Quilts of Valor named Org. of Year

—H&S Motors, Hanson Tire Service: Businesses of Year
CRESCO - A local organization and two businesses were honored at the 2021 Cresco Area Chamber of Commerce and Cresco Industrial Development Corporation’s (CIDC) annual banquet on Friday, Nov. 19.
Organization of the Year
Chuck Malek, First Vice President of the CIDC Board of Directors, introduced Quilts of Valor as the Organization of the Year, saying, “I don’t know of a group more deserving of this honor.”
True to form, Sandy Thorson credited others for the success of the Quilts of Valor program that she heads up. 
She told the crowd of around 115, it was Evelyn Adamec who came to Thorson in 2009 asking, “You’re a quilter, right?” She then explained there were many wounded coming out of combat zones who would appreciate the comfort of a quilt. 
[The Quilts of Valor campaign was started in 2003 by the mother of a soldier and has grown to over 600 groups with 10,000-plus volunteers nationwide.]
“Since we started in 2009, we have made 225-250 quilts that have been given to veterans inside and a few outside of Howard County.” Thorson added, “I don’t do this myself. I have 35 people on my e-mail list. We meet every other month to make the quilts.” Several of her crew were on hand to support her in receiving the award.
She went on to embarrass husband Nate, who has been by her side the entire time. “He has carted more fabric over the years than what Katie [Mast] has in her store [Quilter’s Garden]. I couldn’t do this without him.
“It is our privilege and honor to do what we do,” she concluded.
Businesses of the Year
Chuck Malek, First Vice President of the CIDC Board of Directors, praised the businesses and industries of Cresco and Howard County. “We have more people coming into the county than those going out on a daily basis.”
He added the City and Board of Supervisors offer Revolving Loan Funds for businesses to use when needed.
• H&S Motors began on April 1, 1983, when Richard Holten of Cresco and Joe Sheehy of New Hampton purchased the former Kratz Motor Company and gave it the new name. 
Bryan Sheehy bought out his dad’s interest in the business in 1990, and Holten retired about five years ago, turning his portion over to son, Brent, although Dick laughs that he still goes in to see how things are going several times a week.
Malek introduced H&S as Business of the Year for being in Cresco for 38 years and its success as a regional Chevrolet/Buick Dealer. He remembered the first generation owning the business and was glad that it has stayed in the family, making it a strong Cresco business. Brent thanked everyone for their business.
• Hanson Tire Service has been part of the Cresco community for 57 years. It has had some change in ownership, the latest coming about when Jarad Holzer recently became a co-owner.
“I remember being 16 years old and going to Hanson Tire when it was still where Bob’s Electric is now. I had an old Ford. I wanted it to be LOUD. I took it to Fred Walter, and he helped me out. I don’t know what the farmers or any ag business would do if not for Hanson Tire.”
Owners Dave Carroll, Walter and Holzer accepted the Business of the Year award. 
Holzer said, “Thank you for your past, present and future business.”
Years of Service
Chamber businesses were recognized for their years of service, in five-year increments: Five years (KNL Enterprises and The Ox & Wren Spirits and Gifts); 10 years (Hindt-Hudek Funeral Home); 15 years (Burke Auction Service, Cresco Bicycles, Cresco Chiropractic Clinic, Lime Springs Children’s Theatre Troupe, Northeast Iowa Motors, Outdoors & More, Precision Overhead Doors, Reicks Landscapes and Reicks Monument & Stone); 20 years (JP Accounting); 25 years; (Midwest Drafting & Design and Sue-Z-Q’s Family Dining); 30 years (Cresco Storage, Cathy’s Car Wash, Hawkeye Sanitation and KCZQ Super C Radio); 35 years (Alum-line, Inc., Hvitved & Associates and Cresco Family Dentistry); 40 years (Fareway Stores); 45 years (Country Winds Manor, Kerian Water Store/Culligan of Cresco and Holstrom’s Gift & Jewelry); 50 years (Gosch’s, Inc.); 60 years (Cresco Fine Arts Show); and 85 years (MiEnergy Cooperative).
