Made in Eastern Iowa: Premier Guitar and Banjo

By Ashley Hinson, Anchor/Reporter


By Ashley Hinson

For years, we've been featuring companies that are making products right here at home, keeping the local economy going. Today, two more businesses join the ranks as being "Made in Eastern Iowa."

They're rockin' out the magazine business in Marion. Premier Guitar Magazine is a dream come true for millions of "gear-heads" around the world.

“This is where we're reviewing different products that we get in,” says Nick Ireland, showing us a room decked out with every kind of musical gear you can imagine. Amps, strings, pedals, and of course, guitars, are strummed and picked and reviewed. They then end up on the pages of this monthly publication.

"We offer everything that's in the print magazine online in one way shape or form, for free, in its entirety," says Ireland. “People thought we were nuts to do that.”

The magazine does features on what the big names in the music industry are playing--- called Rig Rundowns. They feature interviews with no only the big players, but up and coming artists too. But like many publications--the magazine is all about hitting the note on any gadget you play on.

"The app is available for ipad, iphones ipod touch android and kindle fire,” says Ireland. And the online presence has pushed Premier Guitar to the top since it was founded in 2007

"The amount of visitors we get every month... a million and a half unique visitors," says Shawn Hammond, Editor in Chief. "We're not trying to be jack of all trades master of none. We feel like we're really leading the way."

It’s a very dynamic group of people that is making magazines in Marion. Meanwhile, in Cedar Falls, a business is banking on the banking business.

"We work with about 325 different banks and credit unions. That's everything from the small community banks, all the way up to big multi- billion dollar banks,” says Bryan McCarty of Banno’s Product Marketing team. 70 of the company’s customers are here in Iowa.

Banno is not your typical factory. It's dark, and it's quiet, but staff is hard at work building websites, apps, and other mobile platforms for banks.

"What we decided to do was use responsive design so we know going forward, we've got technology that's going to be able to resize and reset and give the user the most ideal experience no matter what device they're using," says Abby Goltz, account manager.

Graphic designers figure out the artistic side of things and then computer whizzes work their magic and test code on various devices until everything shows up exactly how it should

"So you see all the content will shift and it is resizing dynamically,” says McCarty, showing us how a bank website will change to whatever view is best, for an iPhone versus an iPad.

Banno has a young staff-- and they're trying to keep technology as user friendly as possible. They have technology to filter all the data that comes in from a purchase you might make on your bank card.

"They can click on it and get the geo location, so we know exactly which Starbucks,” the purchase happened at, he said. “So you can get that Starbucks’ phone number, location URL to their website, all by just clicking on it."

It’s technology to help you to better manage your money, and to help banks to keep you as a happy customer.

And it’s Made in Eastern Iowa.

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