Ameling wins business plan competition



CUTLINE: Ossian native Danielle Ameling recently opened the doors to her own business, Iron Leaf Press, in Lisbon. As the winner of the Project Bright Idea will not be required to pay rent in the 1,000-square-foot facility for 24 months. (submitted photo)




Ameling wins business plan competition


By Becky Walz
News Editor


Danielle Ameling, Ossian native and owner of Iron Leaf Press, recently opened the doors to a 1,000-square-foot facility in downtown Lisbon after winning the Project Bright Idea Business Plan Contest. 

Project Bright Idea was created by a group of community volunteers working in partnership with Lisbon-based Moon Eye Ventures. The economic development contest was created to encourage and reward regional entrepreneurs who have developed a solid business plan.  

As the winner, Iron Leaf Press has access to a completely renovated facility for up to 24 months rent-free, as well as a monthly utility allotment and various support services. 

“I have been working for years with my letterpress printing business — building a customer base, creating products and marketing my work to others. The opportunity now to do all of this from the Project Bright Idea building is thrilling. I can’t wait to dig in and get to work,” said the 2005 South Winn graduate.

After graduating from South Winn, Ameling attended Grand View University in Des Moines and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in graphic design in 2009.

The young entrepreneur worked as a design intern at Main Street Iowa while attending and for a time after graduating from Grand View.

Ameling moved on to a sign shop in Urbandale and eventually moved to eastern Iowa when she was offered a position as a graphic designer at RuffaloCODY.

She was intrigued with the idea of opening the doors on her own business.

“Most of the projects I work on are special moments or those times when you really want to make an impression,” the Ossian native said. “I work on a lot of wedding invitations, stationery, and business cards.”

She admits that she enjoys being able to work on projects digitally and then is able to produce them by hand with letterpress equipment she has purchased over the years.

“I really like the history and technology behind old printing equipment. Setting type or working through a press variable can be a fun challenge,” noted Ameling.

As a one-woman operation, Ameling owns and operates three presses: Nolan proof press, a Kelsey 6”x10” tabletop platen press, and A Chandler and Price 10”x15” platen press. All three presses Ameling utilizes run without electricity.

Five years ago, Danielle, daughter of Dave and Diane Ameling of Ossian, purchased the Nolan press from a friend who had been a printer for over 40 years. The cylinder press is all hand-inked and features a flat bed where type/design is laid out; a cylinder rolls over the type, applying pressure to transfer ink from the type to the paper.

Last summer Ameling bought the Kelsey press at the Amalgamated Printers Association’s (APA) annual Wayzgoose.

“It had sat in an attic for many years before a fellow APA member found it and sold it to me,” explained Ameling. “These type of presses were popular with hobbyists and young printers.”

She added that it fits on a tabletop and works well for smaller items.

Most recently, the new businesswoman purchased a 1500-lbs. Chandler and Price press in Duluth, Minn., dating back to 1919.

“The Kelsey and C&P are similar presses, but the Kelsey has a lever that is powered by pressing down on the handle with your hands, whereas the C&P is treadle-powered.

Iron Leaf Press is a custom printing and design company that merges the quality and craftsmanship of days gone by with modern design in a digital age. 

The company offers custom letterpress printing, as well as unique, customer-focused design services. In addition, Iron Leaf Press offers stationery, greeting cards, and other paper goods in-store and online. 

To find out more about the new business visit

“I have had a lot of help from my family, boyfriend, friends, and the community and would be remiss to not mention them,” concluded Danielle. “This is a dream come true.”



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