Iowa boasts over 200 companies — that make everything from popcorn to car parts — that have been in the state for 100 years or more.
“Iowa is a rural state where agriculture is dominant,” said Maureen Collins-Williams, partner at Entrepreneurial Communities, a consultancy that specializes in manufacturing. “But people will be surprised to learn that manufacturing is an even larger industry here.”
Manufacturing accounts for 18% of the state’s GDP — second only to financial activity.
There are more than 6,100 small to medium-sized manufacturers in the state, according to a report from Iowa State University published in July. And most of these firms are decades old.
“The majority of manufacturers in Iowa are over 30, 40 years old,” said Ronald Cox, associate dean at Iowa State University. “It’s much too expensive to start a new manufacturing operation today because of the high cost to buy a plant and machinery.”