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Mount Vernon clothing store is winner of Open 4 Business pitch competition


A 112-year-old clothing store in Mount Vernon has been named the winner of this year’s Open 4 Business competition featuring Main Street communities across Iowa. Bauman and Co. topped four finalists in the pitch contest held in Iowa City on Monday. The contest began in April with 17 applicants. Bauman and Co. owners Olivia and Josh Randall will receive a $20,000 grant, which they plan to use to convert the store’s basement into a full shoe department, increase marketing and work with local chiropractors and physical therapists to help fit people for shoes. Runner-up Avoca Flower Shop will receive a $10,000 grant, and third-place winner Grill Works in Marion will receive a $5,000 grant. All three businesses are located within a designated Main Street district. Each semifinalist winner also was awarded $8,000. The business owners submitted applications and videos outlining their plans and had 10 minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. It was the seventh year of the Open 4 Business contest, which is open to businesses in the 55 Main Street Iowa districts across the state. The grants are administered through the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa programs.

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