A northwest Iowa business owner is being named Iowa’s Small Business Person of the Year by the U-S Small Business Administration.
Lona Yender began Color-ize in Storm Lake in 1994. The firm offers digitial, large-format printing, a quick-printing shop and graphic and web design. She says she started with a 36-inch vinyl plotter and a six-by-ten foot router bed. The company has grown from just a few accounts in its first year to nearly 15-hundred clients, including financial, manufacturing, service, and government institutions.
The business has also gone from one employee to five and last December opened a second facility in Storm Lake. Yender says she thinks future expansion will involve web design. She says people ages 40 and under may not be so likely to go out to a store as opposed to going online to find what they need. "That’s where we feel like everything is going to go," Yender says.
She says they’re now serving clients mainly in a 150-mile radius, but that wasn’t always the case. She says in 2000, the firm handled 17 large shopping mall posters for malls across the country, while now, it’s maybe one a year. Yender says the scope of their services has changed over the years, as early on, it was just printing and design. Now, it’s letterheads, business cards, envelopes, stationary, brochures, big signs, posters, books — anything that is printed or published on the web can be done at her shop.
As this year’s winner, Yender will represent Iowa at the National Small Business Week ceremonies in Washington D-C next month, where she will compete for the national award. This is the second year in a row a Storm Lake business woman has received the Iowa Small Business Person of the Year Award. Last year, the award went to Becky Drahota of Mills Financial Marketing.