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UPDATE: #CedarValleyStrong movement supporting local businesses picks up in the Cedar Valley

UPDATE (May 5, 2020):

The #CedarValleyStrong movement has picked up by the week and the next effort is The Great Cedar Valley Gift Certificate Sale, happening Saturday, May 9.

"We are crowd-sourcing funds to provide discounted gift certificates for small businesses that go on sale this Saturday. We're also partnering up with Grow Cedar Valley and Maddie Poppe for a virtual concert this Friday," said founder, Heath Wilken.

Wilken says they'll also be giving away $4,000 of locally-purchased products to help spread the news. Visit the Cedar Valley Strong Facebook page to take part.


Original story (March 24, 2020):

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - In a time of great uncertainty due to the coronavirus outbreak, the #CedarValleyStrong movement is stepping in to help local businesses.

The mission:

Over the coming weeks and months, our favorite restaurants, hotels, shops, salons, theaters, markets and other hardworking Cedar Valley businesses right here in Iowa are going to see a decline in visitors.

But we can help in other ways: ordering food to go, shopping online and buying gift cards TODAY for use at a later date. Gift cards equal immediate cash flow. And cash flow is the lifeblood of our local businesses.

#CedarValleyStrong is a movement to buy gift cards and/or online items that can either be picked up or delivered now in the Cedar Valley area!

It all began on March 15 with Heath Wilken, who runs Cedar Falls Laser Engraving, LLC.

"I thought about how quickly people's actions and behaviors were changing (or were about to change) and the impact on the local economy. The first thing that came to mind was local businesses and how hard most were likely to be hit by this from a financial perspective," Wilken said in an email to KWWL.

That afternoon, Wilken created a page on his company's website dedicated to #CedarValleyStrong. He reached out to ten to 15 local small businesses and added them to the website. The support and response was immediate and, with the help of Danny Laudick from Red Cedar, a new website became a reality last week: 

By visiting the Cedar Valley Strong website, you can shop locally by category. This is everything from food & drink and retail to professional services and farm & produce. You can also add your local business to become a part of the movement.

Additionally, visit the Cedar Valley Strong Facebook page to take part.

Click here to see other KWWL #IowaStrong stories on our website.

Abby Turpin

Evening Anchor

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