Can the recently-opened PIVO Brewery and Blepta Studios in Calmar be a model for economic development in rural Iowa communities?
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg visited PIVO Brewery & Blepta Studios in Calmar Friday afternoon to discuss the challenges of entrepreneurship and small business start-up in Iowa.
Craig & Sara Neuzil opened PIVO Brewery and Blepta Studios in November 2017 in the new Calmar Business Park on the north side of the city. Their taproom currently offers over 20 different types of locally-brewed beer and their art studio has regularly scheduled group painting classes.
After getting a tour of the facilities, Governor Reynolds sat down to a round table discussion about rural economic development. "Our rural communities need new businesses to stay competitive and attractive in the current job market, but without some level of financial assistance at the county or state level, it's very difficult for an independent start-up company to begin," said Craig Neuzil. Topics of discussion during the meeting included tax incentives, state grants, government regulations and inspections, vocational training and suitable housing options in Winneshiek County. Governor Reynolds agreed with many in the group that increased technical vocational training is a step in the right direction for Iowans wanting to improve their standard of living. "Iowa is competing against all other states to recruit and keep skilled labor," said Reynolds.