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Sibley Chamber members reflect on past year

SIBLEY, Iowa — Members of the Sibley Chamber of Commerce gathered Monday evening for the group’s annual meeting and dinner. 

Guest speaker was Osceola County Economic Development Director Mike Earll, who offered insight on the positive changes that are coming to both Sibley and Osceola County.

Chamber Director Sheryl Peters reported that over the past year the Chamber has given four new businesses their “First Dollar.” The four businesses — Timewell, La Guadalupana, Heying Tax and Financial Services and Northwestern Mutual Financial — represent a portion of the broad range of businesses located within the community.

Peters also presented the Businessman of the Year award to Michael Fleming of Keith M. Merrick Co.

“He (Fleming) has donated many things to the community; the list being too long to keep track of,” Peters noted. “He has served on many boards in his industry. If you go to one of the conventions in his industry with him, you’d see he is very well thought of.”

Deb Kosters was recognized as Volunteer of the Year. Kosters has volunteered with various organizations in Sibley since 1995 and is the president of the Osceola Community Hospital Auxiliary.

During his presentation, Earll noted some of the accomplishments of his predecessor, Kirk Grau, who died in December after a long battle with esophageal cancer.

Grau was instrumental in bringing Cooperative Energy, Chem Sol and Timewell to Sibley. He also aided in POET Biorefining setting up facilities in Ashton, Iowa, and established the county’s Enterprise Park. He also worked on developing a foreign trade zone in northwest Iowa, the only rural one in the country.

Furthermore, Grau was instrumental in working with Cooperative Elevator Association and the City of Ocheyedan to develop a new roadway and the Kirk Grau Addition in Sibley, which now houses Noteboom Implement and Bosma Poultry.

Earll added that following the purchase of Sibley Equipment by Noteboom Implement, Noteboom has invested an additional $1.2 million into its new facility. Earll touched briefly on a few other upcoming projects.

Northland Buildings will construct a $600,000 regional warehouse in the county’s Enterprise Park. Currently, a Northland Building dealer is also located in the Park.

Earll shared the project will initially create two to three new jobs, but the company is looking at adding an office facility in the future, creating more employment opportunities. Earll said a local diesel repair business is also looking at Enterprise Park for a new location. Sibley and Osceola County have paired together on a railroad spur project that is under way, providing another form of transportation to attract more businesses to relocate to the area.

Earll updated members on the Highpointer’s Club annual convention scheduled for next year at Hawkeye Point. The convention is estimated to bring 300 to 600 people to the area, which can translate into customers for area businesses.

Earll encouraged business owners to embrace a positive attitude and work with other cities in the county to benefit everyone and create unique experiences to draw in new people. Paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin he said, “If we don’t hang together, we’re going to hang separately.”

Daily Globe Reporter Robin Baumgarn may be reached

at 376-7323.

Robin Baumgarn

Robin Baumgarn is a new reporter for the Daily Globe covering the Education and Northwest Iowa beats. Prior to coming to the Globe, she worked for the Ocheyedan Press-Melvin News, a weekly Iowa paper for three years. She is a 2012 graduate of Iowa Lakes Community College and lives in Northwest Iowa with her husband Ryan and three pets, Fidget, Missy and Samwise.

(507) 376-7323