Shop Your Values

Shop Your Values is a campaign run by the Main Street Alliance to support small businesses that are active community members advocating for progressive values.

By shopping at a business that has signed onto the Shop Your Values campaign, you are directly supporting employers and community leaders who promote economic and social justice across the country.

To add your business or alert us to a business we should reach out to you can contact Sue Dinsdale at 515-480-3240 or

To sign up or for more information, go to: SHOP YOUR VALUES!

Good businesses have a powerful role to play in helping build equitable, sustainable, and prosperous economies.   But for too long, the conversation about “what is good for business” has been dominated by large corporations and trade associations that pursue race-to-the-bottom business practices to ensure their short-term profit goals.

Our vision for the economy prioritizes investment in our businesses, our employees, our customers and our communities. Good business requires us to look beyond short-term profits and exploitative business practices and instead focus on making investments in our employees, our communities, and practices that create a sustainable environment and prosperous economies.

We recognize the mutual interests and values shared by business owners, workers, and customers: we are united not only through our economic transactions but also by our commitment to the communities that sustain our businesses and enrich our lives.

Main Street Alliance members believe:

  • A thriving economy depends on thriving communities. Strong businesses value our customers and strive to provide them quality goods and services. For us to prosper, our customers must also prosper. Independent small businesses and local economies are the backbones of a thriving community.
  • Good government plays a critical role in nurturing business and community. It should equitably invest in, create, and enforce effective policies and systems to sustain independent business for the public good. Public investment is a critical component to create and sustain prosperous equitable economies and entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Strong businesses view success as a shared enterprise. We recognize that treating all employees with dignity, a livable wage, and good working conditions lead to a better community for all. We take an active approach to building relationships with our customers and giving back to the communities where we live and work.

Active civic participation of all in our community is essential to the growth and success of our businesses, communities and country as a whole. We push for policy participation and engagement of our local elected officials to provide a prosperous and sustainable small business community.

Iowa Small Businesses Look Forward to Real Representation in the 1st Congressional District

Dubuque, Iowa — Main Street Alliance members in Iowa are celebrating the victory of Abby Finkenauer over longtime incumbent Rod Blum. They hope to find opportunities to work with Finkenauer on strengthening our health care system, expanding paid leave, and leveling the playing field so Iowa’s small business owners have the tools they need to create quality jobs.

ReShonda Young, owner of Popcorn Heaven:

“Last year, my congressman, Rep. Rod Blum, voted to take away health care from me, my brother, the employees of my business, and many other Iowans. With this vote, Blum sent a clear message: the interests of Main Street small businesses don’t matter. Last night’s election outcome confirms that Americans and especially small main street business owners want to move forward on health care. Abby Finkenauer has demonstrated a commitment to keeping our health care intact and improving access. Her record shows that she will consider the impact public policies have on small businesses and value our input on expanding health care and paid leave.”

Ousted Representative Rod Blum elicited frustration from small business owners across the 1st Congressional District.  His votes were focused on lining the pockets of his wealthy donors, not helping main street businesses and farmers. With real representation we look forward to Finkenauer providing real support for business owners: strengthening our health care system, helping small business create high-quality jobs, increasing diversity in small business ownership, and creating a level economic playing field so Main Street thrives and Wall Street contributes its fair share.

Mike Draper, owner of Raygun Cedar Rapids:

“I’ve gone through every phase of health care, from uninsured, insurance through my wife, an individual policy that I paid for, and now through Raygun on our group insurance.  The group insurance that we have is one part of the ACA, which allowed small businesses to buy into larger groups and still have options within those groups.  There is a lot of focus on the larger issues — preexisting conditions and the individual mandate, but there are a lot of small parts of the ACA that everyday businesses actually use. This is a complex problem involving a lot of people and whether it’s from the left or right, as small business owners, we need a viable solution. I am confident that Finkenauer will be part of the solution.”

Sue Dinsdale, State Director, Main Street Alliance of Iowa

“Small business owners across our state and country have had the courage to stand up against hate and corporate greed. This election is a bright spot. It’s the hope so many Iowans and Americans needed to keep moving forward. Our work is far from over, but it’s a victory that would not have been won without small business owners having the courage to speak up for what is right.”


The Main Street Alliance-Iowa (MSA-IA) has been working in partnership with Iowa Citizen Action Network since 2008 to make sure that the small business voice is heard from real small business owners, family farmers and the self-employed on policy that matters most.  It is part of a national network of small business coalitions working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues. Alliance small business owners share a vision of public policies that work for business owners, our employees, and the communities we serve. Our advocacy promotes vibrant businesses and healthy communities, and fosters leadership development of socially responsible business leaders.

Why I Vote

I vote because…

Tricks or Treats

Are you being represented in Congress?

After surveying Iowans in various locations around the state, we’re finding, more often than not, the answer is No.

We’d like to hear what you think!

All survey results will be kept anonymous.

Businesses Vote Their Values

Here are 5 easy ways to show how you:

  1. Share Your Values.  PRINT the Vote Your Values sign and display it! Let your employees and customers know where you stand on the issues.  Tell your story, be authentic.
  2. Display election information at point of sale, on your outdoor marquis or in your window so that passersby are reminded to vote. Go to the: Iowa Secretary of State website for more information.
  3. Encourage everyone to vote by putting a newsletter article on your website, in your e-news, and on social media, send emails to your staff, members, customers or clients, board, and volunteers encouraging them to vote.
  4. Write a letter to the editor or op-ed to respond to the way candidates frame the needs of small business owners.  Share a story about what matters most to you this year as an Iowa small business owner, farmer, self-employed person. (for help with this, contact us at
  5. Join our team of small business spokespeople who are prepared to talk to the media about the issues, candidates, and the importance of civic engagement.

