Starting a Small Business – Iowa Longboards LLC
May 4, 2011
By Blair Boehm
By Blair Boehm
With the recession either nearing its end or climaxing, depending on which expert one asks, the American tenacity to create is still flourishing. In the college town of Ames, IA one such business owner has maintained this quality, shirked the experts and gone headfirst into the manufacturing of a product he believes in. His business is aptly named Iowa Longboards and for a small company in its infancy, business is looking good.
The owner, Ethan Manning, had been riding skateboards his whole life when just two short years ago he took the leap onto a longboard. “I saw someone cruising by on one, asked if I could hop on and the rest is history,” Manning contends are the humble beginnings of a passion that has characterized his last two years. From that first step, this veteran skateboarder and then novice longboarder began to tinker with his own board eventually satisfying the desire to create a completely custom product that would launch his foray into the wild world of small business ownership.
Longboarding is a widely accepted recreational activity in the West and East of the United States, partly due to the mountainous areas usually associated with the boards use. They are also a growing mode of transportation for urban centers in the place of a cumbersome bicycle or impractical automobile. This begs the question of why a new business in this line of production would chose the relatively flat and predominately rural environment of Iowa as a starting point. “The growing culture in Iowa for this type of product is almost exponential,” Manning will happily answer, “Also, there are no or few businesses offering these products to this growing market.”
Longboards are very useful campus transportation and can be operated in an urban environment similarly to a bicycle. They are also a mode of transportation that does not require gas, regular maintenance, or a place to lock up. This makes the location of Ames with its large campus and commitment to the green movement a great testing ground.
Iowa Longboards is a simple business with a very straightforward mission of producing the highest quality longboards however the customer would like them. They press their own boards, or decks, out a variety of woods and other substances in their own handmade individual presses. This ensures an individual quality and attention to detail that the business would like to become synonymous with. The business even pays close attention to the artwork used to accentuate and personalize the deck by tapping into the outstanding artistic community drawn to Ames by Iowa State University and its College of Design.
The options for individualism provided by Iowa Longboards are too many to mention in a single article. Suffice it to say that in the coming weeks their work may speak for itself as the demand for their lower cost, higher quality products is continually rising. The business can be further looked into on their Facebook page and upcoming website which will open up a whole new world of possibilities for this fledgling company.
Blair Boehm is a recent graduate of Iowa State University where he received a Masters degree in Public Administration and a bachelors degree in Political Science. He was born and raised in Ankeny, Iowa and has worked as (among other things) a bartender, legal intern and research/teaching assistant for Dr. Politics.