Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is Now Grow Cedar Valley

posted on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 in Blog

Editors note: View full multimedia release here

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is now Grow Cedar Valley. The new brand was unveiled this evening to a round of applause at the organization's annual celebration at the Diamond Event Center in Cedar Falls.

“Grow Cedar Valley will be the leader in bringing business and community together,” said Cary Darrah, CEO of Grow Cedar Valley. “We need to create an environment to attract new businesses, as well as attract a workforce to grow our existing businesses. You can't have a strong business community without the economic inclusion and quality-of-life initiatives that foster a vibrant community. By marrying our business development and community development efforts, we can create additional opportunities for both sides to grow and elevate the economic vitality of both our businesses and communities.”

Darrah commended Grow Cedar Valley's volunteer executive committee and board of directors for pushing the pause button to conduct research before hitting the reset button to develop a new mission, vision, purpose statement and three-year plan. She said it was important to be introspective, take the time to really listen to chamber and alliance investors, and realign the organization's focus to meet investors' and communities' greatest needs.

The outcome of this research resulted in a refined focus for the organization and a new brand to match the energy and excitement within Grow Cedar Valley since Darrah was named CEO last year, according to Grow Cedar Valley Board Chairman Eric Johnson of Beecher Law Firm.

“Through our year of listening, several things became apparent,” said Johnson. “Grow Cedar Valley needed focus, as we cannot be all things for everybody. A primary focus needs to be growing workforce skills. It is important for us to lead, by showing up, listening and collaborating with business and community partners. Not only is Cary a stellar, well-trusted economic development professional, but she's also a bridge-building collaborator. She is perfect to lead the talented professional staff at Grow Cedar Valley and execute our new strategic plan.”                                                                

Darrah said collaborating with regional economic development groups strengthens business attraction efforts, which has an exponential impact for area businesses when a new company comes to town. Taking a regional approach also elevates advocacy at the state and federal levels, according to Darrah. She emphasized the importance of collaboratively developing a shared vision and voice for the Cedar Valley and growing the region together “regardless of the neighborhood or ZIP code where one may reside or the location a business may wish to enter or regional economy.”

“Collaboration is at the center of what we do,” said Darrah. “We can't own everything, but there are some great ideas that we can facilitate by bringing the right partners together to develop initiatives. For example, we know that affordable, accessible child care and transportation are barriers for many wishing to re-enter or stay in the workforce. Grow Cedar Valley was invited to the table to work with other Cedar Valley leaders as a resource to find solutions to these workforce obstacles. Together, we can help employees succeed in their careers and help businesses tap into this workforce for growth. Again, we exist to retain our businesses and to support them with resources for expansion.”

One of the founders of the former Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Tim Hurley, likes the idea of Grow Cedar Valley becoming a one-stop economic and community development center, a resource for those who want to grow in the Cedar Valley. He said this could be business, industry, nonprofits, private or public sector companies wanting to expand, or talent wanting to grow their skill set.

“What the Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber did in the past was great,” said Johnson. “What they brought together was the right thing at the right time. This is the next step in that evolution. I'm excited about our future and the value Grow Cedar Valley will bring to our businesses and communities.”

Darrah shared her excitement for the new Grow Cedar Valley too. She said whether you're growing your business, growing your children, growing your faith … growing is a real integral part of moving progressively.

“After months of surveys and focus groups, name testing and discussions, I love how we all came together to transform and rebrand the organization,” said Hurley. “I love the simplicity of the concept and the straightforwardness of the name Grow Cedar Valley. It's almost like a rallying cry or a cheer. Grow Cedar Valley!”

About Grow Cedar Valley
Grow Cedar Valley, formerly known as The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, is the economic and community development leader responsible for bringing business and community together to grow opportunities for the Cedar Valley. Learn more at