Loebsack hears concerns of Isabel Bloom owners


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Posted Online: Jan. 09, 2013, 5:26 pm
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By Kelly Steiner, ksteiner@qconline.com
U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Mount Vernon, toured the Isabel Bloom factory in Davenport on Tuesday as part of his small business tour across Iowa. He talked to owners about what he can do in Washington to help them.

Rep. Loebsack watched workers pour concrete, add finishing touches and package the cement sculptures that are unique to the Quad-Cities. Afterward, he sat down with co-owners Bill Barrett and Cathy Nevins and asked what he could do to help.

"We can't absorb all of the ups and downs," Mr. Barrett said.

"Our No. 1 increase every year is health care," Ms.Nevins said. While health care won't be cut, Ms. Nevins is worried about effects the rising costs could have. "We want to do everything we can for the employees we have."

"We can't give them (employees) raises when we're paying all the overhead costs," Mr. Barrett said, adding that moving production overseas isn't an option. "We want to stay right here. We love it here." The previous owners planned to move production to China but changed their minds after a public outcry.

Rep. Loebsack told owners he understands the shaky economy makes it hard for small businesses.

"Certainty is absolutely critical. Uncertainty creates tremendous problems for business owners" because they can't plan ahead, he said. Rep. Loebsack plans to push for a long-term fiscal deal.

However, he predicted a continuation of the "food fight" between Democrats and Republicans over spending issues..

In the meantime, Isabel Bloom is doing well. Business is steady and no big changes are anticipated, the co-owners said. The purchased the venerable Quad-Cities business in October 2011.

The company was named one of the Quad City Chamber's small business of the year in 2012 and employs 66 at the factory, 33 of whom are full time.

Donna Young, a sculptor and another co-owner of Isabel Bloom, said she believes the product keeps getting passed on to future generations.

"It's more about the emotion in the piece," she said. Each sculpture has initials carved in the bottom to give it a more personal feel.

"It's become quite a home business for the Quad-Cities," Mr. Barrett said. "That's why we keep going. We have so many people who are involved in our product."
























 




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  Today is Tuesday, Sept 2, the 245th day of 2014. There are 120 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: It is estimated that 300,000 people attended the recent Democratic convention in Chicago when Gen. George B. McClellan of New Jersey was nominated as a candidate for president of the United States.
1889 — 125 years ago: Alderman Frank Ill, Winslow Howard and Captain J.M. Montgomery returned from Milwaukee, where they attended the national Grand Army of the Republic encampment.
1914 — 100 years ago: Three members of the Rock Island YMCA accepted positions as physical directors of other associations. Albert Cook went to Kewanee, C.D. Curtis to Canton and Willis Woods to Leavenworth, Kan.
1939 — 75 years ago: Former President Herbert Hoover appealed for national support of President F.D. Roosevelt and Congress in every effort to keep the United States out of war.
1964 — 50 years ago: The Rock Island Junior chamber pf Commerce has received answers to about 65 % of the 600 questionnaires mailed out recently in a "Community Attitude Survey" to analyze sentiments of citizens towards their city's various recreational, educational, and civic service programs.
1989 — 25 years ago: The two thunderstorms passing through the Quad Cities last night and early today left some area residents reaching for their flashlights.






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