BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT – Nota Dolce Specialty Cookies

nota dolce logoIn this Business Spotlight edition, we’re taking a sweet turn into the baked goods industry. Nota Dolce is owned and operated by Kris Kendell who bakes gourmet specialty cookies in her home to sell at the Farmers’ Market or via special order. About her business model, Kris said, “It’s my business and I pretty much just do whatever I want to-bake when I want, sell when I want, bake whatever I want. I like that. :) This company is my hobby. I enjoy baking, creating recipes, sharing them with people. I do it because it’s fun!”

Nota Dolce’s business mission is to create high quality cookies and sell them to make a profit; Kris doesn’t have a tagline yet. She said, “I’ve thought about this a lot, but I just haven’t had one pop into my head. I’d like a phrase that connects music and food that is also concise and descriptive of what makes my cookies ‘special.’” For now, she believes the name of her company, Nota Dolce Specialty Cookies, does what it needs to let people know what it’s all about.

nota dolce picKris said she does occasionally get people who ask her what makes her cookies so special or if her product isn’t something a potential customer is looking for, they’ll ask, “Well, your cookies aren’t so special then, are they?” [However, as a customer, I can assure you that Kris’ products are special. Perhaps maybe one could come up with and create those gourmet combinations if they tried- really hard -but for the rest of the majority of us, we’re glad to let Kris create with what is obviously her passion. I’ve never been disappointed in anything I’ve purchased.]

When asked how she uses words and writing in her business, Kris said, “I use very descriptive wording when describing my cookies on my Facebook Page as well as in my cookie portfolio. I try to be very clear about ingredients, as well as how they enhance the cookie.” Using words in this way is very important to Kris’ business because she needs to be able to explain to customers why the cookies are so special, i.e. because of the ingredients, they’re baked in small batches, they’re creative, and they are a local product, etc.

You can find Nota Dolce specialty cookies at the Freighthouse Farmers’ Market in Davenport, Iowa, on Saturday mornings from May through October. For more information or to inquire about specialty orders, visit the Nota Dolce Facebook page. Kris also has a Pinterest page with photos to make your mouth water.


Lexotic importset’s take a trip around the world. Exotic Imports is a retail store at Southpark Mall in Moline, Illinois, that features hand-crafted gifts, décor, jewelry, candles, swords, and tea sets from over 40 countries. Dave Cahoon owns Exotic Imports and is tasked with everything of a typical business owner, including merchandising, marketing, managing employees, and bookkeeping. He is also responsible for the company’s “word management.”

Dave says Exotic Imports’ mission is, “Through a diverse assortment and presentation of authentic, fine-quality, ethnic items and giftware, and the accurate education of our customers, Exotic Imports openly seeks the patronage of a globally aware population while providing a respectful outlet to the artisans who strive to produce these items.” This mission is summed up in the tagline “shop Globally, locally.” One of the countries from which Exotic Imports carries items is the United States; Dave stocks books authored by poets and prose writers from the Quad Cities, the metro area where the store is located.

When reflecting on how its tagline portrays Exotic Imports’ mission, Dave says, “We understand people have access to purchase goods online now more than at any other time in history. At the same time, people appreciate the value and variety, as well as the convenience of shopping online while precious jobs are being consolidated into mega-sized fulfillment centers. Fewer and fewer business exist because of this effect. Our tag-line reflects our effort to remind shoppers that by shopping locally, they have the benefits of experiencing the merchandise, authentic customer service, and no delays from shipping. They do this while keeping jobs local and supporting their local economy. Because of the diverse assortment of goods at Exotic Imports, shopping ‘Globally, locally’ feels better in so many ways than click click click.”

Exotic Imports also uses words to further its educational mission with three inch by four inch blue card-stock information tags attached to most items, including statues, art, and artifacts with stories to tell. The cards tell the what, where, why, how, and when of the items, providing insight into their origins and greater understandings of their value. Dave says, “Words are the cornerstones of our descriptions. Sometimes a word defines the material, such as ‘soapstone,’ or an origin, like ‘Ghana.’ Other times it conveys a people, like the ‘Ashanti,’ or reminds us that the incense is ‘relaxing,’ or the goat’s milk soap is, ‘naturally moisturizing.’”

