« February 2007 | Main | April 2007 »

little italy of Sherman hill

Cdshousetwo The venue was romantic and Saturday night’s weather sublime. It was the first evening of spring-like temperatures after a brutal winter. We traveled to the Sherman Hill district to eat at Café di Scala where the historical architecture and eclectic community provide an energy that is unique to this part of Des Moines. Café di Scala resides in a house on a prominent corner hill on Woodland offering an intimate view of the neighborhood and specializing in southern Italian food. 

We were some of the first diners for the night as we nestled in with a couple of glasses of refreshing Proseco. The bold interior colors of rust, red, dusty yellow, and olive green grew subtle as the light of dusk came through the bay windows of this Victorian mansion. Our waitress was efficient and helpful and we learned that Anthony, the owner, was out for the evening on a catering event. We brought along a special bottle of Brunello di Montelcino to accompany our dinner, and after our server opened it we let the wine breathe as we got acquainted with the menu. 

For an appetizer we started with Crostini alla Rustica, slices of toasted South Union baguette topped with roasted red pepper coulis and baked goat cheese. This was finished with capers and drizzled with balsamic reduction. It was a flavorful, tangy and crunchy beginning to our meal that complimented the last sips of our sparkling Proseco. Cdsapp_2

David and I then each have Insallata, a salad of field greens, cucumber, and red onion, mixed with tangy oil and vinegar dressing and then topped with pieces of parmesan. The pricing and sizes on the salad choices were a welcome relief to the often expensive prices we encounter when everything is sold ala cart.Cdsinsallta

Cdspork For the main course David ordered the Mailae Ripieno, gorgonzola stuffed pork tenderloin topped with a crimini port reduction served with seasonal vegetable and lemon renoni risotto. The pork tenderloin was tender and delicious with a sweet and tangy finish and just the right level of mild gorgonzola. The crimini port reduction and mushroom garnish was deep in flavor and richly satisfying, the perfect touch for the tasty fresh green beans and lemon risotto.

CdsfiletI selected the Manzo con uno di Rosso or filet of beef seared and pan roasted. The steak was topped with a red wine proscutto sauce and served with the seasonal vegetable (green beans) and stuffed baked potato. The meat was juicy and had a touch of pepper zing. I ordered it medium but it seemed more medium well but it was still quite tender and delicious. I liked the mini stuffed potatoes which provided just enough starch for me to enjoy without feeling guilty for over-indulging in a starch portion.

Interestingly we generally are used to having bread served with our meal but that must not be a standard here at Café di Scala. When we asked for bread, our server said she “could find something”, which she did, and she served us some fresh and chewy artesian bread and butter. 

CdsinteriortwoWe didn’t hang around for the music portion of the evening, although we hear that the jazz offered up later is always very good. We decided to enjoy a coffee on our back deck to savor this first warm burst of spring. It was a great meal, and overall Café di Scala serves delicious upscale selections and a distinctive neighborhood restaurant experience.  Pricing is in line with the other more upscale establishments in Des Moines but the ambiance provides a point of departure from many of those other fine restaurants. Café di Scala is a lovely place to spend time away from it all. 

locally owned and operated

Isbwithstephenhenry I went to Iowa State Bank in downtown Des Moines last week to open our first business account. I have a soft place in my heart for Iowa State Bank because a year ago I called and spoke with Stephen Henry who is president of the bank. I explained that I had this little newsletter featuring small locally owned businesses and I was just starting out and looking for places to put printed copies. He said that at Iowa State Bank they like to support locally owned businesses and would be glad have copies in each of their branches.

Each time we've put out an issue Stephen usually follows up with affirming feedback. Here is the video of me opening our dsmBUZZ business account. Steve and Becky were really great sports about the video and photos. The video is edited in Jumpcut so I could splice the two clips together. Jumpcut seems very user friendly but I still haven't figured out exactly how to use it yet. I don't like having the edit button there.

dsmBUZZ is trying to perk people to buy locally owned. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the great perk of meeting wonderful people as I work to build the dsmBUZZ network. Get to know the people who own the locally owned stores and pretty soon I care more about supporting their efforts. I like that kind of consumerism.

Same thing about the blog network. I admit to not always getting out to read and comment because the abundance of information is so overwhelming but when I do I'm always amazed by what people think and know.

There are just so many fun things to do and learn. I don't know if I'll be able to attend the SOBconference in May yet. It sounds like a wonderful event but I don't know if I'll have the cash or time to do it. I may have to reap the wealth from all the blogs that will be circulating.

Entrepreneur drug

This morning at about 7:30 there was this incredible rain storm. Lightening flashed, thunder rumbled, and the water showered down like the sky was dumping its accumulated bucket all at once. I rested in the quasi-light of the moment and tried to store the memory. More often these days, I wonder if I'm appreciating this life I've got enough. 

