- Kelly Sharp is owner at Heart of Iowa Market Place
It’s that time of year again. Where tens of thousands of people gather each day to celebrate the great state in which we live -- and there's not a corn dog, pork chop or any other food on a stick that's safe from the happy horde that descends on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
What's not to love about the Iowa State Fair? There are rides, games, concerts, a cow sculpted out of butter and all the aforementioned, oddly satisfying foods on a stick. But the main reason I love going to the fair, is to because of what it represents about the value of community.
Growing up in Des Moines, I always made it to the State Fair. I still do. As an eastsider, I have a special love for the fair, and worked there in my teen years.
I can always get inspired by the energy, familiar and new sights and sounds of the fair and feel good about supporting my community and state. Niche businesses can benefit, too, from taking time to see how a niche venture like the Iowa State Fair also survives and thrives.
The State Fair is Iowa. It's rural and urban, business and fun, substance and style. The State Fair benefits from the strong brand it has created and its close bond with its target audience.
People who go to the fair do so year in and year out for a unique experience. Its staff knows what the fair is and what it means to Iowans. They know how to create excitement. They know the importance on consistent messaging. They know how to effectively market their product. And, they have a lot of fun while they do it.
In order to stand out from chain stores and other big retailers, it's more necessary than ever for specialty retailers to create strong brands for themselves and deliver extraordinary service and unique shopping experiences so that their bond with customers is unbreakable.
See you at the fair!