Alfonso Medina | Owner, La Carreta, Marshalltown

Businesses, and more so small businesses, traditionally would be shy to support or endorse certain political views, religion or anything else that could spark debate. I’m a 30-year-old business owner in Marshalltown. Not only have I been able to create a million-dollar-a-year-in-sales business in Marshalltown in a short period of time, but I know it comes with great responsibility to make sure all the community is taken care of and I invest back into the same community that helps keep our doors open. From funding our own scholarship at Marshalltown Community College to being able to serve outstanding student lunches in our middle schools and high school. Small businesses are the core and backbone to our economy. If we have the opportunity, we have the responsibility. 

Marshalltown is a welcoming community. Any local leader, from Mayor Joel Greer to respected police Chief Mike Tupper, will say the same about this community. We support one another, we hurt for one another and we lift one another up. That is one of the many pros of living in a smaller community. Marshalltown is filled with hardworking people of all backgrounds. It is a labor powerhouse to the whole state, from concrete workers leaving town weekly to work federal state job sites to meatpacking plant employees packaging food to send all over the country. We send workers all over the state, weekly, to Bondurant, Waukee, Altoona, West Des Moines, Ankeny – at all the construction and high-end trendy development, you’ll find Marshalltown labor. 

 From the numerous years I have worked in the hospitality industry, I was taught by mentors that it was best to separate business from certain topics. But I have come to learn that there are things that need to be addressed and if the business needs to be used to help create exposure and generate attention, it is OK to do so, if you do it right. And it’s worked for me, so it can work for you. 

Right now, with protests against racism and wrongful deaths of civilians spreading across our country, it is OK to support the peaceful protests against it. We can all agree that racism and the feeling of superiority toward someone of a different skin tone, or the oppression to a certain group of community members, has to be addressed and stood up against. We can all agree that no person should have to scream “I can’t breathe!” more than once before taking his last breath after nine minutes of suffocation from someone who swore to protect and serve and whose job is created from the very taxes that the working class generates. No business should be afraid to speak out against racism. No business should be afraid to speak out against oppression and police brutality. No business should be afraid to help protect everyone in their community. 

If you’re in business, you’re normally in it to make money, to make a profit. Investing in the well-being, tranquility and prosperity of your community is something that should be added to the core of your day-to-day business goals. Just like investing in anything else in life, those who risk, those who sacrifice, will reap the rewards. 

I will continue to stand up for any community group who has felt or continues to feel oppression in any way, shape or form. One day it could be for me, one day it could be for you.