We’re making our mark in Mount Ayr!

Dreamer: Brad Elliott Winner

Business: Podium Ink

Location: Mount Ayr, IA

Industry Contest: South Central Iowa 2013

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Location, location, location. What was once a dictating factor in a business model became an opportunity for Podium Ink in Mount Ayr, Iowa. Led by young entrepreneurs Brad Elliott and Burton Murphy, our graphic design firm addresses untapped local and virtual markets - direct from Small Town, USA. We are truly breaking the mold of location dictating your dreams.

When most 20-somethings were trying to find their first job, we were building the foundation to create more career opportunities in our community by doing what we love, where we love – helping meet and exceed the marketing goals of our diverse client roster. After a short seven years, driving throughout the Midwest is now like experiencing a segment of our Podium Ink ‘art gallery.’ We have a client base ranging from the Dow Chemical Company to the Twin Rivers Tornadoes 4-H Club, and cover more than a dozen states. From car wraps to banners, t-shirts to logo creation, the design team’s imaginations have melded with customer requests to address the many needs of schools, organizations and businesses; however, we know our potential is far from reaching its pinnacle.

It is truly a dream come true.

But like many dreams, you often wake up to a harsher reality. Ours is the equipment limitations that are impacting Podium Ink’s in-house offerings. With a small but potent staff of six full-time employees and an intern, our booming small business is in need of an equipment line expansion to operate more efficiently and provide an extended product line. Podium Ink must currently do time-intense, manual set-up to produce small batch t-shirts and other items, or else outsource the production, which reduces our ability to accommodate certain customer needs. Ultimately, this business challenge prevents us from broadening our client base, thus impacts our ability to increase our workforce.

To overcome our challenge, we are saving for this $35,000 investment; however, we will be taking on a large lending burden to address this crucial equipment need. By obtaining additional funding, we see immediate employment opportunities, can grow our overall product catalogue and keep business in South Central Iowa.

Beyond aiming for and achieving our business objectives, we are proud of the benefits this will lend to our community and the image of rural America. The growth of our business is helping redefine what the modern small town Main Street looks like while sustaining the work ethic and pride that defines Iowa.
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