2023 Affiliate Chamber Spotlight: Altoona Area Chamber of Commerce
Chamber Name + Website
Altoona Area Chamber of Commerce
Elected leader for 2023
Jared Vincent – The Insurance Station, President
Professional Staff Leader of the Chamber
Melissa Horton, Executive Director
Number of Members
How Does a Business Join Your Chamber?
Anyone can join our Chamber if they have a desire to connect with potential customers that reside in our community both B2B & B2C. There are options to fill out your Membership application online, but I prefer a more personal one-on-one meeting so that we can both determine if we can be good partners and whether we’re able to meet expectations for helping your business grow while branding you and your services in our community. You can come to a minimum of two of our networking events as a guest to meet our members and to engage with staff on a professional level. We want you to be comfortable and to see for yourself the personality and/or vibe of our organization, our people and our mission and vision.
What Inspired You to First Get Involved with Your Chamber?
I’d like to think I’m a people person and I love helping people. Small businesses struggle with having enough capital to spend on marketing/branding themselves to their constituents and potential customers. The Chamber is an incredible resource to be able to provide cost effective marketing campaigns that they can use on their social media platforms, in their stores and on their websites. We are successful if our Members are successful. I love the resource that we are to our business community.
What is a Signature Offering of Your Chamber?
Marketing 101. My background is advertising and marketing, and my Events & Marketing Coordinator, Kelsey Redmond, is well versed in social media. We offer FREE Business 101 classes that cover a wide range of topics for marketing that give our Members tools to bring their business current in the digital marketing space. We also will sit down with our Members and help them develop a content calendar for their social media because we know how overwhelming it can be when you’re a one man/woman show. We provide marketing flyers for member events and programming. Advertising is hard and we offer help.
What is Your Chamber’s Biggest Accomplishment in the Past 12 Months
We surpassed over 290K visitors to our website, have increased our FB followers to nearly 6,030 and still have the time to meet one-on-one with our businesses to talk strategy and goals for growth.
What Initiative/Project Are You Looking Forward to in the Upcoming Year?
We continue to work on re-imagining our “downtown” area – Olde Town — and have made progress in removing an old, dilapidated building making way for an awesome segue to one of our many bike trails. Next up is working with our Arts & Culture Commission on finding an artist to paint a mural on one of the buildings within the segue.
What Partnership Tools/Resources Have Been Most Beneficial to Your Chamber Members?
Our Members have found the Small Business Summit to be one of great value whether they were an attendee or one of the speakers. The content is relative to business owners, and it is always helpful to be around your peers who may be experiencing the same challenges that you are.
What Are Your Upcoming Events?
Thursday, May 11 – Membership Power Lunch: Bouncing Back with Tom Clegg of Clegg of The Clegg Consulting Group from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Thursday, May 18 – Regional Business After Hours at Brick & Ivy on the Rooftop from 4:30 – 6 p.m.
Friday, June 2 – Wine & Craft Beer Fest featuring Hy-Vee IndyCar at the Enabling Garden from 5 – 8 p.m.
The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the fourth largest regional Chamber of Commerce in the nation. Learn more about Partnership Affiliate Chambers, browse the Membership Directory and read additional Affiliate Chamber spotlights.
Melissa Horton is the Executive Vice President of the Altoona Area Chamber. Born and raised in Altoona, Melissa learned to connect, collaborate and cultivate in her position. Prior to the Chamber, she worked for the Des Moines Register. Currently, she is on the Board of Directors for Caring Hands Outreach Center, a food pantry for those facing food insecurity.