Big Grove Brewery and the Domestic Violence Intervention Program have brewed up a new beer dubbed Equalitea Party. CREDIT BIG GROVE
Big Grove Brewery is debuting a new beer, Equalitea Party, in celebration of International Women's Day on March 8,   the centennial celebration of women's suffrage,and Domestic Violence Intervention Program's 40th anniversary.
Crafted in partnership with the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP), Equalitea Party is a Berliner Weisse-style kettle sour beer brewed with honey, white tea and lemon peel to create a refreshing flavor and gentle, sour finish.

To produce the beer, Big Grove staff members and DVIP representatives shared in a collaborative brew day in Big Grove's Solon brewery on Jan. 29. 
" Sharing our space with Ashlee and Alta from DVIP was a meaningful and educational experience for all parties involved," said Big Grove Brewery's Lead Designer and Marketing Coordinator Katie Kiesewetter, who led the project. "Lincoln, our lead brewer in Solon, taught us all a new skill in the brewhouse, and we were all able to discuss the work we do at Big Grove while learning about DVIP's mission in a more intimate setting."
For each glass of Equalitea Party sold in Big Grove's Iowa City Taproom and Solon Brewpub, $1 will be donated to DVIP. Additionally, each retail sale of a four-pack of the beer will also generate a $1 donation supporting DVIP efforts to provide comprehensive support and advocacy services to domestic violence victims/survivors across Johnson, Iowa, Cedar, Des Moines, Henry, Lee, Van Buren, and Washington counties. 
"Community partnerships are vital to our organization," said Alta Madea-Peters, the DVIP's director of community engagement. "The number-one way that victims and survivors find out about our services is through word-of-mouth. A partnership with Big Grove does amazing things. The massive appeal that Big Grove has to our communities that we serve is huge because that means even more people are hearing about DVIP and changing lives for their neighbors."
This brew will be available for the first time beginning March 6 in the Big Grove Iowa City Taproom and Big Grove Solon Brewpub. 
Para2In the CBJ: Urban farming startup savors the salad days 
Urban Greens' hydroponic crops, which go from seed to harvest in about 16 days, include bok choy, several kale varieties, broccoli, cabbage, arugula, mizuna and garnet mustard, and Red Rainbow and China Rose radishes. PHOTO KATHARINE CARLON
They may not have an acreage, and their "farm" is located in the basement of a house near downtown Iowa City, but the team behind Urban Greens believe their underground hydroponics operation is poised to ride the wave of a more sustainable, eat-local future.

T hey also have ambitious plans - including bringing their nutrient-packed microgreens to a wider customer base by transforming vacant big-box retail space into large-scale urban farms.

"Urban farming is something that is really taking root in larger metropolitan areas where there's more people, more abandoned buildings, and it's more expensive to get food," said Chad Treloar, who launched Urban Greens with partner Ted Myers in the spring of 2017. "We decided to do it in this area because we both grew up here in Iowa. We wanted to learn the business, grow it and then expand outward into our community."

U rban Greens began life with just a few plants grown under LED lights in soil, in the coal room of a 115-year-old house at 1135 E. College St. Today, the operation occupies the entire (renovated) lower level, supplies a growing number of grocery stores and restaurants, and is looking to aggressively expand its network of growers.

Already, a team of new urban farmers at satellite locations elsewhere in Iowa City and Solon are producing red Russian kale, Red Acre cabbage, bok choy and arugula, among other leafy greens, using just nutrients and water.

"What we've been working toward, after deciding that the hydroponic route seemed pretty ideal for the structure of our company, is designing these systems so robustly that essentially we can set up in any space and anyone, even without any growing knowledge, can successfully produce," Mr. Myers explained. "

Read the full members-only story in this week's print or digital editions of the CBJ.

The inaugural "Strut Your Roots" hair show and competition, set for next month at the Coralville Marriott, aims to showcase black-owned businesses. 
In an effort to boost African American-owned businesses in the state, I Heart Black Businesses will host the inaugural "Strut Your Roots" hair show and competition in Coralville next month.

The event, planned from 3-10 p.m. April 11 at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, challenges local hairstylists and barbers to outshine one another in a battle of technique and creativity.
"This will give exposure to businesses that wouldn't have this exposure otherwise," said Michael Oti-Boateng, sound engineer at Music4Life Recording Studios, in a release.
Numerous hairstylists and barbers from across Iowa have signed up to compete in six different categories throughout the night: barber freestyle design, bridal updo, braids and locs, fade and beard, weave, and fantasy. 

The winner of each category will take home a cash prize and a trophy along with an exclusive photoshoot with Des Moines-based photographer, Aktive Shooter Photography, a black-owned business.
"Strut Your Roots hair show seeks to bridge the gap between the community and its black-owned businesses," organizers said. "Attendees will strengthen the local economy when purchasing goods from participating vendors."

Judges include Tony Mac, owner of Iowa's first black-owned cosmetology school, Clippernomics Academy of Hairstyling, of Des Moines. Multiple speakers include Iowa City's Natural Hair Guru, educating attendees on local resources available for their hair care needs.

pitchNewBo City Market honors 15 women-owned businesses 

Carol Elliott, owner of Aroma Artisan Pizza, in a January photo with Sen. Elizabeth Warren at NewBo City Market. The market is spotlighting its 15 women-owned businesses in honor of International Women's Day Sunday. CREDIT AROMA ARTISAN PIZZA
NewBo City Market is spotlighting its 15 women-owned businesses in celebration of I nternational Women's Day, March 8.

