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Wednesday, December 13, 2017


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Appanoose County has built a reputation as a young and growing community, reinvented into a thriving economy with a great quality of life.  However, the county is also steeped in a long and historical tradition of manufacturing.  The first coal mine in Centerville, Iowa opened in 1868.  The pioneering spirit, a key factor in reinvention, is alive in this county where the McKee Button factory, famous for pearl buttons, adapted to the modern age of plastic.  The Appanoose County Community Railroad, another example of rejuvenation, serving manufacturers, was built in 1983.  Appanoose County accommodates a mix of companies that have been in the area for over 30 years, as well as many recent additions.  It is a place of reinvention, and support of new ideas.  With a new Iowa Certified Site situated beside the shortline railroad, it is a place ready to grow.


Named one of the top five Outdoor Towns in America by Outdoor Magazine, Centerville boasts of being “in the middle of a sportsman's paradise,” (Editors 2012).  Four seasons of hunting is a draw for outdoors enthusiasts.  “ . . Centerville has some bona fide hunting pedigree: It's the original home of groundbreaking Knight muzzleloading rifles,” (Editors 2012).   The Governor’s Hunt, has quickly become a favorite of site selectors.  The hunt takes place at the Honey Creek Resort, one of the Midwest’s most exceptional resorts featuring outdoor recreation.


Indian Hills Community College, provides customized job training programs for local businesses. Appanoose County encompasses ten towns filled with community pride and several excellent school districts.  The Educators in the Workplace program puts teachers into manufacturing facilities, raising awareness for the needs of area businesses, and increasing partnerships with trade programs.  The addition of a new daycare, developed by Lee Container to benefit employees and the area at large, is one of many ways this county and the manufacturing community are focusing on catering to young, growing families.


Blake Waldrop, founder of RMA Armament Inc., chose Appanoose County as the location for his manufacturing facility because of the small-town atmosphere.  “Better working relationships and closer connections to community go along with a higher quality of life for families.”  Centerville has a vibrant downtown shopping area with all the traditional midwestern trappings.  The community hosts events well-attended by people from all over Southeast Iowa.  Think Pancake Days, parades, and parties in the charming downtown square.  Hard-working, welcoming, and civic-minded citizens fill this county making it truly a great place to operate a business.  Waldrop goes on to say, “in a bigger city, nobody cares.  If I have a problem I can make a couple of phone calls and get help.  That’s something you can only find in Centerville.”   Sarah Lind, the Executive Director of Appanoose Economic Development Corporation dedicates her time and energy to working with the established businesses in the area on expansion and retention.  This is a county that truly cares about the well-being of existing industry, and fostering a place where a young workforce can thrive.

Category: Awards and Recognition

Appanoose County Fast Facts

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