Empty_nest My guess is that there is a universality of reaching a certain age and finding oneself an "empty nester." Not that I was a totally absorbed mother in the first place, but it is hard to break loose of worrying, nagging, pestering, and prying in my newly adult children's lives. That's probably why entrepreneurship has been such a gift for them and me. Being busy, and having fun being busy is an intoxicating distraction.

But can I get too high on the drug of busy? David is sending messages that perhaps I've gotten a little maniacal in my activity with dsmBUZZ. It is just so FUN. Meeting great people, spreading a meaningful message is interesting. Can anyone recommend a support group for the partners of entrepreneurs?

The dsmBUZZ merchant decals are printed and available for network merchants. Here is Jeff at Sammie Jacks placing the decal on the front window. I'm sort of bummed that I couldn't find decals with adhesive on the image side so that they could be placed on the inside of the window. I need help finding the right vendor and of course the challenge of finding a local vendor is especially of interest to me.Decal_placed_by_jeff

This week I spoke for the first time on the subject of buying locally due to an invitation extended by the Holistic Moms Network. This is a great group of families who already are very aware of the issues of buying local so they were a generous audience for my first presentation. I got the chance to hold a beautiful baby while one mom and co-chair Jessica set up tables. This takes David and I back to when we had little ones. David sat patiently and listened to the presentation yet again to provide feedback and take photos.

Speaking_to_holistic_moms Interesting conversations with The Greater Partnership staff this week at a meeting for small business. There is a distinction to be made between buying local versus buying locally owned. Not that dsmBUZZ is anti-corporate but we are pro locally owned and that means providing support as we can. Looking for a speaker on the subject? We're ready to present.

nest photo by gin able, powered by flickr

An interview with Christine McNunn of Fair World Gallery

Christinemcnunn Christine McNunn of Fair World Gallery was gracious enough to spend a bit of time with the dsmBUZZ pod cast Entrepreneur People-Real Stories today. She shared her story of how she got into the business of owning and operating a Fair Trade Shop here in Des Moines, Iowa.

Christine is an excellent resource for helping us understand the positive impact that fair trade can have on the global economy, the environment, and bringing economic justice to exploited peoples of the world.

Download fair_world_gallery.wma

Pure Paper

412 E. 6th St. Des Moines (East Village) 515.255.3533

Pure Paper transforms one-dimensional communication into multi-dimensional statements that represent you. Whether it is a signature wedding invitation or one-of-a-kind small business solution Pure Paper creates defining pieces that convey your unique message. 

Services include but are not limited to:

  • Exquisite wedding invitations
  • Custom graphic design
  • Small Business Solutions
  • Company Identities

Pure Paper also offers an assortment of beautiful hand-made papers, unique gifts and stationery items. Come visit us in our current location at 412 E. 6th St. and take advantage of special offers available at this time as we prepare to move to our new location.

We look forward to creating outside the box with you!

Pure Paper . 6601 University Ave..Windsor Heights, Iowa . 515.255.3533

Grounds for Celebration

Grounds George and Jan Davis are great hosts. At Grounds for Celebration they and their knowledgeable staff prepare for your visit. You can get fresh roasted coffee, loose leaf teas, and an assortment of artisan baked items made each day.  Grounds for celebration is the “neighborhood place” for the morning commune with other coffee lovers and friends.

Grounds is also a unique and relaxing lunch destination. You can renew your energy with a crisp salad or delicious sandwich and then linger over the best part of the meal-dessert. Savor a flavorful scoop or two of homemade Gelato prepared in the Italian tradition. At Grounds the focus on celebration means every effort is made to make your experience special.

A unique part of the Grounds for Celebration story is that Jan and George decided to become coffee farmers. Two years ago they started their own coffee farm in Panama to control the quality of the product from the very beginning. You can read stories and see photos of their experience.

Grounds for Celebration has several neighborhood locations including Beaverdale, Windsor Heights, and West Des Moines. Drive-thru access for your convenience located at Windsor Heights and Beaverdale. WiFi is available.

got tweaked? get cheese

Weekends are supposed to be downtime but we got a lot of tweaking done to the dsmBUZZ web site. Take a look and tell us what you think. We were fortunate to have the help of a family member who was able to complete our wish list of stuff in a flash.

Cheeseplatter_1 We did take some downtime to watch a documentary on the cheese makers of Wisconsin. What a blast and very interesting. If you enjoy the wonderful world of cheese we highly recommend you take a look at "Living on the Wedge" . If you like it would you request to IPTV that they show it for others here in Iowa?

