In October of 2012 the Rieckhoff family launched three business in the NewBo City Market: Morgan Creek Fresh Produce, the Chill ice cream and CR Popcorn.
Robyn and Bill Riekhoff set off with a mission to teach their children, 14-year-old Sydney and 10-year-old Carter, about running a small business. The NewBo City Market had a mission too: incubate small businesses and "hatch" them out into the local economy.
"We were only in the market for 14 months– the full term of our first lease," Bill said. "We all learned so much. We had success in some areas, and lost money in others. We built a following based on a level of service. We had to move the vegetables back to the farm due to the short season, and the popcorn and ice cream found a home right across the street."
A business that was started as an educational tool for Sydney and Carter has now blossomed into Almost Famous Popcorn, one of the area's Fastest Growing Companies– as awarded by the Corridor Business Journal in 2019 and 2020.
"We are now in around 100 retail outlets, have a booming ecommerce business, and a new store in the East Village of Des Moines," Bill said. "We employ 45 people in our two stores and our production and fulfillment center in southwest Cedar Rapids."
The children went on to each earn college scholarships because of their business experiences.
"It's been a very rewarding ride," Bill said. "We are thankful that the NewBo City Market helped us get our start. We give back by mentoring people who have the drive to start their own business."
"Please support small business. In the NewBo City Market, in the Czech Village NewBo Main Street District and throughout Cedar Rapids and Eastern Iowa. Small business dollars stay in our community– please support the businesses in the Market and give them their chance to 'hatch'." Bill said.