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Davenport's Hilltop Campus Village and downtown business district will be celebrated this week as part of a 1,400-mile journey by Independent We Stand, a national small business movement.

A four-person team will visit five cities in five states in five days on its Great American River Road Trip, said co-founder Bill Brunelle. "The goal of this trip is for Independent We Stand to promote the unique experiences and the economic impact of America's Main Streets on local communities."

Along the way, the group will meet with businesses, business organizations and customers. The city stops include Minneapolis/St. Paul; Davenport; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; and Baton Rouge/New Orleans. 

On Tuesday, the road trip stops in the Hilltop district, an Iowa Main Street program, where they will meet, interview and video the stories of business owners. Participating are: Zeke's, The Silver Key Tattoos and The Brewed Book as well as the Hilltop organization, led by Scott Tunnicliff. The group also will visit the Downtown Davenport Partnership and its executive director Kyle Carter. In downtown, they will go to Abernathy's and The Full Kit.

"All along the way we try to do everything local. Buy local gas. Stay at locally owned hotels and eat in locally owned restaurants," Brunelle said.

Independent We Stand is a nationwide movement of independent business owners who want to inspire other owners to recognize their importance. It is sponsored by STIHL, Inc., a power equipment company that does not sell through mass-market retailers.

The road trips have become an annual tradition for the organization, founded in 2011. Past tours include a Great Rocky Mountain Roadtrip and half of Route 66 from Oklahoma to its end in California. Each trip produces 25 to 30 videos that Independent We Stand uses as part of its marketing.

The campaign also aims to educate American consumers "about the importance of small, independently-owned businesses and the economic impact they have," Brunelle said.

The trip also promotes the third annual America's Main Streets contest, which offers $25,000 in cash and sponsor-related prizes to a deserving Main Street program. Nominations can be made at   

Help Hy-Vee stock

foodbank with milk

Got milk? Or, rather, give milk? 

During the month of March, Hy-Vee is partnering with The Great American Milk Drive to deliver milk to local food banks including the Quad-City region's Riverbend Food Bank.

Customers will be asked at the checkout to donate $2 or $4 toward the purchase of a half-gallon or a gallon of milk. Donations will be used to purchase milk from area processors for distribution to food banks.

The campaign is a partnership with Feeding America, a domestic hunger-relief organization, the Milk Processor Education Program, or MilkPEP, and the National Dairy Council.

Jeremy Gosch, Hy-Vee's chief marketing officer, said this year's Hy-Vee campaign expands to the entire month. "Through the generosity of our customers, and with participation from all of Hy-Vee's 246 stores, our goal is to increase donations and make nutritious milk available to those in need."

Organizations such as River Bend Foodbank will receive vouchers to give to its partner food pantries for distribution to families.

“In addition to ending hunger in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, one of River Bend Foodbank’s goals is for that food to be as nutritious as possible,” said Mike Miller, River Bend's president and CEO. “Fresh milk is such a good thing for a family in need, especially for their children."

Midland Technologies

to attend TAG convention

Midland Technologies, Davenport, has been selected to attend the Technology Assurance Group's 18th Annual Convention in San Diego on April 28-May 2.

TAG is an organization of managed technology services providers in North America representing $350 million in products and services. The convention will feature CEOs, futurists, tech experts, professors and others sharing information on enhancing the customer experience.

"As a company, we're constantly researching new ways to serve our customers..." said Jason Smith, vice president of Midland. "We consider it our obligation to constantly be educating ourselves and discovering new solutions."

Among the topics will be how to leverage the talents of the millennial and iGen generations to deliver phenomenal customer experiences.

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