MASON CITY, Iowa - Katie Wold, the owner of Market 124, recalls why she started her store in Downtown Mason City.
"I'm an artist and wanted a place to sell my stuff, and it was hard to find that, and I knew there were other artists in the same position I was in. I wanted to be able to support other artists, other businesses and be able to grow, give them a foothold in the Mason City area if they were able to, that'd be great."
She's been in business for almost 8 years, and has faced some minor bumps, but perservered through them all. And even in a changing retail landscape, Wold believes that businesses must look at adapting and evolving.
"I think a lot of stores are actually going towards an experience. If you can bring your family in and have time with them and hang out with your friends and enjoy the atmosphere that you're in, I think that's important. That's a big part of retail now."
Recently, a coffee shop was added, with the pottery area being moved into a vacant storefront next door.
"I think in business you always have to be looking for the next thing, especially in retail since we're not ag related. I think it's really important having something new."
Wold's store is one of the over 90,000 businesses owned by women in the Hawkeye State. And more women are joining in, according to the most recent State of Women-Owned Business Report from American Express. Nationwide, the number of female-owned businesses increased 21% from 2014-2019, 13 million overall. Iowa itself is ranked 24th in terms of the amount of businesses owned by females.
For Pinoy Asian Market, Marilyn and T.R. Sammis got their store up and running around 3 years ago. Marilyn saved startup money from her previous job at Smithfield, and T.R. already had some business experience, so it made perfect sense to open a market that's serving customers near and far for items, such as Filipino food, that may be hard to find locally.
"We have customers from Manly, Forest City...we get people even from the Mississippi even specifically for the Filipino food. There are other Asian stores up in Austin or Albert Lea or Cedar Falls, but none of them have all the specific Filipino foods that we do."
If you want to join the world of business, the Sammis' share some advice.
"If you don't know how to fill out the paperwork, find out someone that can do it for you. That sounds a little simple, but it's pretty important to get your licenses in order," T.R. adds jokingly.
Total revenue growth has grown 21% to $1.9 trillion.
In addition, Iowa is ranked 15th in job growth at female-owned businesses, 19th in business' revenue growth, and 40th in adding new female-owned businesses.