Archive for Doing Business

Quarterly Newsletter – May 2017

Download the May 2017 newsletter here.  May 2017 Newsletter

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PumpkinFest Fun, Saturday, October 22, 1 – 3 p.m. Downtown Carlisle

From the Carlisle Chamber of Commerce:

Map of Events

Schedule of Events:

Before 12:45

Kids gather at the high school parking lot for the Costume Parade

1:00 p.m.

Costume Parade with Carlisle’s 6th Grade Marching Band

1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Trunk or Treat in Great Western Parking Lot

Photos at Wildcat Chiropractic with the Des Moines Register’s Photo booth

Wee One’s Haunted House at the Carlisle Public Library

Pumpkin Carve/Decorate Contest

Hayrack Ride provided by Dick Ledlie

Inflatables and GaGa Ball sponsored by Capitol City Church

Dance 2 Xtreme performance

Antique Tractor Museum

Shopping with crafters and vendors

Please stop by the Chamber’s Open House from 1:30 – 3:00 at 27 School Street.

Visit to print and send the forms to nominate your Citizen of the Year, chamber-logoBusiness of the Year, and Employee of the Year. You may also apply for the Carlisle Chamber Betterment Grant for your business or organization. Details and deadlines are on the Website.

Barbara Rasko, Executive Director

515/989-4216 (o)     515/210-3571 (c)

27 School Street

P.O. Box 487

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Carlisle Chamber to Host Open House in New Office Building

The Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce will hold an open house during PumpkinFest on Saturday, October 22nd, from 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. at their new office at 27 School Street. The Chamber received the building through a generous donation of the Elmer F. Kibbey Family in May 2015. Since that time, the building has been renovated.


Carlisle Chamber of Commerce Office

O’Reilly Auto Parts Customer Appreciation Day

O’Reilly Auto Parts Customer Appreciation Day
Saturday, October 15
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Presentation of Check to Carlisle Fire Department
12:00 p.m. Ribbon Cutting – Carlisle Chamber of Commerce
1005 Bluestem Dr., Carlisle, IA

Grand Opening will be celebrated October 12 – 25

O’Reilly Auto Parts (NASDAQ: ORLY) is pleased to announce the opening of our store in Carlisle, IA. Our new store is conveniently located to serve all of your auto part needs.

Store Manager, Dave Winebrenner, on behalf of the entire company, will present a $200 check to Carlisle Fire Department. O’Reilly Auto Parts is honored to support such a worthwhile organization.

If you have not had an opportunity to stop by and meet Dave and the TEAM, come in during the grand opening celebration. When you visit the new O’Reilly store, you’ll find courteous, knowledgeable store personnel to assist you. O’Reilly offers a low price guarantee, plus overnight service from our distribution centers, on most parts not in stock. O’Reilly has the best manufacturer’s warranty policy in the industry and the largest inventory of auto parts, tools and accessories.


Commercial LED Program Being Offered by MEAN

For more information, go to:

Commercial LED Lighting Program

Save Money by Upgrading to More Efficient Lighting

The ENERGYsmart commercial LED lighting program includes cash incentives paid directly to commercial customers to help cover the cost of lighting upgrades and replacements. The program covers:

• Indoor high/low bay lighting

• LED exit signs

• linear replacement or retrofit lighting

• Fluorescent freezer/refrigerator case lighting

• Incandescent replacement (150 watts or less)

• Customized requests

The Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska Board of Directors approved the program, with a maximum of $2,500 per customer/owner for the year. It will be paid on a first-come, first-served basis until funds last.

Converting to more efficient lighting can have a favorable impact on businesses bottom line. Interior lighting accounts for about 30 percent of a commercial business’ total energy use. Lighting technologies, such as LEDs, can help cut lighting costs while improving output, visibility and reducing environmental impacts.

The program year runs April 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017.

Community Design Program Presents Recommendations to City

On February 8th, the Community Design Program (CDP) of the Iowa Architectural Foundation presented their findings and recommendations to the City of Carlisle. The presentation represented hours of work from an intensive weekend of fact finding, community meetings and design work by a ten-person professional team at the IAF.

