Bug Soother, invented by Iowa grandmother Freda Sojka in the buggy aftermath of the 2008 floods, is now sold worldwide. Its manufacturer, Simply Soothing, Inc, was purchased by Eco Lips, Inc in March 2021. — Emma McClatchey/Little Village
Eco Lips – SPF lip balms, sunscreen and bug spray
Located in Cedar Rapids
Protect your lips and skin from the heat and pesky mosquitoes, gnats, no-see-ums and other Iowa nuisances. Eco Lips lip balm is made from organic products, with a choice of 15 or 30 SPF and three flavors: mint, berry and sport. Eco Lips acquired Columbus Junction’s Simply Soothing, Inc. business in 2021 and now sells the hugely successful Bug Soother, a DEET-free bug spray that uses the natural insect repellents lemongrass and vanilla and contains some vitamin E to help moisturize the skin take care of.
Fox River Mills socks
Based in Osage
This small, privately owned sock factory has been making some of the United States’ premier athletic and outdoor recreation socks since the 1900’s. Fox River also produces a women’s specific fit performance sock with a smaller toe box and heel pockets.
Kenai cooler – cooler
Based in Decorah
Kenai coolers are guaranteed to last a lifetime, and the company encourages customers to test that promise “in the mountains, in the desert, on meadows and prairies, or by a spring stream in Iowa.” Kenais are more affordable than many outdoor cooler brands, and although the company is named after an Alaskan neighborhood, it has its roots in northeastern Iowa.
Holstein MFG Grills
Based in Holstein
Since selling its first grill in 1976, Holstein MFG has grown into a leading supplier of grills for food production, food consumption, farming, catering, hospitality and personal use. That’s not your grandpa’s weaver; even Holstein’s home grills fit enough meat to feed a horde. Impress your neighbors with your four basket roll top rotisserie grill.
Original Udder Balm – Lotion, Pain Relief Cream
Based in West Des Moines
Summer heat can be disgusting. Original Udder Balm is a fading product after sun exposure and dirt, which can leave your skin dry, itchy and wrinkled. All that hard work in the sun can also cause sore muscles – for those you can try Doc Hoag’s Menthol Pain Relief Cream.
Ironweed bike bags
Based in Iowa City
Ironweed’s durable bike bags or panniers are water-resistant and will keep their shape regardless of what’s in them or what’s not. Founder Brian Loring wanted to design a “graceful” case that would fit bikes new and old. “So I built a case that’s not only functional, but fits a 1972 Jack Taylor Mixte,” he said. Ironweed also sells the racks, mounts and straps needed to fit the bag to your bike.
Winnebago – RVs, Trailers, Vans, Haulers
Located in Forest City
Winnebago Industries was founded in 1958 in Forest City, Winnebago County, Iowa. Since then, the brand name has become synonymous with recreational vehicles. (Winnebago County, and thus the Winnebago brand, was named for the native Ho-Chunk or Winnebago tribes of the Midwest). While its headquarters moved to Eden Prairie, Minnesota in 2021, the company has retained its thousands of Iowa employees in Forest City and beyond.
Grizzly – cooler
Based in Decorah
Grizzly coolers are designed not only to protect your food and beverages, but also to protect wildlife from getting into coolers and potentially harming themselves, as well as to ensure bears are bear-proof. And you bet they sell Hawkeyes and Cyclones brand coolers.