Made in Iowa

By: Sarah Deircks, Center for Business Growth and Innovation

In honor of Oct. 6th being manufacturing day, and the whole month of October being manufacturing month, I decided to compile a list of unique products most people probably didn’t know were manufactured right here in Iowa. I think most people will be surprised to find out that according to Iowa Economic Development, Manufacturing, (not ag), is surprisingly the top industry in Iowa, generating a 17.8% of our GOP. Hopefully you’ll be as amazed as I was at the really cool things our state creates.

Fire Farm Inc.

Fire Farm, planting down in the small town of Elkader in northeastern Iowa, takes a unique spin on a common household item, lamps. They “Craft light and material in unique ways to define space and emotion.” Fire Farm sure lives up to that! With their client custom capabilities, they can transform anything from the sun, to jellyfish, to abstract, into a light fixture.

Heartland Emu Coop

Yeah, you read that right, we have emus in Iowa. I had no idea! With 10 members all located in Iowa, they offer a variety of emu products including emu meat, eggs, and beauty products, such as soaps, lotions, and oils, which many people rave about the great skin and health effects. If you’re interested in the back-end of things you can contact a member in your area to get a tour of their farm.


They don’t use large automated machinery, but instead, each piece of stationery they make is handled by one of their creative staff, bringing a different take to a mature idea. You may not know, but this up-and-coming letterpress was started, and continues to do their uncommon practice in Aubudon, a small community in western Iowa. The process, including using a century-old letterpress, painting on large sheets of paper, and dip-dyeing is one to be read.


Woofables is a small, family run bakery, that you may be able to guess from the name, is for your furry, cuddly, best friends. With 2 taste-testers (their dogs, Ruby and Oscar) by their side, the founders, Kathleen Potts and Lara Moore, create from scratch and only human-grade ingredients, to create uniquely shaped and decorated dog treats. They boast, “At Woofables, you will find treats and products that are as unique and fun as each our our tail-wagging friends.” They do look unique, with squirrel, pizza, and fire hydrants as some of their shapes. “Bone” Appetite.

Schumacher Elevator

Schumacher Elevator, began in 1936 as a machine shop in the small town of Denver, IA (hometown represent!). Since they opened, they have acquired companies across the midwest and now have several service locations, with their headquarters still in Denver. Schumacher Elevator manufactures residential, hydraulic, traction, and personal elevators. With a limited number competitors across the globe, chances are you’ve stepped into one of their elevators.

If you’re a manufacturer make sure to look around your area for networking events and workshops in the month of October to help you as you grow. For a chance to be featured on IASourceLink’s Facebook page this month, drop us an email or something in the comments telling us about the product you manufacture.

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