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There’s plenty to recommend in Emmetsburg

Chamber exec cites casino, college and ‘great school system’

February 17, 2013
By HANS MADSEN, , Messenger News

EMMETSBURG - Deb Kite, executive director of the Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce, is happy to welcome visitors and new residents to the community.

There are many things she recommends about the town.

"We have the casino, Iowa Lakes Community College and a great school system." she said.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Mainstreet Memories Mall co-owners Laura Blanchet, left, and Ardelle Conner look at a World War II era ration coupon book for sale in their Emmetsburg store. They said they’ve had a great business year and have completed an expansion into a second storefront.

She also mentioned the new development around Five Island Lake which does, in fact, have five islands.

The 1,000-acre site will have some additional campgrounds added, more water access and of course, buildable lots.

In addition, she said there are plans to build a community center and one final attraction for visitors.

"We have lovely places to shop," she said.

One of the newest business to open in Emmetsburg is Val's Body Shoppe - Val Bormann doesn't repair dented cars although she can certainly take care of a bad hair day.

She opened her salon in mid-January and is still unpacking.

Opening her business on Broadway made sense.

"Since I live here," she said. "I wanted to have the shop here."

She said that the community has been very friendly and she's looking forward to raising her family there.

"It's been great so far," she said.

She also said that the community, including other hair stylists, have welcomed her.

"It's a very receptive community," she said.

Brianna Haywood is the office manager, catering development coordinator and farm store manager for the New Shoots Farm Store, Bakery and Cafe.

She said that the business is operated with the goal of using locally produced eats, cheeses and wines in its menu items. They recently added catering.

"It's been an absolute success," she said. "We are doing really well."

The meats served and cold come from Soper Farms; the local producer is expecting its organic certification within a few months.

"Everything is grass-fed," she said. "They're taken care of organically."

She said that in addition to good support from Emmetsburg residents, they also see a lot of customers from the surrounding area who've made Emmetsburg a destination.

"We've had good community support," she said.

She is hoping to expand part of the farm store area into a coffee shop in the future and provide laptop computers for patrons to use. She also wants to add a small bar area.

She is finding that Emmetsburg is a good place to live.

"It's a great place to raise a family," she said.

Another longtime Emmetsburg business, Mainstreet Memories Mall, is owned by business partners Laura Blanchet and Ardelle Connor.

They operate at the corner of Broadway and U.S. Highway 18. It's a busy location that often entices customers to stop. In addition, they've opened a second storefront a few doors down.

Plans to connect the two stores failed for engineering reasons.

"We got it full though," Blanchet said.

They've had a good year in the community last year, they said they had strong sales.

They are both optimistic for the their future in the community.

"We hope to sell a lot," Blanchet said.

Of course, a visit to Emmetsburg is not complete without a nod to the community's Irish heritage. The St. Patrick's Association of Emmetsburg operates an Irish-themed gift shop year-round and puts on the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. This year's event is on March 16.

A full schedule is posted on the website at



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