Welcome Newcomers Mills County
The desire to spread the word about a community she considers to be “one of the best kept secrets in Iowa,” is the inspiration behind Anne Smith’s decision to bring back a newcomers welcome program to the Glenwood area.
The community has been void of a welcome service for new residents since late 2011 when Suzanne Tuma retired from operating her Glenwood Newcomers business. Smith, who retired last year from a 22-year career with the Mills County Public Health Office, said she’s looking forward to her new venture.
“Suzanne asked me to consider doing this when she retired. It’s something I’ve wanted to do,” Smith said. “My mom was a Welcome Wagon hostess in Ottumwa and I just remember always thinking, she knew everyone and she always knew what was going on.
“I’ve always loved this area. We’ve lived here for a long time (36 years in June). Our lives have been here. Our kids went to school here, they were involved in 4-H and we go to church here.”
Smith said her business, Welcome Newcomers Mills County, will be similar to the successful program Tuma operated for many years. Businesses who sign up for Smith’s program, will be listed and promoted in a packet she’ll share when she personally visits and welcomes new residents to the area. Participating businesses are welcome to provide a gift that will be included in a “goodie bag” Smith will present to the new residents she visits.
Smith said she sees her role as a being an ambassador for Mills County and local businesses.
“We just have such a neat area here with so much going on,” she said. “I hope I’m going to be encouraging our newcomers to stay local – to shop local, feel pride in their community and to know what’s here.”
In addition to serving as a “one-on-one marketer” for her clients, Smith will also provide each business owner with a write-up and profile about the newcomers she’s visited.
Smith has already shared information about her program to several local businesses and the response has been positive. Business owners interested in participating in the program can contact Smith at 712-520-2696.