Brad and Angie Barber of Cabin Coffee, Clear Lake, are the winners of the 2018 Neal Smith Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The Neal Smith Award is presented by America’s SBDC Iowa every year, selected from among a state-wide pool of applicants. The award honors a successful Iowa entrepreneur in order to encourage the Iowa culture of entrepreneurship, the driving force behind Iowa’s economic growth. Brad and Angie Barber founded Cabin Coffee in Clear Lake, IA in 2002. Over the last 15 years, the business has grown to 15 franchise locations and a central Support Center. The Barbers have been very active in encouraging the entrepreneurial culture of North Iowa, particularly through their involvement in the Youth Entrepreneurial Academy, a week-long summer entrepreneurship camp for high school students taking place on the NIACC campus every summer.
Brad and Angie Barber worked with the North Iowa Area SBDC and NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center in Mason City. Brook Boehmler, regional director of the North Iowa Area SBDC in Mason City, nominated Cabin Coffee for the Neal Smith Award, stating, “Brad and Angie Barber are an example of what makes doing business in Iowa so great. Growing our entrepreneur community is just as important to them as it is to America’s SBDC and the Pappajohn Center. Brad and Angie put their community and customers first, and growth follows. We could not be more proud of this North Iowa landmark that is taking these principles nationwide.”
The Neal Smith award recognizes excellence in Iowa entrepreneurship, particularly in entrepreneurs who are dedicated to enriching their community. Tim Putnam, director of the NIACC Pappajohn Center, said, “From the day Brad and Angie opened their first store fifteen years ago in Clear Lake, they wanted to create a business that made a difference not only for the store owners, but for their customers and the community. This recognition truly validates their vison and all the hard work they have put in over the years toward fulfilling their dream.”
Brad Barber said, “We are honored, humbled and grateful! We are thankful for our team members for all their support – we could not have accomplished our success without them; the faith our franchise owners and their team have in us; and furthermore, for the expertise and support the NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and Iowa SBDC have provided for Cabin Coffee to be successful. We have truly enjoyed the adventure and look forward experiencing many more years growing Cabin Coffee working with businesses in North Iowa and world-wide finding more ways to add value to each and every community.”
The SBDC Neal Smith Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Deb Delziel Woman Entrepreneurial Award will be presented to the winners in a special ceremony on March 8th at the State Capitol in Des Moines.