“After several months of organizing, we brought a team of professionals or a “charrette” into Carlisle, stated Edd Soenke, Architect and Team Lead. Soenke explains, “The term “charrette” comes from the19th century when architecture professors would ride in a charrette (little cart) and take notes and drawings in order to collect data and information from students and the town’s people during a rebuilding period a in France. The term is recognized by architectural professionals and planning consultants worldwide.”

City Center Site PlanMr. Soenke continues, “Our program is unique because we meet with multiple groups throughout the community to get their input on what they would like to see on a go-forward basis. Each charrette is tailored to fit the community’s needs. Design teams are generally made up of a variety of professionals, including architects, students, interns, community and regional planners, landscape architects and graphic designers. Many times, if we can identify an architect or architectural student in the community, we try to get them involved. In Van Meter we had two students/interns from the community who were a big help and provided inside information that is not available in the public meetings.”

Starting at Iowa State University as the Iowa Community Design Assistance Team (ICDAT), the concept was moved to the Iowa Architectural Foundation in 2001 and renamed the Community Design Program. Since then, over a dozen communities around Iowa have benefited from their expertise and guidance.

CDP charrettes assist communities in translating community vision into actual diagrams, sketches and renderings in order to build community support and to assist with fundraising. Design teams do NOT provide building schematics or project cost estimates. This work is left to the subsequently-hired design professionals.

“In Carlisle we had a team of 10 professional volunteers”, Mr. Soenke adds. “We had meetings on four previous occaFarmers Marketsions and the design process started in the afternoon of January 28th. After meeting with additional community members in three or four different venues throughout the city, we started the planning and collaborating on Friday the 29th.

“In the past we have taken our notes and, over the course of a few months, would put together the plans and elevations but today we find it much more beneficial to all work together until we develop the final plan. It is much more instructive to do the design within the community and let the community be a part of the process. It is important for them to see it unfold in front of them.

“We start by creating a SWOC analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & challenges) wherein every community is different, and this will help us better understand what we have to work with and where we need to go.

“The biggest challenge of bedroom communities, of which Carlisle could be considered, is that so many activities happen in the neighboring city and not enough is happening in town. We want to address those issues so we can get people to stay in town and stay local.

“Carlisle is unique because they already have a completed Walk-a-bility audit. The opinions from the audit saved us time and were easily tied into our comprehensive recommendations for short term and long term community design goals

Soenke concludes, “Short term recommendations are usually less expensive items and include improvements such as coordinated paint colors, minor façade improvements, improved signage and amenities. Long term recommendations include streetscaping in the business district, trail expansions, a park complex and a business development area. It was a great experience and we were honored to play a part in Carlisle’s future.”

For more details please download the CDP Plan here.

Important Information on the Local Option Sales Tax Vote

On Tuesday, March 1, 2016, a vote will take place on an issue that is very important to the citizens of Carlisle.

The registered voters of Carlisle will be deciding whether to participate in the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST).



LOST increases the sales tax in a jurisdiction by one cent, returning the extra penny per dollar back to the City through a formula based on amount of transactions, property valuation, and population. Many essential items such as gas, food, and medicine are not affected by LOST. While Carlisle residents would see an increase in their sales tax expenses, a large portion of the sale tax revenue would also be paid by non-residents traveling through the city using our services and streets

Based on estimates in a spreadsheet developed by the Iowa Department of Revenue, the City would retain almost $190,000 under LOST in the next fiscal year.

On August 10, 2015, the City Council passed a resolution indicating how the revenue will be distributed if the LOST  is  approved.


There have been some questions as to how the portion for streets and sidewalk projects would be allocated. The Council realizes that there are many streets in Carlisle with major decay, but that there is only one place where money for street improvements can be taken– road use money from the state. The only other way to obtain money for street improvements would be through borrowing or assessing property owners, increasing property taxes. While not all expenses for road improvements will be covered by the LOST revenue, the Council wishes to use half of the revenue on street improvements in order to lessen the increase in property taxes.

