A result of forty years of search, Hartwood Hospitality Labs, Inc (the Labs) founder and its founding community members have found the answer to a prayer. has helped this company invest in a moonshot to help rural employers build bonds between skilled laborers, and the local Charles City community… and we think its great! 

Its about solutions to a workforce shortage in rural areas where there has been a flight of skilled labor. Over the decades since the ag economy has morphed into the information age and technologically advanced farming methods, one result is a shortage of skilled workers. 

Specifically, the Labs’ employer-guests such as SkyClimbers (a wind turbine blade maintenance company) sent their crew to find a place to stay and found a home to which many crew members resided at the Hartwood in the summer and fall of 2019.  

Hartwood Hospitality Labs is in tune with this scarcity of skilled labor and credentialed professionals and their need for housing that connects their temporary residences with local community resources. 

Employers which are economically vital to the area must bring in their own capital investment in order to grow and reap the advantages of this thriving innovative people.  The Labs now places additional funding into the economy through its company resources, which in the case of individuals seeking higher career aspirations find support and encouragement through the Labs professional networks. 

As for Gilbert Starble, this is an opportunity to use financial technology and with it the ‘Grace of God’ to blend the skills and experience of the people here. This makes Charles City a flagship of hospitality evangelism where staff supports the mission of the resident-worker-guest. 

This is a calling which on July 16, 2018 pointed its first founder, ‘Gilbert on Gilbert Street’ to the Hartwood Inn, Charles City, Iowa. We are grateful for the efforts of a devoted staff, many of whom have joined us as permanent community members along the way.  Each week one of these community members will be featured.  Look forward to meeting each of their stories and imagine how you can help further this inspiring spirit. 

The company is a different type of hospitality, a type of family and familiarity atmosphere that is more akin to the farms that surround us, a place where we all see farmers plant seed and the seeds thrive. This is a thriving hospitality community… a non-ag version of a once popular expression, ‘Iowa feeds the world’.  The Labs intend to ‘feed the soul’ during a guest’s stay. 

In this case the founding community has developed a cooperative type of hospitality, planted here in Charles City to build an employment-related defense against a variety of harsh rural economic conditions, more on that is available in future blog posts. Please join us to identify where you may fit into this ‘hospitality evangelism’ of the Hartwood Hospitality Labs family by clicking here to learn more through our campaign. 

FEATURED WORKER-GUEST (Couples and Individuals): 

The term “Freedom” is most appropriate here. Here is a couple who have made a home at the Hartwood Inn working to build community by offering their home to outsiders, singing and playing with children and the young at heart, and ‘driving the bus’ to support many individuals in their quest for a peaceful life here on campus.  This is freedom for Tina and Lon.  Thanks from the bottom of our hearts. 

Tina H. 

Tina moved to Charles City and the Hartwood in December 2018. She started working for the company in February 2019. Tina has a 20 year background in hotels/restaurants and 11 years in property management. She loves meeting new people, learning, and staying involved and has worked as an executive assistant, office manager, bookkeeper, and been instrumental in making community members feel like a part of the family. Tina hosts a Sunday Supper to welcome new members and keep established members connected. 

Lon B. 

Lon is Tina’s partner. Lon and Tina moved into the Hartwood together. Lon has been going through health problems this last year. Lon helps at the Hartwood with site maintenance, ideas and his joking attitude makes people laugh and feel welcome. He and Tina work as a team to improve not only their lives but to encourage and support all who walk through their door. Lon is working towards improving his health and increasing his daily activity around the property.