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PCEDC awards Jump-Start grants

POCAHONTAS–Pocahontas County Economic Development Commission have awarded Jump-Start Accelerator grants to two businesses.

Powhatan Travel Service of Pocahontas was awarded one of the grants to assist in the transition of the business to a new owner in the county.

Eva’s Berries, of rural Fonda, was awarded the other grant to support the launch and expansion of their new berry operation.

The Jump-Start Accelerator Grant Program is supported by the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative.

“These grants will definitely increase the vibrancy of Pocahontas County,” said Tom Grau, PCEDC executive director. “We are thrilled with what the future of this program will bring as we empower rural entrepreneurs and continue to enhance our business communities. The program will continue in the future with a new grant cycles for those looking to start or expand their businesses in the Princess County.”

Powhatan Travel Service is in the process of undergoing a transition of ownership. Heather Schoon, the new owner, has ambitious goals for the coming years with expansion of the business. She hopes to plan and organize more group tours and trips and PCEDC is proud that one of Iowa’s remaining travel agencies is located right here in Northwest Iowa to increase access to affordable travel.

Eva’s Berries looks forward to hosting “U-Pick” events this summer as well as selling the Fonda grown berries to local grocery stores.

The “U-Pick” events allow individuals to come and pick fresh, locally grown berries near Varina in Pocahontas County.

The berry farm utilizes a unique trellis growing system for strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. The system allows conservation of water and nutrient control in order to provide uniform taste.

Another major benefit to the growing system is that it allows customers to pick berries without bending at the knees. They are hoping to expand by growing more berries and adding pumpkins, with a goal of becoming a tourist attraction in Northern Iowa.

“We look forward working with Powhatan Travel Service and Eva’s Berries on their creative and innovative ideas to increase the vibrancy of Pocahontas County” said Emily Williams, PCEDC marketing coordinator.

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