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home | Reader Profiles | No Such Thing as a F . . .
 




No Such Thing as a Free Lunch:

The Prairie Canary, Grinnell, Iowa

Diana Lambdin Meyer

It sounds like a Wheel of Fortune prize package for the aspiring restaurateur: $10,000 in start-up cash, $15,000 in starting inventory, $10,000 in smallwares, three months free rent, free signage and $5,000 worth of brand consultation.

It was indeed a prize package in an unusual offer by the Grinnell (Iowa) Area Chamber of Commerce. A community benefactor provided the cash, a local landlord provided the space, and the chamber of commerce coordinated the nationwide search to fill an empty storefront in the downtown of this community of about 10,000 residents, just east of Des Moines, Iowa.

After reviewing 44 entries from seven states, the chamber selected Carly Groben, a native of central Iowa with two restaurant openings already under her belt.

"The whole concept of the contest was a lot of work, not unlike putting a business plan together for a bank loan, but I was already in the mode of developing a concept,so this just fast-tracked it for me," she says.

Click here to learn more!


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