2011 Fairfield Business Edge

Have you ever found yourself trying to come up with words to describe Fairfield to someone who’s never had a “Fairfield experience?” Or do you have friends who raise their eyebrows when you try to explain to them that Fairfield really is a model community for entrepreneurship and sustainability initiatives nationwide? It’s widely known that Fairfield’s vibrant community is something unique for a city of its size, regardless of state or geographic region. But wouldn’t we all like to know more of the behind-the-scenes stories that answer the question: What makes Fairfield Fairfield?

After nearly a year in production, the 2011 Fairfield Edge magazine is now available. This review of Fairfield’s innovative business sector, published by the Fairfield Entrepreneurs Association, gives an overview of over 40 Fairfield businesses and nonprofit organizations—big and small, new and old.

Telling the stories of “invention, innovation, reinvention and commitment to sustainability” that have turned Fairfield into the entrepreneurial capital of the Midwest, this 72-page color magazine features the following categories: Art-Based Businesses; Consumer Products and e-Retailers; Innovative Manufacturers and Distributors; Financial Services and Energy Brokerage; Advertising, Electronic Media and Publishing; Local Living Economy; World-Class Business Support Services; Wellness and Alternative Heath Care; Fairfield’s Asset Quilting; and Fairfield’s Future Trends.

Who knew that 110-year old Harper Brush Works has made a commitment to a zero carbon footprint and that one of their fastest growing products is an eco-friendly line of brooms and brushes made out of recycled plastic? Or, how Dexter Apache has increased the water and energy efficiency of their commercial laundry products by 20% and 60%, respectively, over the last six years.

Ever heard of “flat hive management?” It’s the term Bill Witherspoon, founder of Sky Factory, uses to describe the unique management style he practices: no bosses, only teams. And while you may shop at Everybody’s Whole Foods for the selection of organic produce, local baked goods, and the bulk spice section, did you know that founders, Paul Praither and John Dey, are just as committed to helping youth develop resume-building skills and supporting the local arts as they are to their bottom-line?

While many people know that Way Off Broadway is the only professional musical theater company in the state, who knew that the legacy of musical theater in Fairfield dates back to the 1920s and 30s? Universal Producing Company in Fairfield had a 1,000 touring directors, mostly women, who organized live community theater in towns across the country. Today, Way Off Broadway shows feature Broadway actors combined with the finest talent in the Midwest, performing everything from “classic favorites to cutting-edge new works. “

“The history of innovation in Fairfield goes back 150 years, but picked up steam in the last two decades of the 20th Century,” says Fairfield Edge editor, Burt Chojnowski (That's me). “There are so many local companies that have defied the odds and pursued ‘blue ocean’ strategies of creating and defining new markets or product innovation. Many of those companies like Hawthorne Direct, Creative Edge or Cambridge Investment Research lead or flat-out dominate their competitors.”

The introduction of the Fairfield Edge tells the Fairfield story, highlighting Fairfield’s competitive strategies and secrets to success as well as offering a few insights into Fairfield’s entrepreneurial class and passion-driven community. The rest of the magazine is comprised of half- or full-page profiles of businesses and organizations, ranging from Farm Bureau Financial Services, Green Building Supply, Frontline Printing and Design, and Sunny Brook Assisted Living to the Fairfield Musicians Club, Hometown Harvest of Southeast Iowa, and the Green Business Council.

The publication also includes the list of the following annual awards: Fairfield First! Awards, Fairfield Entertainers of the Year, Fairfield Volunteer of the Year, the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, and Entrepreneur of the Year.

With graphic design by Liz Howard, the Fairfield Edge includes incredible unpublished photographs of Fairfield by Werner Elmker, Guy Harvey and Rick Donhauser. Available for $4.95 at the Chocolate Cafe, the At Home Store and Revelations.