Dave believes in words, stating “As with everything, choosing the correct word is paramount. It allows us to speak accurately and concisely,” which is required for success. Words are relied on heavily to sell the items available in the store. Elaborating, Dave explains, “Explaining a fragrance as ‘tantalizingly sumptuous bio-based’ will work for one group of clients, while ‘pleasantly natural’ won’t get lost by another. Just as choosing words correctly is important, when to say the word plays an equal part. Asking for the shopper to make a commitment to purchase too soon will make you sound pushy. This lessens your chance of them becoming a customer. However, waiting too long to ask them to buy may catch them when they have already lost interest. Yes, some of this is subjective, but at the end of the day, the proper use of words lays the better foundation for success.”

Exotic Imports uses its tagline of “shop Globally, locally” as much as possible, specifically through the information cards and generally in simply doing business. Words are also used to greet people, guide their purchases with key phrases to help determine what’s on shoppers’ minds, and to thank them for visiting the store. At Exotic Imports, words are everywhere.

Exotic Imports is located next to JC Penney at Southpark Mall at 4500 16th Street in Moline, Illinois. You can also visit them online at


geri kruckenbergWe’re taking a turn this month into the healthcare field, spotlighting Kruckenberg Chiropractic Clinic in Rock Island, Illinois. Kruckenberg Chiropractic Clinic is owned and operated by Dr. Geri Kruckenberg. Geri is responsible for all aspects of her company: treating patients, marketing, billing, administration, and words.

Geri says her chiropractic business’ mission “is to regard the health and overall wellbeing of my patients as my top priority so they can feel relaxed, refreshed and renewed so they can function at their best in their lives.” Her tagline is “Don’t delay, call Dr. K today!!!,” a catchy phrase, though not exactly stating her mission, that would be easy to remember when in pain.

When asked about words and writing in her practice, Geri related that she tries to be encouraging when using both spoken and written words, especially because she’s dealing with people who are sometimes at their worst when they arrive. She says, “I try to give them something to look forward to or tell them stories of previous patients who have had similar problems who did better and got out of pain once they started getting adjusted.”

As a doctor, words are extremely important in performing Geri’s practice. She explains things in terms her patients can understand which make them respond better. She says, “I am not in the business of trying to impress people,” relating that she sees doctors who talk above their patients and even her head to try to impress them. Geri explains, “My role as a chiropractor is to get people functioning better in their lives so they can be a productive member of society.” She tries to use words that give people hope; people who are coming to Geri with a problem and need to know if she can help them.

Geri says she thinks a lot about the correct words to use in her chiropractic business; “…words can be used to build people up or to tear them down. Words can be so powerful.” No truer words have been written.

Kruckenberg Chiropractic Clinic is located at 1715-5th Ave. Moline, Illinois. To make an appointment or learn more about Geri or her practice, call 309-764-9255.


This month we’re getting musical by spotlighting Alan Morrison’s AM Guitar Works, a full service shop selling guitars, amplifiers, mandolins, banjos, ukuleles, and accessories. It’s also an advanced repair shop, tackling issues many other repair shops shy away from, including fretwork, structural repairs, and finish repairs. AM offers lessons on guitar, bass, ukulele, mandolin, and voice; stocks parts, tools, and supplies for the do-it-themselves musicians; teaches guitar, amplifier, and pedal building; and sells instruments, parts, and accessories online.

AM GuitarsAccording to Alan, AM Guitar Works’ mission is to “provide quality instruments, instructions, and top-notch services to the Quad Cities area and beyond.” Its tag line is “Stay tuned…” representing their continuous striving to do new things. “We ask our customers to stay tuned,” Alan said. To get the message out, AM uses mostly free outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, and Craigslist. Alan said, “I also released a self-published book titled ‘How to Make Money in the Guitar Biz’ last year.”

Alan agrees that words are very important to AM Guitar Works, stating “The words we use to represent our company need to reflect on us as professionals.” As a result, Alan thinks closely how the words he uses, and learned a lot about grammar, punctuation, and content when writing his book. “This opened my eyes to how important words and their proper use can be.”

AM Guitar Works is located at 5259 Jersey Ridge Road (Behind Jersey Grille) in Davenport, Iowa; phone number: 563-370-6810. Click here to visit its website or click here to connect on Facebook. In addition to via the Amazon link above, you can purchase a copy directly from Alan (signed, too, I’m guessing if you want) by clicking here. Finally, click here to learn more by watching AM Guitar Works’ YouTube video.


integrated_logoSay “hello” to Integrity Integrated, Inc., a business exemplifying what it means to make a mission and the words it uses to describe it one in the same. Ginny Wilson Peters is the owner of Integrity Integrated, Inc. Though when asked about her role in the organization, she doesn’t talk about marketing or supervising employees. Instead, for Ginny, it’s all about not only what her business does, but what she does, personally as her own purpose in life. She says, “My purpose is to nurture and inspire others to reach for the stars. I am the company’s founder and I provide the services to our customers. Our programs are based on the knowledge that anyone can be an effective leader, regardless of their role or organization.” She adds, “It’s all about finding your passion and following a path to authentic leadership.”

