Main Street (Hearts) Their Volunteers!

Jefferson Matters: Main Street loves the many volunteers who give of their time and talents for the good of the community.  On Feb. 15, all volunteers and spouses/guests were invited to a special event at the top of the Mahanay Bell Tower from 5:30 – 7 p.m.  The Organization Committee provided refreshments and drinks at this beautiful vantage point in downtown Jefferson.  Over 40 people attended this Volunteer Valentine Party and a good time was had by all.

Each committee honored one volunteer for 2016:  Economic Vitality – Nick Sorensen; Organization – Carla Offenburger; Promotion – Dianne Piepel; Design – Nick Sorensen; and Tower View Team – Roger Aegerter.  Each person has been a major difference in the success of the committee and is appreciated so much.

President Jamie Daubendiek announced the 2016 Leadership Award awarded by the Board of Directors to Nick Sorensen.  This Leadership Award is chosen annually and sent to Main Street Iowa along with other nominations.  Nick will  be recognized at the Main Street Iowa annual awards event on April 7 at Hoyt Sherman Place.  Nick was given an engraved crowbar from the local organization – which was very fitting for his very hands-on volunteer work for Main Street.


Open 4 Business Competition 2017

Do you have a great business idea? Have you always wanted to own a business in downtown Jefferson? Is your current business planning to expand services or add a new product line? Do you have a piece of equipment you wish you could purchase for your business?

Jefferson Matters: Main Street is looking for interested entrepreneurs who could use $28,000 to launch or grow their business idea within the Jefferson’s Main Street district. The Open 4 Business contest, launched in 2015, is an opportunity for businesses located within a state-designated Main Street district, to compete for a chance to win up to $28,000 in grant funds to assist with a business development or expansion project that will benefit the local community. Businesses must complete an application and a short video outlining their business idea and how it will benefit the local economic climate in their community. A 25% cash match is required. The grant funds are administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa program.

Main Street’s Economic Vitality Committee is hosting this competition and will choose the one business entry to submit at their April 6, 2017 mtg. Each designated Main Street community may submit one local business applicant that will represent Jefferson at the sub-state competition held in Des Moines on June 15, 2017. Sub-state winners will receive $8,000 and advance to the state contest which will be held in Sioux City, Iowa the evening of August 1, 2017. The state winner could win up to $20,000.

For complete details about this program, please contact Peg Raney at Jefferson Matters: Main Street at or 515-386-3585 or Robin Bostrom, Business Specialist, Iowa Downtown Resource Center/Main Street Iowa at 515.725.3053 or

2017 O4B Marketing flyer

2017 Open 4 Business Application


Judges Scoring Criteria

Open 4 Business info sheet 2017


Java & Juice in Jefferson

Jefferson Matters: Main Street is kicking off a new social time called Java & Juice in Jefferson. These will take place every Friday beginning in March from 9:30 – 10 a.m. at a different business in the Main Street District. The host business will provide java, juice, and have a small treat for those attending. The public is invited and encouraged to attend. The business will take a few minutes to introduce a new employee, share a new product, celebrate an anniversary, or whatever they’d like to tell about at 9:45 a.m. The idea is “What is brewing in your business?”

This idea was suggested by Scott Weber, chairperson of Main Street’s Economic Vitality Committee. Scott explained how this event was held each Friday in Cherokee and about 35-40 people attended each week. It was a chance to get out of the office for a quick social time to see what was new. This could be a morning version of TGIF. Scott hopes this Java & Juice in Jefferson will take off and be a successful project. This event will begin on March 3 at Unger Insurance at 9:30 a.m.

A Java & Juice in Jefferson calendar will be kept at the Main Street Office so Main Street businesses should email, or Scott Weber to schedule a Friday date. A monthly calendar will be sent out with the Main Street newsletter, published by the local media and available on Jefferson Matters: Main Street’s facebook page or website at under Events.


Building Façade Mini-Grants Available for up to $500

Jefferson Matters: Main Street has announced that Building Façade Mini-Grants are now available for up to $500 to business owners in our Main Street District. These grants were previously available for up to $250 but because of additional Main Street investments received during the 2017 Investment Drive, the amount for these Mini-Grants was raised.

These Mini-Grants are for façade improvements for the exterior of the front of the buildings in the downtown. Eligible projects considered for funding include painting, tuck-pointing, replacement of windows and doors or removal of non-conforming elements of a building.

This Mini-Grant program is a project of the Design Committee with many of the members of the committee volunteering to provide labor for the projects, particularly painting. The Design Committee members are also available to make suggestions for improvements and can be contacted through the Main Street office. This group helped the City adopt Downtown Building Design Guidelines in January, 2016 which provide recommendations of Do and Don’t to consider.

A simple application is available at the Main Street office or online at under Resources. Projects must be approved by the Design Committee and then by the JM:MS Board of Directors.

These Mini- Grants are available throughout the year so there is no deadline to apply. The Design Committee and Board of Directors meet monthly to approve applications. Projects are reimbursed from receipts and must include before and after photos.

This committee would like building owners in the Main Street District to consider updates this Spring and Summer.

Program Director Peg Raney stated, “With 16 buildings involved in the Community Development Block Grant – Downtown Revitalization project, Main Street wanted to provide an incentive for other businesses to make improvements too.” Past recipients of these Mini-Grants have included Angie’s TeaGarden, Riley Hall, Jefferson Telecom, Lawton Family Chiropractic, Jefferson Fieldhouse, Greene Bean Coffee, Doc’s Alley, the Kendall Building and Jefferson Family Chiropractic.