Lynn Peaster of Kountry Kupboard in Osage, IA is featured in the “Entrepreneurship in Action” column in the Summer/Fall 2018 edition of Community College Entrepreneurship, the quarterly journal of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). Lynn was also recently recognized as the Pappajohn Center Entrepreneur of the Month for May 2018 and was an Iowa SBDC Small Business of the Month nominee.

Retail Entrepreneur Bolsters Business Success

The seeds of entrepreneurship were sewn early in Lynn Peaster, founder and owner of Kountry Kupboard, a coffee, bakery and dry goods retail store on Main Street in Osage, Iowa. He founded the business in 2001, and in 2008 became a client of the NIACC Pappajohn Center and North Iowa Area SBDC when seeking to expand  his business. Ten years later, Kountry Kupboard is a good example of a traditional retail business finding success by staying true to its identity while carefully expanding into unknown territory. Specializing in classic homemade food and coffee, it also offers bulk natural foods and packaged gluten-free products – a unique combination of traditional and innovative modern products that can sometimes be hard to find in many rural Iowa stores.

Peaster enrolled in the FastTrac course (now known as Launch & Grow), a ten-week program for entrepreneurs held on the NIACC campus. He developed his business plan for expansion during FastTrac and put it into action shortly after completing the program. Peaster also worked with community partners, including the Osage Chamber of Commerce.

“I am grateful and thankful for the opportunity to go through the classes at the Pappajohn Center and have worked with them since I started my business,” said Peaster. “I have learned many useful tools for making my business successful.”

In May, NIACC’s Pappajohn Center and North Iowa Area SBDC named Peaster Entrepreneur of the Month. “I could not be more proud to have such a strong business leader in our community win
this award,” said Kati Henry, executive director of the Osage Chamber of Commerce. “Lynn and his staff work tirelessly – especially around holidays – and you’ll never catch him with a frown on his face. He greets his customers with a smile, and often by name. He’s very much involved with the many programs and events we offer through the chamber and is always willing to help out however he can. We really are blessed to have him and his business in our community.”

“Lynn is a great client – coachable, dedicated, and always identifying and acting on new opportunities for his business,” said Brook Boehmler, regional director of the North Iowa Area SBDC: “Lynn is a true entrepreneur and a leader in the community. He has done great things and we can’t wait to see how he continues to grow Kountry Kupboard.”

Peaster used the resources of the NIACC Pappajohn Center and North Iowa Area SBDC, including one-on-one business counseling and Entrepreneurial Exchange workshops. The reinvigoration of
rural towns is ongoing in many Midwest towns. The success of hometown businesses like Kountry Kupboard is a great example of how one business can continue to positively affect its entrepreneurial ecosystem.