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PCED announces 2021 Business of the Year

POCAHONTAS–A Pocahontas family grocery business, the owner of several newspapers in the county and a loan officer in Rolfe were honored with awards from the Pocahontas County Economic Development Commission (PCEDC).

The award recipients are normally announced at PCEDC’s annual meeting in conjunction with the Pocahontas County Foundation’s grant awards ceremony, which has been canceled for this year. A printed booklet outlining these recipients and PCEDC’s accomplishments over the last year will be mailed to county residents in February.

Wood’s Supermarket was selected as Business of the Year. Kris Grabinoski, owner of the Pocahontas Record-Democrat, the Laurens Sun and the Buena Vista County Journal, was selected for Boss of the Year. Clay Wells, a loan officer with United Bank of Iowa, was selected as the first Volunteer of the Year recipient.

“We are extremely fortunate to have such wonderful business leaders within Pocahontas County,” said Tom Grau, Pocahontas County economic development director. “We have the pleasure of working with these individuals to move Pocahontas County forward and we are thrilled with the individuals that our board members selected as this year’s winners. Congratulations to Wood’s Supermarket, Kristin Grabinoski and Clay Wells.”

Kent and Kim Wood thanked the individual(s) who nominated them for the award.

“I was honored that somebody or some group thought we deserved it,” Kent Wood said.

2020 was a hectic year for the grocery store, which has been a family business operating in Pocahontas for 60 years.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, people opted to do more grocery shopping close to home, and at the same time, the Woods found that their supply lines had been disrupted by supply chain issues. Throughout the uncertainty, they began offering grocery delivery and pickup options for customers.

“It felt like Groundhog Day every day,” Kim Wood said. The Woods have been grateful for the community support throughout the pandemic.

The Pocahontas Record-Democrat staff nominated Grabinoski for Boss of the Year, citing how she managed the pandemic, which did result in loss of advertising and events to cover for the paper. Grabinoski has worked in newspapers since 1987. She and her husband, Jay, bought the three newspapers based in Pocahontas in 2018.

“I’d like to thank PCEDC for selecting me as the recipient of the Boss of the Year award, this is quite an honor and I am so appreciative,” Grabinoski said. “To be a great boss, you have to have a great team and we have that at the Record Democrat, Laurens Sun and Buena Vista County Journal. My husband and I are fortunate to have the employees we have and we are so appreciative of them and the communities we serve.”

Clay Wells worked for Rolfe State Bank and United Bank of Iowa for more than five years. He started working with PCEDC three years ago, he said. PCEDC staff selected Wells for the new award, which was designed to recognize community members who “go above and beyond with their own time and talent to move Pocahontas County forward.”

Wells has spent many hours helping PCEDC staff with the organization’s revolving loan fund.

“It is good knowing that I am a small part of an organization that can do so much to help local businesses in the county,” he said. “It was quite unexpected because I feel like I just do my small part to help. I am honored to be the first recipient and look forward to continue on in the future in any way I can.”

Emily Williams, PCEDC marketing coordinator, praised the recipients.

“Our 2021 award winners are a true testament to all the amazing people we have working here in Pocahontas County,” she said. “The award winners continually go above and beyond to serve the needs of our communities and residents and for that, we are forever grateful.”

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