Hiawatha was incorporated 68 years ago with only a few city officials, a volunteer fire department, and a couple of businesses, including a trailer business owned by Fay Clark.
Today, the city boasts more than 300 businesses that includes restaurants, insurance companies, grocery stores, gift shops, banks, coffee shops, health care facilities, and a variety of other services.
According to the Hiawatha Economic Development Corporation (HEDCO) website, “Hiawatha is home to six of the Corridor Business Journal’s-Corridor’s fastest growing companies for the past three years.”
Comments made by members of the business community indicate that one reason Hiawatha is growing so rapidly is because of Interstate 380, which runs through the center of town. With the ability to go from the south end of Cedar Rapids to Hiawatha in a matter of minutes, consumers now have a variety of shopping destinations to choose from within both communities. The ease of access from the two major exit ramps, Blairs Ferry and Boyson roads, makes it easier than ever to locate what they’re looking for.
One Hiawatha business owner, who saw the potential for a growing business years ago, is Laura Frey, owner of Trendsetter Place, 1200 N. Center Point Road.
Frey sold homes in Hiawatha and Robins, while developing land and building homes with her husband for many years before deciding to open a boutique.
“A neighborhood boutique seemed like a natural fit,” she said. “Many of my clients who built with us, coming from other cities and states, would ask about shopping, and I thought the area needed more alternatives.”
Frey said she tends to think outside the box when it comes to women’s fashions. “I often go to LA and hand-select the clothing and accessories we sell in the store,” she said. “This way, we get the latest styles months earlier than if I were to order online or over the phone. The personal connections I make in LA also allow me to purchase items that would normally sell out before offered to the masses.”
Frey’s desire to help women in the community feel good about themselves is the motivation behind her venture. She opened her first boutique, LA Trends Addict, in 2015, and since then, has added several other shops to make Trendsetter Place a one-stop destination for ‘looking and feeling good’.
Frey owns several other business in the mini-mall including Luxe Salon (4 stylists – hair, hair extensions, lash lifts, mani/pedis and makeup), D’luxe spray tan, and Center Studio – a studio for rent, used for fitness and other meetings.
Other businesses occupy space in the building, including, Lashes by Colby, Frey Homes, and Hunter Appraisers.
When Frey isn’t looking for the next new fashion, she is hosting a variety of events, including girls’ nights out and fundraisers for charities.
“We participate in the boutique bus crawl that was an idea of Heidi Cordes from Lillian’s in Marion, with another coming up April 5,” she said. “Our last girls’ night out was a launch of Dollup beauty (locally owned by Nikki Hynek) as we are now selling her products at LA Trends Addict and Luxe. It was a successful and fun night.”
Frey is planning a new venture, which will be introduced this summer and will be launched this fall, called ‘Pop up with Purpose.’
“We also have vendor fairs with other stores, with the next one coming up April 22. I enjoy collaborating with the other boutiques and locally-owned businesses to support one another.”
City Administrator, Kim Downs, said retail shops like Frey’s are starting to pop up all over the city, including along Center Point, Robins, Miller, and Boyson Roads. They are joining the growing number of small businesses that see Hiawatha’s market potential, as well as a great place to raise their families. And with the addition of Town Village Center, the growing number of retail businesses are expected to rise even more.
“Supporting local businesses not only helps small business owners thrive, but it help the community, as well.”
A list of Hiawatha businesses can be found on HEDCO’s website at http://www.hedco.org. And for more information about LA Trend Addict, visit their Facebook page or website at http://www.latrendsaddict.com.