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Entrepreneur from Iowa Offers Blueprint for Small Town Revitalization to South Dakota Leaders
Iowa Ag Connection - 06/05/2023

Danna Larson, an entrepreneur hailing from Odebolt, Iowa, has dedicated herself to revitalizing small towns, driven by her personal connection and understanding of the challenges they face. With her consulting company, Larson aims to breathe new life into small Midwest communities, and she recently shared her strategies with rural community leaders in South Dakota during the 2023 Energize conference hosted by South Dakota State University Extension.

Larson emphasizes the need for a strong commitment from small towns to attract businesses. She advocates for filling vacant buildings on Main Streets as a way to entice entrepreneurs. In her own town, Larson established a community foundation that raises funds and seeks grants to save buildings facing demolition. By partnering with the town council and additional funding sources, they have successfully preserved several structures.

To create vibrant communities, Larson suggests organizing more events that showcase local businesses, agriculture, and the arts. Responding to a survey that highlighted the desire for more arts and entertainment options, Larson emphasizes the importance of nurturing a thriving cultural scene. By hosting events and revitalizing aging buildings, small towns can create an appealing environment for young people, encouraging them to stay and contribute to the local economy.

Larson's success story from McIntosh, Minnesota, where a couple transformed the downtown area with a vintage business and community events, serves as an inspiring example. By fostering unity, maintaining a positive mindset, and leveraging social media, small towns can create opportunities for economic development and empower their residents.

Danna Larson's blueprint provides a valuable resource for South Dakota leaders looking to revitalize their small towns. By embracing her strategies, they can ignite a new wave of energy, growth, and opportunity in their communities, ensuring a bright and prosperous future for all.

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