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Main Street Ottumwa Honored at Main Street Iowa Development Awards

Award Winning Projects, Entrepreneurs and Volunteers Honored

April 29, 2024 - Main Street Iowa hosted the annual Main Street Iowa Development Awards celebration on April 19  in Des Moines. The program honors the efforts of local leaders who work tirelessly to revitalize Iowa’s downtowns and Main Street districts.

Main Street Ottumwa received the 2024 Spirit of Main Street Award, a prestigious honor awarded annually to an individual or community that truly demonstrates the spirit of Main Street at work in Iowa. The recognition honors their groundbreaking partnership with Main Street America, Main Street Iowa and Google through the Grow with Google initiative, which teaches local business owners and entrepreneurs the skills that are essential to reaching customers in today’s digital economy. The partnership impacted more than 1,000 businesses.

"It was an honor to be chosen by Main Street America as one community in ten states to host the Grow with Google program," said Fred Zesiger, Main Street Ottumwa Director. "The impact of the workshops was felt all across the state. Our Board and our Digital Coach, Lindsey Newland, was what made this project a resounding success."

Left to right: Michael Wagler (State Coordinator, Main Street Iowa), Fred Zesiger (Executive Director, Main Street Ottumwa) and Debi Durham (Director of Iowa Economic Development Authority)

Additionally, fourteen projects were recognized with Main Street Iowa Development Awards and 47 leadership award recipients were honored for exceptional leadership and volunteer contributions to their local Main Street programs. Ted and Dianne Haas were of the few who were recognized for their support of the local program through the creation of an endowment fund.

Matt Wagner, Main Street America’s Chief Program Officer, said this about the Spirit honoree. “At the height of the pandemic, Main Street America’s research identified that nearly two-thirds of small businesses did not have a digital presence. The Grow with Google digital coaches partnership with Main Street America was a direct reaction to meeting the needs of rural small businesses...and no other program in the country delivered like Main Street Ottumwa!

As one of ten local Main Street programs selected as Google hubs, Main Street Ottumwa reached thousands of small businesses across Iowa and over 6,000 nationally through their training program on “Understanding Your Customer Using Google Tools”.

“Main Street America salutes Lindsey, Fred, and the Main Street Ottumwa board of directors for their outstanding work in helping small businesses bridge the digital gap, creating impact throughout Iowa and our national network for years to come.”


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