Chamber Statistics
• Jennilee Pedretti, President of the Chamber Board of Directors introduced all board members, Kris Riley (vice president), Mary Ann Neuzil (past president) and members Ryan McCarville, Brendon Kacher, Jen Burke, Dan Evans, Alex McCabe, Katie Hudek and Jan Carman (City of Cresco representative).
• There were 13 new chamber members in 2021: EchoVision/US Cellular, Breezy Clean (Breanna Smith), MediaCom, Hideaway Lounge (now Sweeney’s Lounge with Cooper Sweeney), Next Level Investments (Trevor Fouts), Cresco Family Pharmacy South, CPU (Jeff and Sandy Holmstrom), Cresco Rehab Clinic (Winneshiek Medical Center), ICETEC (Derrick and Theodora Okine), Precision Overhead Doors (Shay and Jericho Curtin), Salon Synergy (Heather Slifka), Preferred Appraisal Services (Alanda Meyer) and Whitesell Trucking (Mike and Amber Whitesell).
• Over the past 18 years, 23 small revitalization loans were given, which are put back into the commercial property. Currently $34,000 is being utilized.
• In 2020, over $76,000 in Chamber Dollars were purchased. This year will likely be a normal year of around $25,000.
• From 2020, the Chamber was involved in calling all businesses in the county concerning the second round of PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) from COVID-19, as well as every business and bar in connection with the Iowa relief grants. Staff also helped get loan payment holidays for businesses in need.
Some activities the Chamber organized were Family Fun Nights, Ridiculous Day, Fly-In Breakfast, Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest, Annual Golf Outing, Trunk-or-Treat (with over 600 kids attending) and Santa Parade, among other things.
CIDC Statistics
• CIDC board of directors includes Mark Cuvelier (president), Malek, Derek Lee (second vice president), Jerome Waterbeck (past president), Scott Thomson (treasurer) and members Tom Barnes, Gary Gooder, Bob Story, Dan Huiskamp, Donna Thomas, Brian Midthus, Bart Wilson, Mike Drees, Andy Ludeking, Dick Holten, Amy Bouska (City of Cresco representative) and Pat Murray (Howard County Board of Supervisors).
• Expansions/Additions in Cresco included Precision Overhead Doors (new construction), CPU (new location/remodel), Cresco Rehab Clinic (remodel), Salon Synergy (remodel), The Pub (remodel of front), RHSHC (South Pharmacy and George R. Willis Campus expansion), Next Level Investments, Fat T’s Cafe (expansion), Upper Iowa Tool & Die (expansion), Broken Road Grill & Bar (remodel), Lickteig Small Engine (addition) and CampSite RV (lot improvements).
• In 2021, the CIDC gave nearly $260,000 in revolving loan funds to 13 new businesses and retained 24.
• Currently, there are $965,000 in revolving loans in circulation.
• Jason Passmore of Cresco Chamber and CIDC noted one of the most visual changes in Cresco is the mural on 1st Ave., which was the brainchild of colleague Spiff Slifka. “She took the project and ran with it.” He also announced that Hillary Zidlicky was leaving her position and would be missed.
• There were two more awards he wanted to distribute. One to Jerome Waterbeck as past president. “He was CIDC president and served on the Howard County Business & Tourism Board. He has been an instrumental member for many years.”
Another award went to Mary Ann Neuzil, who was on the Chamber Board since 2009. “I am extremely thankful and blessed to have her on our boards, for as good as she is there, she’s just a better person.”
In between all the events, some wine and spirits were drawn to the delight of the winners.
In conclusion, Senator Waylon Brown and Representative Jane Bloomingdale were introduced. This event was probably the last one they would be attending officially, as the district lines were redrawn, and they are no longer representing Howard County.
Brown gave his appreciation to attendees. “I want to thank you for letting me serve you for the past six years. You’ve welcomed me with open arms. What you guys do here is above and beyond what other communities are doing.” He added that although he will no longer be representing Howard County, he would still listen to locals concerns.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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