Police Cars

Expenses for public safety increase every year. We need to ensure we have operating vehicles (police vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances) that are in good condition and can respond to an emergency as quick as possible. There are future concerns that will require funding such as computer replacement, radios, and body cameras with the computer storage capacity to store the videos.

The City also feels that a lot of the expense for street repairs and public safety should be shared with those who travel through our community but do not share in paying for that expense through property tax. These individuals would help pay for these services in the form of the extra sales tax.

We as the City cannot spend money to tell you which way to vote, however, we need to make sure you have information on what will happen if the vote is for or against the LOST referendum.

Carlisle residents can vote by absentee ballot. Residents can send  a request to the auditor’s office now for a ballot to be sent to them later. The request must be made using the official request form, which is obtained at: Iowa Secretary of State  or calling the county auditor’s office at (515) 961-1020. Request forms must be received by Monday, Feb. 29th. Ballots must be postmarked by 8pm Tuesday, Mar. 1st.

Informational meetings will be held on Tuesday Feb. 9th and Tuesday Feb. 23rd at 7pm at the Carlisle Family Life Center, at 405 School Street.

Additional information can be found at the following Links:

Iowa Department of Revenue Q&A

Sales Tax Exemptions

Or for more information, please call (515) 989-3224.  

Click Here to download and print this information.

Boulders Inn & Suites Makes Progress in Carlisle

As Carlisle continues to grow, one local amenity that is clearly missing is a nice hotel and convention center.   That may be changing considering the conversations and progress being made by Boulders Inn & Suites.

Unlike larger, brand-name hotel chains, the Boulders Inn & Suites business model was designed specifically for smaller communities like Carlisle.

The first Boulder Inn & Suites was introduced in 2008 when the 32 room hotel opened its doors in Denison, Iowa. Since 2008, the company has expanded to nine hotels in Iowa with more locations being considered.Boulders-Inn-Suites-web

Before announcing a new facility, the hotel’s management group, Boulders Inn & Suites Consulting, based in Denison Iowa, follows a proven formula for finding locations, gaining local support and raising money through current and local investors.

“Our strategy is different than the national brands”, stated Nate Houston, Marketing Director for Boulders Inn & Suites Consulting. “Our goal is to provide high-quality affordable lodging in under-served markets.   Iowa has a thriving economy and people travel for work throughout the state. Many communities lack quality options for lodging. We built our model on business travelers, the Sunday through Thursday travelers who need clean, comfortable accommodations.”

Houston continues, “Our customers consider us to be a boutique, home-town hotel with excellent customer service.”

Once Boulders Inn & Suites Consulting identifies an interested community, a feasibility study is commissioned to determine the financial viability of the location. Pending the results of the study the company proceeds with its proven formula.

The next step is an investors meeting to help secure the financing for an investment ranging from $1.5 to over $2 million in capital.

Houston adds, “We open the investment opportunity to our existing investors first and then we reach out to the community, local investors and business owners. We want local investors to have a vested interest in the success of the property.”

The initial investment meeting, held on February 26th in Carlisle, drew a crowd of roughly 50 interested parties. Some came for additional information while others, who were interested in the investment opportunity, are in on-going conversations with Boulder Inn & Suites Consulting.

Houston continues, “The success of our brand and investment model is a proven strategy. In fact, we’re opening our second 32 room hotel in Denison, a community of roughly 8,500 residents.

“Once the investors are committed and we’re confident with the capital raise, our general contractor will meet with the board of directors and the Boulders Inn & Suites Consulting team to outline all the cost factors. We’ll bring the entire project into focus and create budgets and timelines so we can schedule a break-ground date. The timing of the rest of the project is fairly loose based on weather and current projects in the pipeline.”

Boulders Inn & Suites Consulting hires the local managers for each hotel and provides the infrastructure as a management company with responsibility for the accounting, human resources and marketing functions. Hospitably, customer service and local decisions are the responsibility of the local managers.

Houston continues, “A few months before opening, we’ll start the hiring process for a manager. We look for managers who are passionate about customer service and have a vested interest in their community. We want our managers to be involved in the local Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis or Young Professionals as a way to give back to their community.

