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Hardware Hank in Le Mars wins Statewide Open 4 Business Pitch Contest

August 1, 2022

For more information, contact:

Staci Hupp Ballard, 515.348.6245

Hardware Hank in Le Mars wins Statewide Open 4 Business Pitch Contest
Five Iowa Businesses Take Home Awards

August 1, 2022 (Pella, Iowa) – Hardware Hank in Le Mars topped four competitors in a statewide pitch contest held in Pella on Monday evening. Five businesses from Main Street Iowa communities across the state competed in the final round of the Open 4 Business contest, which began in March with 24 applicants. All five businesses received awards.

“We had a hard time selecting, so everyone’s going to go home with some money tonight,” said Debi Durham, executive director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Iowa Finance Authority. “The big ideas pitched by these small business owners exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit and strength of small businesses and Main Streets across the state.”

Scott Pageler, who owns Hardware Hank in Le Mars, won a $20,000 grant for a mobile showroom to bring his flooring department to customers’ homes, using photos and digital displays to help them visualize their projects.

“This is a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, not only in Le Mars, but also in northwest Iowa,” Pageler told the judges. “I haven’t found anything like what I’m trying to create.”

The first runner-up, Candle Ready Cakes in Dubuque, won $10,000. The second runner-up, The Beancounter Coffeehouse & Drinkery in Burlington, won $7,500. Two honorable mentions, The Hangry Lady in Cedar Rapids and The Corner restaurant, won $5,000 apiece.

Read more about the five finalists.

The business owners submitted applications and videos outlining their plans and had 10 minutes to pitch their ideas to the following judges: Sandy Ehrig of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa initiative, Rand Fisher of the Iowa Area Development Group, Vada Grantham of DMACC, Karla Organist of the University of Northern Iowa’s Institute for Decision-Making, and Lisa Shimkat of the Iowa Small Business Development Center.

This is the eighth year of the Open 4 Business contest, which is open to businesses in the 53 Main Street Iowa districts across the state.

The grants are administered through IEDA’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa programs.

For more information about the Main Street Iowa Open 4 Business program, contact Robin Bostrom of Main Street Iowa at 515.348.6176 or

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