It’s this path that has found its way through Ginny into her business and back out to create a successful enterprise making a real difference. Integrity Integrated’s mission is to create, build, and connect leaders. Ginny and her team work with individuals and companies to build leaders using executive coaching, leadership development programs, and teambuilding sessions. Ginny explains, “Our work is based on the commitment to helping people create sustainable change in their lives – at work as well as in their personal lives. This means that the services provided are about development – not just training.” And I can tell you that it works. As a student of Ginny’s in the MBA program through the University of Iowa, I have been changed. I know that I can be a leader, even in a business of one. I definitely feel I have gained more than simply “skills” by taking her courses.

As mentioned, Integrity Integrated’s, and perhaps even Ginny’s, mission and tagline or motto are the same: creating, building, and connecting leaders. It’s simple, direct, and clearly portrays what they do. Integrity Integrated uses these words, along with others and visuals, to “capture attention and pique interest” in their programs and services. They distribute these words and images, always consistent with the mission or branding, through the website, emails, and social media posts.

When asked about the importance of words in the business, Ginny says, “Word of mouth is important to us. Many program participants are referred to us because of a coworker experience in our groups. We also use words from others in the form of testimonials to promote Integrity Integrated. The sincere recommendations from current and past participants in our programs are very impactful.”

Words are not only important for building business, but they are also important in Integrity Integrated’s business. Ginny explains, “In many of the leadership programs that I facilitate, people are encouraged to create their personal mission statement. Mission statements are a powerful use of words as they include people’s passion, talents, and values in a way that brings clarity to their lives and work.”

Good advice for anyone, not only for those in business, but for anyone in life. To learn more about Ginny and Integrity Integrated, click here to visit their website at

Business Spotlight – Midwest Writing Center

MWClogoThe premiere of my monthly Business Spotlight post is an organization near and dear to me: Midwest Writing Center or MWC. MWC is a non-profit organization located within a couple of blocks of the Mississippi River on the third floor in the Bucktown Center for the Arts in downtown Davenport, Iowa. Its mission is fostering appreciation of the written word, supporting and educating its creators. It accomplishes this through a variety of avenues, including, but not limited to, workshops, readings, presentations, book signings, contests, and publications. One of its longest running programs has been the annual David R. Collins Writers’ Conference held in late June, celebrating its tenth year at St. Ambrose University in 2015.

As a board member, I help to direct MWC as a whole to fulfill its mission. As a member of the programming committee, I help to plan events . And, as chair of the marketing committee, I help to spread the word about MWC.

MWC’s mission as proclaimed through its tag line tells people exactly what MWC’s goals are and why it exists. Whenever we are deciding on programming or marketing activities, we always go back to the mission to make sure whatever we are doing adheres to it.

MWC uses words every day to get its message out and let people know about what it offers. Its website contains information about the organization and upcoming programs. It produces a monthly e-newsletter, an annual e-magazine, brochures, signs, and press releases sent to local media outlets. MWC also uses Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Words, many times delivered through volunteers, are MWC’s strength and it uses them to promote the organization and its mission. The e-newsletters are distributed to hundreds of subscribers and social media is extremely valuable because it’s low cost and allows it to reach a large, targeted group of people.

Words are extremely important to MWC’s business; its whole mission is to help people write and read them. Words are MWC’s product, service, and means for promotion; it’s all about the words. MWC thinks carefully about what words it uses and how. Because it is a writing and word-related non-profit organization, it must be very careful about its words. What does it say about MWC if its writing is poorly constructed or full of typos and grammatical errors? It would severely hurt its credibility so it’s extremely important that everything MWC puts out is accurate, well written, and grammatically correct. There are no written practices or polices in the organization per se, but they are not necessary. Because everyone involved with MWC is either a writer or at least values the written word and understands how important words and writing are, they have an innate desire to make every piece of writing they put out of the highest quality. MWC may not exist to make a profit, but it runs like a business, and its business is words.

Get That Wordsy Woman!