“With the manager on board, together we’ll hire another full time employee and up to 10 part time employees. With the addition of an adjacent restaurant, the whole project could add an additional 30 to 40 jobs.

“We believe Boulders Inn & Suites represents the best brand value based on our high quality guest rooms and suites. Boulders Inn & Suites properties are non-smoking and equipped with a fitness center, business center, free wireless, and a breakfast bar where guests are offered a complimentary hot breakfast each morning. Modern rooms are equipped with iron/ironing board, top of the line bedding, comfortable seating, microwaves/refrigerators, and a well-lit work area.

“As of yet, there isn’t a break-ground date in Carlisle”, Houston concludes, “However, we’re hopeful we can make an announcement sometime in the near future.”

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming an investor in Boulder Inn & Suites, please contact Hollie Askey at Warren County Economic Development Corporation. 515-961-1067.

Carlisle True Value – Ready for Customers

In early 2014, Kelly and Tammy Wentzel were looking for a location to start a hardware store. Kelly, a stock broker and financial advisor wanted a business opportunity that would involve the whole family including two of his sons, Matt and Joe.

“Choosing a True Value hardware store was not by accident,” stated Mr. Wentzel, “when I was a kid my father owned a True Value hardware store in Northwest Iowa and eventually he owned up to five stores. My dad’s been in the hardware business for 55 years and it was a huge part of my growing up. He would take me on store visits and took me to hardware shows and conventions. I was a hardware guy until I went to college.”

After 28 years as a stock broker, Kelly wanted to bring his sons into a business with him and a True Value partnership just seemed to make sense.

“We were looking for a location around the Des Moines metropolitan area and a True Value representative mentioned the abandoned grocery store in Carlisle,” added Mr. Wentzel. “When Tammy and I pulled into the parking lot to visit the property, Andy Lent happened to stop by and asked if we were interested. We slow-played our hand, but we were very interested.”

As part of the Wentzel’s due diligence, True Value did a feasibility study in Carlisle. Based on the, population, growth and competitive factors, True Value concluded that Carlisle would be a great place for a hardware store.

“As we made plans to move forward, we attended meetings with Ruth, Andy and Hollie who were excellent to work with,” Mr. Wentzel continues, “they were very supportive and helped streamline the process of opening a business in Carlisle.

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“Starting with an empty building is a totally different experience than buying an existing hardware store. We gutted the inside of the building and remodeled everything. True Value was a great asset as they measured the interior space and designed a store layout and planogram, indicating the location of all the shelving and where every product, thousands of SKUs, would be displayed. The advantage of the new store is that we stocked every item on every shelf, making us more involved with the products and giving us a greater sense of accomplishment and ownership. On the other hand, the amount of time and work required to get the store ready was more than we anticipated, but it will be worth it.

“There weren’t too many hiccups along the way, other than when we were unloading semi-trailers, we noticed a broken bag of dog food in one of the trailers. We unloaded thee quarters of the trailer and shut it up for the weekend. Monday morning when we returned to finish we found more spilled dog food and two raccoons, stowaways from Kansas City, staring at us from the top of pallets inside the trailer. We called animal control to help relocate them to their new home somewhere in Warren County.

“The residents of Carlisle and northern Warren County will be impressed with the selection and value we’ll have at our store. True Value provides us with amazing buying power. With approximately 4,500 locations, there are more True Value stores than the three big box home improvement stores combined, which makes us very competitive.

“In addition, True Value has their own paint factory in northern Illinois that produces excellent quality paint. They supply our paint in a huge variety of finishes and colors.”

Carlisle True Value plans to open on Monday, February 2nd. Store hours will be:
Monday – Friday: 7:30 to 7:00
Saturday: 8:00 to 5:30
Sunday: 10:00 to 4:00

Mr. Wentzel concludes, ”We’ll hold our grand opening on April 10th and we’ll give away prizes such as new grill and power equipment. We’ll even have an executive from True Value on hand to answer questions. Matt, Joe and I will be working full time. Stop in and say ‘hi’, we look forward to serving you!”

Fareway Grand Opening

Grand Opening