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Business

Life on the mat

Missouri transplant opens martial arts gym for kids, adults

NORTH LIBERTY– When Ben Brown was a kid, he just wanted to be a ninja. Now, he hopes to help other kids on their way to fulfilling that dream.
And, the grown-ups are invited.
“I hear often that adults would love to train for various reasons, it’s a good workout, it sounds fun, or they just want to defend themselves,” said Brown. “But they just feel weird standing next to a 9-year-old. I get that completely.”

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Stop and sell the flowers

North Liberty woman in year one of backyard floral operation

NORTH LIBERTY– A quiet, floral oasis lies undiscovered in the heart of North Liberty but flower enthusiast Jennifer Hobbs hopes to change that.
Disturbed only by the occasional hum of a lawnmower or barking dog, Five Petal Farm is in its first official year selling fresh cut flowers, dried bouquets and more– all grown on less than an acre of urban dirt.
“There’s so much you can do with your yard instead of going out and mowing grass,” said Hobbs, who has very little lawn of her own to cut.

Breathing room

North Liberty Family Health Centre moves, expands

NORTH LIBERTY– Care providers, responsible for making their patients happy and healthy, should be happy and healthy themselves, right?
The staff at North Liberty Family Health Centre (NLFHC) thought so. After 21 years at its location on West Cherry Street, owners of the independent practice decided to move into a space with, literally, a little more legroom.
“We just had staff members sitting on top of one another,” said Dr. Natalie (Tally) Hempy. “We were all getting carpal tunnel. We were always twisting to look at each other and our patients.”

Stop and sell the flowers

Five Petal Farm in year one of backyard floral operation

NORTH LIBERTY– A quiet, floral oasis lies undiscovered in the heart of North Liberty but flower enthusiast Jennifer Hobbs hopes to change that.
Disturbed only by the occasional hum of a lawnmower or barking dog, Five Petal Farm is in its first official year selling fresh cut flowers, dried bouquets and more– all grown on less than an acre of urban dirt.
“There’s so much you can do with your yard instead of going out and mowing grass,” said Hobbs, who has very little lawn of her own to cut.

A tired dog is a happy dog

Puppy Love Doggie Daycare provides canines companionship

NORTH LIBERTY– Just across the city limit line on Mehaffey Bridge Road is a small blue and white farmhouse where area canines congregate daily for fun, exercise and companionship while their humans tend to the demands of their working day. The house is home to Puppy Love Doggie Daycare, a labor of love and the brainchild of Tina Tiainen and her husband, Adam.
The couple opened the canine clubhouse in December.

RJ’Z Express reopens with new Godfather’s

SOLON– Randy Walter is happy to be back open.
The co-owner of the RJ’Z Express convenience store waited five months to reopen his new building, and now it’s here.
Walter and his partners John Himmelsbach and Tom Zumsande made the decision to tear down the existing building in order to expand its retail and food opportunities.
“Being locally owned, we wanted to serve the Solon community better,” Walter said.
The business closed at the end of November and the walls came down in December.

Lawyers come together to open new law firm

Clark & Schroeder specializes in any type of law that involves a courtroom

NORTH LIBERTY– Attorneys Michael Clark and Scott Schroeder have known each other for more than 25 years. They both attended the University of Iowa as undergraduates then went to Drake University Law School together. In the past 21 years of being prosecuting attorneys, Clark and Schroeder estimate they had 100 or more cases against each other.

Making pizza as a family

New owners of Maddi B’s Take N’ Bake Pizza Co. pass down values

SWISHER– Many people find a business they love and become a regular. Shawn Irons goes one step beyond: she buys the business.
That’s how she happened upon her newest business, Maddi B’s Take N’ Bake Pizza Co., a quaint little pizzeria and ice cream shop in Swisher. Eat-in booths were just added, along with a chalkboard wall for kids to draw on, making it a fun place for families to kick back and relax.
Since Irons and her family live within a mile of Maddi B’s, she said they frequently drove past the pizzeria. Every time Irons thought, “I just love this little place.”

Little taco, big dream

New restaurateurs bring Central American cuisine to North Liberty

NORTH LIBERTY– Mexican restaurants are a stone’s throw away in most U.S. cities, but Central American food is much harder to come by.
That’s no longer the case for North Liberty residents, who can now dine on fried plantains, yucas, pickled cabbage and more at El Taquito, a new Mexican-Central American fusion restaurant located in Beaver Kreek Centre.
“I know there are already several Mexican restaurants here in town, but we decided to focus on different foods so we wouldn’t be so much of a competition,” said El Taquito owner Maribel Romero.

On the Flip side

North Liberty salon has new owner, new look, and some new stylists

NORTH LIBERTY– Aubrey Holsinger has a vision of beauty.
She also has short-term and long-term goals, an optimistic attitude and a lot of energy– all traits she has put to use in re-imagining Flip Salon and Spa in North Liberty.
Located in Beaver Kreek since 2002, Flip Salon has been treating customers to hair makeovers, massages and manicures for quite some time. Holsinger bought the business almost one year ago, just seven weeks before she was due to give birth to her first child.

Personal reflections

T Marie Portraits and Photo Booth offers the special touch

By Lori Lindner
North Liberty Leader
SWISHER– What started as a hobby for Swisher resident Tracy Griffin has turned into not just a career, but a reflection of her passion and personality.
Griffin is the owner and chief photographer of T Marie Portraits and Photo Booth.
About eight years ago, Griffin and her family were hiking through Palisades Park on a nice fall afternoon, and she happened to have a camera with her. She took photos of her children to commemorate the day.

The Doctors are in (Tiffin)

Pet Health Center of Tiffin is open and ready to care for your furry folks

TIFFIN— Pets are often more than just furry or feathered friends; to many, they’re family.
For decades people took their pets to the Oxford Veterinary Clinic in Oxford, where veterinarians such as Dr. Bill Rugger, Dr. Kristi Anderson, Dr. Jonelle Hankner, Dr. Susan Kula (Jacobson) and Dr. Nicole Kogan cared for a variety of creatures, both large and small. The Oxford clinic is now history, replaced by a new, state-of-the-art facility on the west side of Tiffin.