meg sugar grove goods

Fabulous People: Meg Dickinson

Meg Dickinson’s business, Sugar Grove Goods, began as a goat milk soap endeavor operating out of her 120-year-old farmhouse. In April 2020, Dickinson opened a coffee shop in Dallas Center to house her bustling business and also spotlight some of Iowa’s most talented food purveyors. Learn about Meg Dickinson…

Hometown: Independence, IA

First job: Legal drug dealer! I was the lone delivery driver for the local pharmacy. I took the job before my 16th birthday, so they had to wait for me to get my license. 

Favorite ways to spend your free time in IA: We love exploring new parks with our kids, so the Des Moines Outdoor Fun Parks Challenge has been a great way to do that for the past few summers. Our family also loves spending time at home, just north of Dallas Center. We’ve created a little hobby farm with goats, chickens, bees, dogs, cats and a garden. 

Your biggest accomplishment and why: It sounds trite, but my children. They take time to fully enjoy their interests and have no concerns about what other people think of them. They are also kind, clever and so regimented. If you try to offer them more than one dessert in a day they will remind you that they’ve “already had some today.” I would like to be more like each of them when I grow up. 

The biggest obstacle you overcame: With the business, it would be creating something from scratch with the added hurdle of a global pandemic. Loads of people (including myself) questioned starting a coffee shop in a town that didn’t already have one. Then to open our doors on April 18, 2020 in the middle of a service industry shut-down, I think we gave ourselves some premature grey hairsThankfully, we were able to start as a carry-out-only service and gradually grow from there. Our community really rallied around us and were grateful for something “normal” in their lives. 

Someone who inspires you and why: The women in my family are hugely inspirational to me. They’ve taught me to pave my own way, regardless of what people think. To be unashamed of who I am. To do the things that make me happy. To not be afraid of using my voice, or to share my knowledge. They’ve also taught me the value of teamwork, a less than traditional definition of family, and believing in unconditional love. It’s empowering to know that I come from a long line of awe-inspiring women, and that I can hopefully help other people feel that warmth and kindness. 

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Start small. There is no race to the end, because this is seriously a journey. The “big guys” can afford to come in with everything on the menu, and all the fancy gadgets, and the corporate décor. You aren’t them. You’re doing your own thing, and there is no shame in doing five things in the beginning and doing those five things way better than anyone else. Also, build those relationships. Get to know your neighbors so if you run out of change on a Saturday afternoon, you have a place to grab a few pennies. Know your customers so you can ask about their kids and new puppies. These connections are important for your business because in small communities you’re in it with everyone. You can’t be in the service industry without people. 

Favorite quote: “Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.” -Roald Dahl, “Matilda”

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I survived what killed Harry Houdini! My appendix ruptured five and a half days before I had it removed. Houdini died on day six (according to legend). 

What makes someone fabulous: Courage. Almost everything in life requires some element of courage: kindness, self-expression, trying new things, making mistakes. All of my favorite people show a bit of courage every single day. 

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