Currently, more than 70 percent of the small businesses in the market are owned or co-owned by women, which exceeds the national percentage of women-owned businesses.
According to the Women's Business Enterprise National Council, in 2018 around four of every 10 U.S. businesses were women-owned.

"NewBo City Market has given me the opportunity to take my skills from past work experience and apply them to something I really love," said Carol Elliot, owner of Aroma Artisan Pizza, in a release. "We have been able to transform our family hobby into a career. Not many people are that lucky."

NewBo City Market is also showcasing diverse shopkeepers of many different backgrounds and cultures. 

"Women of color have been pioneers in the growth of women-owned businesses in the United States and we are honored to have several start their businesses at the market," stated a news release.

"NewBo guided me on the steps on how to start and even gave me resources relating to business," said Blanche Vega, owner of Pinoy Cafe. "The management here and the other shopkeepers give me hope to keep pushing and give me ideas on how to better my business."

NewBo City Market has several open spaces currently and hopes to see more small businesses take off this summer. Contact Julie Parisi at for more information.
In this week's consulting spotlight, Scott Bushkie of Cornerstone Business Services explains why the time to begin planning a graceful exit from your business is now.
When a business owner says it's time to sell, I ask, "What's your timeframe? When do you want to be out?" The answer I hear most is "yesterday."
That is a problem. Most business owners underestimate the time it takes to sell and exit their business. It's not like selling a house. You don't get to hand over the keys and walk away on closing day. It's such a common misconception that we've framed and hung this piece of advice in our conference room: "Selling a business is a process, not an event."
In an ideal world, you'd be working with an advisor for two to three years before you put your business on the market. There are financial management changes (e.g. working capital, audits) you can make to maximize your sale value, plus other pre-transition activities that will better position your company for sale.
Once we list the business, it takes about nine to 12 months, on average, to sell a lower middle market company. After that, sellers can expect a six-month to one-year transition, or longer, depending on the buyer and their needs.
Everything's negotiable, of course. Some sellers want to head for Florida as soon as possible. Others want to sell, but they aren't quite ready to go cold turkey. It's possible to sell and then collect a salary and benefits for a few years, minus all the stress of ownership. In fact, for the last two businesses I closed, the sellers were opposites when it came to their transition goals.
One seller knew his company was on a good growth trend, but he was burned out as an owner and needed help to get the business to the next level. He signed a three-year employment contract as part of the sale, earning a larger salary than he had been taking as an owner, plus lucrative bonus options if he helps get the company where he thinks it can go.

Read the full column in the March 3 print and digital editions of the CBJ.
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March 6
AT&T Mobily Ribbon Cutting, by Iowa City Area Business Partnership, noon-1 p.m., AT&T Mobily, 352 Highway 1 W., Iowa City. Free. For more information, visit

March 9
Coralville Roundtable, by Iowa City Area Business Partnership, noon-1 p.m., Buffalo Wild Wings, 2500 Corridor Way, Ste. 1, Coralville. Members are invited to network and keep up to date with partnership and community events. Free. For information, call (319) 337-9637.

March 10
Annual Giving 101, by Association of Fundraising Professionals Eastern Iowa Chapter, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Hills Bank, 3905 Blairs Ferry Road NE, Cedar Rapids. Eric Weiler, of the Kirkwood Foundation, will facilitate. Cost: Members free, non-members $25. To register, visit

Small Business Lunch Roundtable, by SCORE of East Central Iowa, noon-1 p.m., Granite City, 4755 First Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. This is an informal networking opportunity for those in business or those thinking about starting a business. Free. To register, visit
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An Iowa bill that would put about nearly $100 million toward K-12 education now heads to the governor's desk.  The Des Moines Register reports the Iowa House and Senate compromised on a 2.3% increase Wednesday The bill adds about $85 million dollars in supplements state aid. This falls below Governor Kim Reynolds' original proposal of about $100 million dollars in new funding.  The state's overall K-12 education budget is nearly $3.5 billion.  The agreement also includes funding for rural transportation and per-pupil state aid.

The Anamosa Police Department said it needs to start working on a plan B after the community overwhelmingly said "no" to a new police station and additions to the fire department.  Just 25% of voters in the Tuesday referendum vote supported a plan that would let the police department move out of a former library that now serves as police headquarters. It needed 60% support to pass.  People we spoke with who voted no or didn't vote at all said they didn't want to raise taxes and the two projects being lumped into 1 vote seemed like too much.  Anamosa Police Chief Jeremiah Hoyt explained that the 117-year-old building has a lot of issues: the roof leaks, the basement floods when it rains, the heating and cooling system is out of date.  When the town got a new library, the police department moved into the historic facility temporarily. Even though it's been 15 years, the loss at the polls still wasn't a shock.  "We knew it could go either way," Hoyt said. "I'm not surprised by the results because we knew it could go one way or another. I'm disappointed because it's like being near the finish line and you're just really hoping to see that happen and then not being able to cross the finish line."  Hoyt said there is not a timeline on when a new plan will be brought forward.
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The wind will be blowing in from the west to northwest at 20 to 30 mph with gusts as high as 50 mph. This will cause major crosswinds on north-south roadways and it also brings a high fire danger, especially south of Interstate 80. Avoid outdoor burning because fire could easily get out of control. Clouds will also increase this afternoon, which may produce isolated pop-up showers. The highest chance of that is near and north of Highway 20. Highs in the 40s to around 50 will be hit by early afternoon, then level off. The wind backs off tomorrow as highs reach the middle 40s. This weekend still looks great with sunshine and mild breezes that push us into the 50s and 60s.