National Small Business Week
The Iowa Source in Fairfield, Iowa
In the early 80s, Claudia Mueller was ready to leave the Chicago area and move to Fairfield. Like many who wanted to move to Fairfield in those days, finding a job wasn’t easy because the skill sets Claudia had didn’t necessarily translate into a job that was readily available in a small town in Iowa. Claudia also wanted that job to be satisfying and creative. She had an idea, and a $1,000 loan from her mother. Those were the seeds that grew into The Iowa Source. The first issue rolled out in March of 1984 as The Fairfield Source; eight pages of articles and ads that highlighted people and events in the community.
After only a year, Claudia was confident that she had found a niche that could provide her with a livelihood, so she quit her day job to focus on developing the magazine. With the moral and technical support of her journalist mother, the magazine continued to grow. In those early days, before desktop publishing became the norm, layout was accomplished by pasting up articles and ads onto large sheets that were delivered to the printer. In the early 2000s, the magazine went digital and in 2008 they added color to the print publications. The Iowa Source is now in its 35th year of publication, with a readership of more than 20,000 in print and online at iowasource.com. Pick up a free copy and you’ll see articles on everything from culture and healthy living to travel, technology, investing and food. One of the more popular areas of the magazine is a calendar where you can find out what’s happening each day of the month all over eastern and central Iowa.
Claudia admits she likes to be very hands-on in order to create the best possible publication, and she works hard to maintain a lean operation that keeps the business sustainable. Currently the only other employee is Meredith Siemsen, who joined the magazine about five years ago as an Associate Editor. Meredith is a familiar face in Fairfield, and in her free time can often be seen in productions staged by the Fairfield Area Community Theater. Rounding out the production are several delivery people and a dozen or so contributing writers. The magazine covers an area from Cedar Rapids down into southeast Iowa, as well as some happenings in the Des Moines area.
Claudia says she has no changes planned for the next few years and is hoping to weather the COVID-19 storm that has affected The Iowa Source and so many businesses in Iowa and across the world.
Pictured from left to right: Claudia Mueller and Meredith Siemsen
The U.S. Small Business Administration has postponed National Small Business Week; new dates will be announced soon. The Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce would still like to highlight five Fairfield Area businesses this week in celebration of Small Business Week.