Where Everyone Knows Your Name

January 22, 2017

As I continue to think about the topic of leading a healthier life what comes to mind is the importance of community. A strong community is not only good for our mental health and wellbeing but also leads to a greater sense of happiness.

Remember the old show Cheers?    

Its theme was "a place where everyone knows your name."    How powerful.    Cheers wasn't just a business that served libations, it was a place that its characters were seen, heard and understood.  In this day and age of on-line access to about anything and the tendency to communicate through text or email, we are losing touch with one of the most important things that we need to lead a healthier and happy life... meaningful and rich relationships full of give and take.

As a local business, community is everything to us.    Where would we be if we didn't have the loyalty of our customers and the opportunity to build new relationships with each and every person who walks through our door?     And because we are local, it is also our responsibility to support other local business in that same way.     For some time now, I have been thinking about an initiative of "Local loves local."     For all of us that are providing products and services locally or work for any kind of business that relies on our community to thrive, we should make it our commitment to support others doing the same.

Let me give you a quick example.    Both Kelli and I are of that age where glasses are pretty darn important.     We both are a bit resistant but have recently succumbed to the requirement.    One of our lovely customers happens to lead the local, family owned eye glass company, Vogue Vision www.voguevision.com (which I highly recommend by the way.)   Vogue Vision offers both high fashion qualilty products and excellent customer service.    

And this is where both Kelli and I choose to do business.   It's the way the world and relationships should work.   I've got your back and you've got mine.  Local loves local.    I have been so impressed with Des Moines (and surrounding communities) as it has developed into a cool, chic place to live, shop and eat for young and old alike.     And we all have to do our part to make sure it continues to thrive and grow.  

So this blog kicks off  a promise of a quarterly post that will share some of our staff favorite local products, services and businesses. Yesterday, I asked a few team members about some of their local favorites (I didn't have a chance to talk with everyone so there will be lots more to come!)

?Who Does DJ Love?

The first person I asked was DJ.   Right off the top of his head, he proclaimed Anderson Erickson's Sea Salt Cottage Cheese and the Iowa Orchards Rhubarb Pie.

Let's start with AE Dairy.   A local icon that has been serving us the highest quality products since 1930.   You won't catch Kelli, Jeff or I buying anything else at the grocery store.  Their commitment to our community deserves this nod of respect.  And DJ especially loves, no craves, their sea salt cottage cheese!

And then he goes on to tell me that the Iowa Orchard (which is open year round and has been serving us since 1975) makes 21 different varieties of fresh pies and crisps!   Yum.  I didn't know that and will be taking advantage of this new tidbit of information myself!

Gina told me about Swirlfree Auto Detailing.  She says that their service, attention to detail and quality of work won her heart!  This shop is owned by a gentleman who believes that 'service and quality have become forgotten in the name of fast and cheap.'   I couldn't agree more.

Frank actually gave me a long list of local favorites, but today we are going to start with La Mie Bakery and Kitchen Collage.   

La Mie has been been pleasing us since 2003 with their artisan-made breads, pastries and desserts.  It is a wonderful place to gather and they also do an incredible job catering savory breakfast and lunch boxes.

Kitchen Collage, residing in the East Village in Des Moines,  has been inspiring us to be better cooks since 1999.  Their products range from the classic to quirky, practical to eccentric, from elegant to waggish — a true collage.

Jackson swears by the locally owned Tasty Tacos who's flourishing business now has 5 locations.    50 years and growing strong!

When Stacie feels the need to have a cheat day from her really healthy eating regime, you might catch her at Molly's Cupcakes picking out her favorite treat the "Cookie Monster."    You should have seen her face when she described the cookie dough that is tucked away inside this yummy cupcake.  


Travis went an entirely different direction and recommended The Tyler Osby Team if you are looking for a mortgage lender.   When I asked why he said, "I've never worked with anyone so on top of the process.   He answered every question immediately and gave weekly updates on the progress.  Just check out his reviews on social media and you will see what I'm saying."   You should check it out too.

Jeff is a big fan of the Italian Grocer - A Taste of Italy.  He loves to head there for lunch and pick up sandwiches for the whole team.  His favorite sandwiches?   The Italian Hogie and famous meatball sandwich.  

Apparently our team loves Italian.   Maddy told me about +39 (which has locations in both Ames and Des Moines.)  She loves it because it reminds her of the authentic Italian food that she had the pleasure of eating while she studied in Rome during her college years.

Lana is a huge fan of Bubba's Southern Comfort restaurant in downtown Des Moines.   If you haven't tried this restaurant that is new to the Des Moines scene, you should.    The desserts?   Oh my!   The one above is the salted caramel apple cake. So good.

I just had occasion to try Goldfinch on Court Avenue.   I loved both the fresh ambiance and seafood dishes.   One of my goals this 2017 is to try as many of the restaurants in town that I haven't already experienced.    I am certainly off to a good start.

One of my other local favorites is Mr. B's, one of the finest men's clothing stores in the state.   I developed a committed relationship to them years ago when shopping for and with my late husband.   While I don't get to see Tim and the guys very often anymore, I always go there when buying something special for my step-son and nephews.    It is always a joy to see them and support their business.    

Kelli recommends her Yoga Instructor Ben Spellman, owner of Good Vibes Yoga.      Not only is he an amazing instructor who guides each of his students on a journey of energy and peace through yoga, but he also leads a movement of human reconnection. Ben teaches yoga as his way of bringing people together and build community.     

One final recommendation from K. Renee is the talented CR Painting.    We've referred this group to several of our clients because of their quality work and great customer service.   Recently, I reached out to them to help us with our home transformation giveaway project that we will be completing in the next month or so.     The home we will be transforming has a staircase that needs to be painted and CR painting has generously decided to donate their services to help us with this very meaningful project.    We can't thank you enough!

Building your community is what it is all about and you can't do that when you take your business out of town or online.  Yes, it might offer a certain degree of convenience but it doesn't build important human connections or support our wonderful, expanding town.   It's so much more rewarding to be at a place where everyone knows your name.

Building your community is what it is all about and you can't do that when you take your business online.  Yes, it does offer convenience but it doesn't build important human connections or our wonderful, expanding town.