Behind the Brand - Hanna Nuss | Local.
“Rural communities have often been thought of as places where dreams die,” said Hanna Nuss, owner of a new type of Denver business whose purpose includes both supporting other local businesses and building community. Hence her business name: “Local.”   

“I too once thought of returning to a small town as defeat,” Hanna said.  “I spent a good portion of my life fighting the fact that if I had left I could have made a difference or made it big. Returning to a rural community felt like a significant loss.  

“Every day it was an internal battle,” she continued, “knowing I was made for more but returned to what I had considered less. 

“When I decided to change careers and focus my efforts on a creative career instead of corporate,” she said, “I started to resent the smallness of Iowa even more than ever before.” 
“I woke up each day competing with people who could sneeze and reach more people than I could in a year where I lived.
I would watch their businesses grow and thrive while my writing career barely got off the ground.  

“The smallness,” she thought to herself, “it must be the smallness!”   

So she started searching for any larger community that could support authors, business builders, and young families. 
 
“I always dreamt of building a business,” she said.  “And I wanted to do it where people would actually want it instead of a place that always felt like a fight.

“My husband and I spent years touring towns we thought we would like better. They had to have everything we were looking for: great schools, strong writing or entrepreneur ecosystems, a vibrant downtown, and still be small enough to navigate via bike or walking.

“Our search sent us to Canada, West Virginia, Des Moines, South Dakota, Idaho, and Oregon,” she said, “but we continued to come up with reasons to stay.  Even though our rural community lacked some of those ‘essential’ things something continued to keep us right here in Iowa.

“As much as we fought it,” she continued, “this was home.”

“Because we decided to stay,” she said. “I decided to put that pain to work to create a new reality right here.” 

If Iowa was home, then maybe I could create what I felt was lacking,” she decided. 

That desire -- mixed with the pain of building her own business -- led Hanna to create Local.  

It was a significant shift in attitude that made it possible. 
“I had had enough of rural artists, crafters, creatives, and business builders being ignored or written off,” she said. “It felt like rural area businesses weren’t considered credible or important because they were small; because they considered lifestyle important; because they didn’t have endorsements, clout, or opportunities that people doing the same thing in big cities did.” 

If it can exist somewhere else, she decided, it could exist here too.  

“I knew I would have to create more ways to work together to expand opportunities, not just for myself but for the entire community and state,” she said.  

Part of that expansion is the importance of connection in small communities. Community is often why people stay or come back to small towns.  

“Because of what I experienced,” she said. “I wanted to ensure those creative connection points had a home in small communities too, so people would be able to stay and chase their dreams at home.”  

Local. came into being as the place that could help make more local business possible.  

“This year,” Hanna continued, “our work on Expanding Opportunities for our brands Local. has committed to telling even more of their stories and thereby create a connection with our brand owners and the community of Denver.” 

The way Local. shows up for rural Iowa is by creating connections, expanding local brands & building Main Streets.  
Check the Denver Forum from week to week to connect with the people Behind the Brands that are being built in Denver, Iowa. 
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