With the thaw we're starting to think about spring and summer and of course farmers markets. We're trying to see if we can be an occasional booth at some of these venues. We're learning that there are lots of licenses involved though. The process that growers and food suppliers have to go through to sell their product at the markets is expensive and rigorous.

Speaking of locally grown produce...we found Local Harvest which is a great resource if you want to get involved in a program to gain access to locally grown foods year round. Take a look at this robust and useful resource if you want something fresh around the time of next February.

dsmBUZZ is on the lookout for info about buy local campaigns elsewhere and folks speaking to this subject. If you know of anyone or hear or see something that might be pertinent let us know!

Get perked when you buy local

Hi and welcome to dsmbuzz where we are working to encourage consumers to buy local through membership perks. We've united with locally owned small businesses who want to provide an extra incentive when you buy from them. These merchants have banded together in the dsmBUZZ network  which is growing all the time. For only $10 annually you become a member of dsmBUZZ and gain access to all the perks available from the merchants.

Get perked when you buy local

In addition to the perks you can also play the game we feature each quarter called Guess That Small Business. We present clues of a small business that is in the dsmBUZZ network. As a member you can guess as often as you like until you get the answer. Once you have identified the business you win a prize. It's an extra fun value just for becoming a dsmBUZZ member.

Subscribe to the free newsletter to keep track of the growing merchant network and keep looking at the network page of our site to learn where you can get perked. Buzz_decal_1

Do you have a favorite locally owned business? Let us know at sherry@dsmbuzz.com and we'll invite that business to join. We're interested in your suggestions. Any other ideas for ways to improve dsmBUZZ? Let us know those ideas too. We're interested in your thoughts to improve our program.


Eden1_2 Hi, I'm Jennifer Hansen. 
I've always imagined opening my own shop. 
Starting at about the age of 6 I got the selling bug when my family held a garage sale.  From that year on I would run an annual garage sale with my mom.  My retail career would officially start at the ripe age of 16 at Younkers in Bettendorf, Iowa.  I continued with Younkers in college and worked at the Iowa City store.  Following college I made the big move to Des Moines to work in the corporate buying office.  I learned so much in my time at Younkers, but after working there my entire adult life it was time to do something different.  When Younkers closed the Des Moines buying office in 2003 it was official.  Time to start a new chapter in life.

My husband John heard about the vacant storefront in the east village (we did not even know it was called the east village then) through a friend.   
The quaint space was located right next door to American Plumbing (the best plumbing supply co in the world...you must go!) and immediately the space screamed to be a bath shop.  I've always been drawn to little independently owned bath shops and there were none of its kind in Des Moines so with the help and support of my husband John, friends, and family, I set out to create my shop.

The boutique would be called eden.
People always ask me why eden?  I love the name.  It's clean and simple. 
Filled with choice lines (Kiehl's, Fresh, L'OCCITANE, Diptyque, Kai to  name a few) that are hard to find in Iowa, we have seen eden grow to become more than just a store, but a true destination.  I'm always on the hunt for the next best thing.  We hope to continue to evolve, bringing you the best of the best in the years to come.

Please join us on our journey.

500 east grand  in the east village  515.282.0669

Roosevelt Shopping center, what's up with that?

Picture_084 Roosevelt Shopping Center is emptying of some occupants. I pretty much think I understand the causes behind Reichardt's. The business clothing industry has changed so much in the last 20 years. I worked at Mr. B's for a year selling women's suits right out of college and remember the silk bow ties and expensive suit uniform everyone had to wear. The knitting shop in the center only lasted a year I think. The uniform shop maybe two or so. My question is how come things turn over so much here? Picture_083_2

Picture_086 Commercial real estate is such a huge interest for lots of banks and yet as I drive around there are lots of buildings with empty space. Can someone explain to me how come? Why do we continue to expand commercial real estate? Don't understand it.

Pict0027 I stopped in at Joie De Vie for an interview with owner Randa Le Jeune. I assumed it would be a pretty standard interview experience but I hadn't factored in Randa. Nothing is less than spectacular when it involves Randa and her panache for entertainment.

This elegantly dressed woman greeted me at the door as the music of Edith Piaf flowed along the airwaves mingled with the scent of baked pastry. She escorted me into the ornately decorated solarium where a cake in the shape of the Eiffel Tower, a hot pot of brewed tea, and a tiered tray of nuts and fresh fruit sat waiting. All of this with teacups and saucers and crystal glasses with a bit of wine greeted me as well. Randa is a natural story teller. Look for a piece on this unique tearoom and dining experience in the spring issue of Small Business Buzz.

or call 515-274-6703.


  • Google

Powered by TypePad
Legal | InMindMatters

Contact dsmBUZZ at 515-274-6703
Webpage Maintained by Cañas Consulting, a locally owned business