One last thing!  Have you filled out our survey? 

Click HERE!

It only takes a few  minutes and we’d love to hear from you!!

What keeps you up at night?

With all of the different issues we are seeing come up, sometimes it’s hard to sleep at night.

Whether it’s trade, tariffs, health insurance, mental health, immigration, refugees, attacks on journalists, women’s issues, tax fairness, medicaid privatization, education funding, uncertainty about Medicare and Social Security, voter suppression… the list seems endless.

We’d like to hear from you.  What are the most pressing issues you are ​worried about.  And what would you like to see done?

If you are a small business owner, farmer, self-employed, we’d invite you to click on our 2018 Small Business Survey to give us your thoughts!

Otherwise, you can fill out the info below or reply to this email with your suggestions.

And be sure you look at all of the candidates running for office and VOTE!

Main Street Economy – Economic Development Questionnaire

Economic Development can mean many different things to business owners.

With small business playing a crucial role in local economic growth, we are trying to identify successes, barriers and problems being faced in starting, sustaining and growing business in Iowa.

We will aggregate answers to this questionnaire into a report.  Personal information will not be shared without permission.

Health Care Matters to ME!

We need to let our Members of Congress and the President know that we want to move forward not backward when it comes to OUR healthcare!

We need to let them know that millions of Americans, including Iowa small business owners, their employees, their families, as well as farmers and the self-employed could finally get health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

It is just wrong that Iowans are losing access to health care and premiums are increasing by double digits numbers to finance tax breaks for wealthy Republicans donors.  And now the Trump administration has joined a lawsuit asking the courts to wipe out protections for pre-existing conditions, which form the bedrock of ACA.

Do you have a health-care story to tell? We are putting together a collection of stories from small business owners and others to share with elected officials and others to paint the true picture of what health care means to Iowans.

What to know about Brent Kavanaugh’s judicial record

If confirmed, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, would rank just after Justice Clarence Thomas as the court’s second most conservative member.

Why it matters: Kavanaugh’s confirmation would shift the court for a generation, impacting decisions on topics like gun rights, health care, social issues and more.

Executive power

  • In 2009, Kavanaugh “argued that presidents should not be distracted while in office by civil lawsuits or criminal investigations,” per The Post.


  • The White House, in a document sent out to business groups, “wrote that Kavanaugh has overruled federal regulators 75 times on cases involving clean air, consumer protections, net neutrality and other issues,” and most recently “favored curtailing the power of independent federal regulators.”

Health care

  • Kavanaugh’s most significant ACA-related decision was in a case about the individual mandate. He did not vote to uphold the mandate.
  • Another case sought to have the ACA invalidated because the Senate wrote most of it. “… The Constitution’s Origination Clause says bills that raise revenues have to originate in the House, not the Senate. Such Senate amendments are permissible under the Clause’s text and precedent,” Kavanaugh wrote. But he said an earlier ruling had upheld the law for the wrong reasons — and that his court should take another look at that decision. He lost.


  • Kavanaugh won’t be inclined to give federal agencies wide latitude on imposing climate and environmental regulations. “Longtime environmental lawyer David Bookbinder reports that, by his count, Kavanaugh has been involved with six climate change cases, and in five of those he took a ‘narrow’ view of EPA’s regulatory authority.”

Press freedom

  • a constitutional conservative that some legal experts argue would likely side with conservatives in supporting corporate free speech cases.”
  • When it comes to net neutrality, Kavanaugh is a major net neutrality opponent. Kavanaugh argued that net neutrality violates the First Amendment, “because the rule impermissibly infringes on the Internet service providers’ editorial discretion.” Meaning even if net neutrality was legislated, he would still find it unconstitutional.


  • Kavanaugh has stood behind warrantless government surveillance in the past, including the NSA’s surveillance operation that former NSA contractor Ed Snowden exposed in 2013. He wrote, “the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment. … In my view, that critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program.”

Why Iowa matters:

Senator Charles Grassley is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee where he wields enormous influence on the confirmation process. He sets the agenda for the committee, and is responsible for scheduling hearings and votes on pending nominees. Potential judges can’t proceed to a Senate floor vote until they’ve been vetted by the committee.

Have questions/comments for Senator Grassley?  He will be on “recess” through the first part of September there will be opportunities to talk to him at town hall meetings or you can call, write or email his office!

Senator Chuck Grassley    
Des Moines Office                          Washington, DC Office
721 Federal Building                      35 Hart Senate Office Building
210 Walnut Street                          Washington, D.C. 20510
Des Moines, IA 50309
515-288-1145                                202-224-3744

Immigration and Iowa

It seems that politicians often speak FOR Main Street businesses, farmers and the self employed.  We believe that it is more important to be LISTENED TO!

Immigration has become a huge issue in the United States and it is a big issue here in Iowa. At the Main Street Alliance, we’d like to better understand your views on immigration and how this is impacting your small business, community and local economy.

We have posters and window clings declaring “Hate Has No Business Here” – if you would like one, please fill out the form below and we will be in touch.

Thank you for taking the time to fill out this survey.  It helps us to guide our work around the issues that are important to YOU!