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Three Charles City businesses/business owners finalists for entrepreneurial awards

  • Lisa and Scott Soifer with their children Theodore, Vivian and Ross, along with FFA students Lee Hoeft and Jacob White, make a donation in 2017 to the Floyd County Fairgrounds Youth enrichment Center project. Submitted photo

  • Connie and Bruce Goddard are the entrepreneurs of the month for August for the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and the North Iowa Area SBDC. Photo submitted

  • Gilbert Starble, right, owner/manager of the Hartwood Inn, along with owner/manager Heidi Gruver, Mary Starble, Carol Seufferlein and Lee Hoeft. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

By Bob Steenson,

Three Charles City business owners and businesses are finalists for regional entrepreneurial awards to be announced later this month.

Scott Soifer, owner of McSoifer’s Inc. and Soifer’s Waverly, is a finalist for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Soifer is the owner and operator of 12 McDonald’s restaurants in northeast and north central Iowa including the one in Charles City. Soifer and his wife, Lisa, who is co-owner of the business, have three children.

EZ Manufacturing, owned by Bruce and Connie Goddard, is a finalist for the Innovation Award.

The Goddards, who own EZ Manufacturing, invented the Bale Storm Processor, a rear-mount bale processer which can be mounted on a tractor and hauls and spreads feed or bedding bales.

The Goddards were named the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and the North Iowa Area SBDC entrepreneurs of the month for August this year.

Avance USA of Clear Lake and Hartwood Hospitality Innovations Corp. of Charles City are also finalists for the Innovation Award.

Gilbert Starble, of Hartwood Hospitality, and Jennifer Andrade, of Avance, are working together to provide recruiting and relocation help and housing options for new people moving into the area for employment.

All the awards will be given at the 2019 Pappajohn Entrepreneur Gala, to be held at the North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Among the guests that night will be Gov. Kim Reynolds and Debi Durham, director of both the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Finance Authority.

The gala is sponsored by the NIACC Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center to “celebrate the entrepreneurs and partners who make our communities in North Iowa a great place to work and live,” according to information from NIACC.

Awards will be given in the categories of Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Innovation Award and Business of the Year.

Finalists in the four award categories are:

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

• Derek Balsley, The Art of Education University, Osage.
• Julia Dannen, D & S Services, Mason City.
• Scott Soifer, McSoifer’s Inc. and Soifer’s of Waverly, Charles City.

Entrepreneur of the Year

• Derek Balsley, The Art of Education University, Osage.
• Eric Kingland, Kingland Construction Services, Forest City.
• Toby Welsh, Midwest Duct Works, Ventura.

Innovation Award

• Avance USA & Hartwood Hospitality Innovations Corp. (joint project), Clear Lake and Charles City.
• EZ Manufacturing, Charles City.
• Kingland, Clear Lake.

Business of the Year

• The Art of Education University, Osage.
• Cabin Coffee Co., Clear Lake.
• Kingland, Clear Lake.

Special recognition will be given to Student Entrepreneur Sami Schupanitz of Sami’s Sock Monkeys.

In addition, the gala will honor John K. and Luise V. Hanson of Forest City, founders of Winnebago Industries in Forest City, with the Legacy Award, for their contributions and support to North Iowa. The award will be accepted posthumously on their behalf by John V. Hanson and Mary Jo Boman.

Gary Schoeniger, co-author of “Who Owns the Ice House?” will deliver the keynote address at the gala.