Hilltop Campus Village director Scott Tunnicliff is all smiles as the central Davenport business district welcomes some new additions: Smile Labs Iowa and soon Hickory Hollow Primitives.

Smile Labs Iowa has opened for business at 1519 Harrison St., tucked between Superheroes Comic Store and Flipped Out Furniture. A new branch for the West Des Moines-based Smile Labs Iowa, it provides cosmetic teeth whitening services.

Owner Shelana Chamberlain Landers said the Hilltop location "offers visibility, affordability and easy access to clients of all ages. It is so great to be part of a place where so much is happening."

Hickory Hollow Primitives will open in mid-March in a storefront at 1525 Harrison St. The retail shop specializes in handmade primitives, country crafts, home decor accents, handcrafted furniture and more. Hickory Hollow also holds make-and-take workshops for personalized signs. Visit hickory-hollow-signs.myshopify.com/.

Owners Randy and Loretta Hoogerhyde have already begun getting ready to open, Tunnicliff said.

"We are excited about this endeavor and believe it will help spur even more activity in the area," Randy said.

Tunnicliff, who is the Hilltop's best cheerleader, said the shops help broaden the offerings in the Hilltop and encourage visitors and residents "to stop and shop."

Toalson named RNA Employee of the Year

Rita Toalson, who has dedicated her career to highlighting the accomplishments of Royal Neighbors of America, now has earned her own accolade as the Royal Neighbors' 2016 Employee of the Year.

As managing editor, the 39-year employee of the Rock Island women-led life insurer, is responsible for corporate and member communications.

Toalson is credited with leading several projects of significance, including the acceptance of Royal Neighbors items into the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. She also garnered publicity from the San Francisco Examiner with a newly discovered letter from a Royal Neighbors member detailing the conditions after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

Of Toalson, RNA President and CEO Cynthia Tidwell said, "She is often the first to arrive to work, the first to offer creative solutions, and the first to offer a helping hand."

Employees are nominated by co-workers and selected by a panel of outside judges.

As part of her award, Toalson will be invited to attend a Royal Neighbors' life insurance agent recognition trip in Punta Mita, Mexico, in June.

Farmers donate $35K for River Bend Foodbank

While their fields may be barren now, a group of Illinois Quad-City farmers used part of last year's harvest to help River Bend Foodbank do its critical work of feeding the hungry.

Through the Bushels for Hunger program, the area farmers donated $35,530 to the Davenport food bank.

Each year, when the farmers deliver their grain to the elevator, they designate how much they want to donate to Bushels for Hunger. Launched seven years ago when crop prices were at a record high, the program has raised more than $183,421 since its inception.

"Thanks to the generous donations of 5,935 bushels of grain to the Bushels for Hunger campaign, local farmers worked together to fight hunger in the Quad-City community with these funds," said Mercer County farmer Jeff Kirwan, the District 3 director for the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Bushels for Hunger is a joint program coordinated by the farm bureaus of Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, Whiteside and Stark counties in conjunction with these area grain elevators and ethanol plants: ADM, Atkinson, Big River Resources, Cargill, CHS, Gold Star FS, Hillsdale Elevator, Michlig Grain, River Gulf Grain, River Valley Cooperative and Rumbold & Kuhn.

Biz Bytes is a weekly column by Quad-City Times reporter Jennifer DeWitt. Contact her at 563-383-2318 or jdewitt@qctimes.com

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