for website project
The Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) has been awarded the 2016 Free Web Design Seva Project by Vortex Business Solutions, an Iowa City-based web design and marketing firm.
The firm will task its employees with designing, developing and implementing a free, fully responsible website for the nonprofit, at a value of up to $7,000.
"This partnership will not only enhance the look of our website but will help us serve a key tenant of our mission-collaboration with the community," said DVIP Executive Director Kristie Fortmann-Doser. "We thank Vortex for selecting DVIP to help enhance our reach and exposure through our website presence and social engagement."
DVIP provides comprehensive support and advocacy services to victims and survivors, focusing on immediate and long term safety, empowerment, dignity and hope. Based in Iowa City, DVIP serves clients in Johnson, Cedar, Des Moines, Henry, Iowa, Lee, Van Buren and Washington counties.
Last year's Vortex Seva Project winner was Iowa City's Table to Table, a food rescue organization that helps people in Johnson County by distributing over 1 million pounds of food a year to area agencies.
TelepharmTelePharm takes title of Corridor's coolest small company
TelePharm continues to break into new markets with the help of a focused business plan and target audience. Yet its growth has also demanded special attention to its employees - efforts which earned the cyber-pharmacy the title as one of the Corridor Business Journal's Coolest Places to Work.

The company was founded in 2012 by Roby Miller, whose parents operated pharmacies in several small communities in Iowa before declining sales forced them to close years prior. Mr. Miller pursued the idea of remote pharmacy services, where patients can consult with a certified pharmacist over the internet. After a prescription is approved by a pharmacist and discussed with the patient, the order is then filled by an on-site technician.

TelePharm now operates in close to a dozen states, including Wisconsin, North Dakota and New Mexico, where the company began operations this month.

Courtney Henecke is the operations manager at TelePharm, where she started working in 2014. She said she was drawn to the online-based company because of its potential to grow.

"I think I can speak for all of our employees when I say that the experience you have at TelePharm is completely different than the experience you'd have at another company, because you really have a daily opportunity to drive the business," she said.

Due to the company's evolving demands, whether technological or policy-oriented, employees frequently shift from one project to another, with little or no time to revel in successes. That put the onus on the company's leaders to develop a better way to "come together and celebrate those accomplishments," she said.

One response is TelePharm Time, which the company holds once a month on Friday afternoons. Rather than treating employees to a paid lunch or a special outing, employees take time to reflect on the company's best successes from the previous weeks.

"We really try to recognize all of the progress we make," Ms. Henecke said.

Read the full story, and about 2016's other Coolest Places to Work winners, at
ConsultingConsulting: Great managers ask great questions
In this week's consulting spotlight, CBJ columnist Gale Mote explains how to harness the power of a well-phrased question when managing your team:
I am often asked, "What are the most important skills managers need to be most effective in leading others?" Is it delivering clear expectations, showing appreciation or providing meaningful performance feedback?

While I would support all of the above, an often-overlooked skill is the ability to ask questions. Knowing the right question to ask at the right time has the potential to build trust, resolve conflicts, gain commitment for decisions, solve problems, create accountability and strengthen relationships. As Albert Einstein said, "If I had one hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask."

Before we get too far, though, it's important to discuss what kinds of questions to skip. Tony Stoltzfus, author of "Coaching Questions," recommends avoiding closed and solution-oriented questions. Examples of those include, "Do you have any other options?" or "Could you give her the benefit of the doubt on this one?"

Leading questions are a way to subtly transfer our own thoughts and opinions to someone else. Consider: "It seems like you have invested so much of yourself in this organization. Do you really want to quit now?" or "Would it not make more sense to go directly to the person with whom you have the conflict?" It's interesting that most leading questions are also closed-ended. They tell the person you're speaking with that you're looking for agreement, not their opinion.

Conversations require dialogue, not monologue. Closed-ended questions solicit simple, short responses without the benefit of exploring a person's feelings, insights and experience. Asking the right question helps the other person create and own their own solution.
Read the full column at 
aroundtheweb From around the web: 
  • compiles 12 low-cost business ideas for introverts.
  • The UPS X-Port Challenge is offering small businesses in Iowa a chance to win up to $25,000 in services, the Wichita Eagle reports.
  • Here's what millennials really want in an office, according to Fox Business.
  • Small Business Trends offers up seven "offbeat" growth strategies for small businesses.
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Short-Term Event Planner
June 23 
Business PM - Selzer Werderitsch Associates, by the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Selzer Werderitsch Associates,2222 Heinz Road, Iowa City. Join fellow chamber members for networking, appetizers and hors d'oeuvres and more. Free for chamber members. For more information, call (319) 337-9637.
June 24
Ribbon Cutting - Uptown Snug, by the Marion Chamber of Commerce, 4 p.m., Uptown Snug, 770 11th St., Marion. Join Chamber Ambassadors to help celebrate the grand opening of Uptown Snug in historic Memorial Hall. For more information, call (319) 377-6316.

June 25
Evergreen Estates III Open House, by Evergreen Estates, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Evergreen Estates III, 2204 Johnson Ave. NW, Cedar Rapids. Join Evergreen Estates' open house for a tour of its three residential care facilities. The event will include food, a gift card raffle and a car show. Free. Contact Katie Giorgio at (319) 210-1959 or for more information.
Headlines from CBS 2/FOX 28 
These news items are provided by CBS 2/FOX 28
A Cedar Rapids man is in jail accused of sexual assault. At around 3:30 a.m. Thursday, the Fayette County Sheriff's Office received a report of a sexual assault that happened in Elgin. The ensuing investigation revealed that a 45-year-old woman was at her home when 49-year-old Devin Cummings of Cedar Rapids allegedly sexually assaulted her. The victim was taken to Palmer Hospital in West Union for treatment. She was also put in contact with victim services. Mr. Cummings is being held in the Fayette County Jail on a charge of third-degree sexual abuse. Authorities say more charges could be filed as they investigate the case further.
T hese news items are provided by CBS 2/FOX 28 
CBS 2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast
Today's forecast brings us a few clouds with temperatures climbing into the low 80s. It will be more comfortable and less humid tomorrow as well, with sunny skies and highs in the mid to lower 80s. Another cold front will be moving through late Saturday, which will lead to just a few scattered showers and thunderstorms.