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Ottumwa Stories: Creating Local Business
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Ottumwa Stories: Creating Local Business

One of the joys of visiting any town in Iowa is discovering locally owned and operated businesses.  In an increasingly nonpersonal world, personal service sticks out and often is the key to a memorable visit.

In Ottumwa, the personal touch is on display at Edd the Florist, a family owned and operated business since 1956. Second generation owner Hans Wilz parents immigrated to Iowa from Germany and achieved their piece of the American Dream by opening their florist shop, which today stands as a cornerstone of the Ottumwa business community. Voted best of Southern Iowa in 2017-18, Hans’ attributes the success of Edd the Florist to personal service and a long-established level of trust. Most of Edd the Florists’ staff have been with the company for over twenty years.

Hans believes that is the responsibility of successful retailers such as himself to incubate new, locally owned businesses in Ottumwa. 

He has put that belief into action by mentoring Mary Sue Novak, owner of Midwest Belle Boutique. Han’s has provided space in his retail florist shop for Mary Sue to display her unique line of clothing and accessories. Hans has also provided Mary Sue with business and marketing advice which has allowed her to turn a hobby into a retail business without incurring a large infusion of capital or risk. The partnership has also benefited Han’s floral business by increasing foot traffic and by creating an opportunity to host in-store events to showcase Midwest Belle Boutique’s products. Midwest Belle has also filled a need in the community for a boutique clothing store.

A win-win for two businesses, the community, and visitors to Ottumwa. 

Image credit: Andy Wartenberg

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