Loebsack hears concerns of Isabel Bloom owners


Share
Posted Online: Jan. 09, 2013, 5:26 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
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."
























 




Local events heading








  Today is Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.




(More History)