With the help of Nebraska Enterprise Fund’s extended reach into SW Iowa, Alysia Hess, owner of The Occasional Collective in Treynor, IA was able to turn her small business dream into a reality. Hess purchased the old barbershop on Main Street in Treynor and did a complete down to studs and build-back renovation. NEF funds were used to assist in the installation of new electrical, mechanical, and plumbing to bring the 1962 building up to code and give it new life as a retail venue for locally sourced goods.
Hess, who resides in Macedonia, IA township, is a 25-year veteran employee at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium and plans to continue in her role as Supervisor of Interactive Animal Programs. The “occasional” in The Occasional Collective, refers to retail events which occur every other weekend. The store had its soft opening on January 14th and 15th and will continue with the soft opening hours of every other Friday and Saturday until the Grand Opening slated for the weekend of the 8th of April.
The shop focuses on providing local producers, artisans, and home-based small business owners an opportunity to promote their items and handmade products in a retail environment. The curated offerings and collaborations will rotate, based on monthly themes, the current season, and local community input. So far, Hess has over 20 vendors from both Nebraska and Iowa. Her model is based on encouraging sustainability and green practices, stewardship of the environment and rural communities, and cultural inclusion celebrated through actions and products.