2023 Affiliate Chamber Spotlight: DSM West Side Chamber of Commerce
Chamber Name + Website
Des Moines West Side Chamber of Commerce
Elected Leaders for 2023
Kristen Boldt, Harmony Consulting
Jared Hassman, Merle Hay Mall
Tonja Schira, Re/Max Concepts
Dawn Collins, Edward Jones
Ryan Arnold, Drake University
Alec David, Dough Co Pizza
Hanna de Geest, Des Moines University
Mike Johnson, Teacher Wealth
Molly Olasky, Mediacom
Faiza Omar, Financial Plus Credit Union
Maria Torres, Iowa Realty
Number of Members
How Does a Business Join Your Chamber?
The membership application is on our website, and any of our board members are happy to sit down and talk if you have questions. If you have a small business, no matter where you are, if you want to make an impact and have a good ROI on your investment of time, the Des Moines West Side Chamber is a great place to be. We have a diverse membership of businesses, educational institutions, the arts and nonprofits, but the bulk of our members are small businesses. When you come to events, you are connecting and building relationships with other business owners. As one member said, “I love being involved and knowing my voice makes a difference and I won’t get lost in the crowd.”
Our Wake Up West Side and Third Thursday after hours events are free and open to all so you can come visit and see if we’re a good fit.
What Inspired You to First Get Involved with Your Chamber?
When I came back to work after taking time off when my kids were young it was important for me to get connected to the business world again. What impressed me about the West Side Chamber is how welcoming everyone was and how easy it was to get to know people and get involved. As a solopreneur, it is so important to have people you can go to for advice and guidance and that is what I’ve found in the West Side Chamber. I grew up in the area and have raised my family here, and I really appreciate the Chamber’s dedication to strengthening all aspects of our community.
Photo Caption: Our Des Moines West Side Chamber Board is a dedicated group of volunteers working with members and our community to support and promote the unique quality of life and business that defines the Des Moines West Side.
What is a Signature Offering of Your Chamber?
Our Economic Development Bus Tour with DART! The tour takes riders through the West Side Chamber footprint to see what has been going on and to learn about proposed new projects. The event starts with lunch at one of our member restaurants followed by a bus tour through our footprint including Beaverdale, Merle Hay, Drake University and Dog Town, Uptown Shopping Center, Roosevelt Cultural District, The Avenues of Ingersoll/Grand, MLK Pkwy, Lower Douglas Ave area and back to Beaverdale.
Something unique we do with all of our events is to provide a range of sponsorship opportunities that are affordable for businesses of all sizes because we want everyone to have the opportunity to promote their business and contribute to the greater community.
What is Your Chamber’s Biggest Accomplishment in the Past 12 Months?
In the last 12 months we have developed a new chamber model. We decided to be a volunteer driven chamber with a working board. This allows our members to have direct influence and involvement that then impacts their businesses. We all know the saying that people do business with people they know, like and trust. Relationships are critical for small business success. This new model has really reinvigorated our membership. We’ve seen both membership numbers and event attendance and engagement go up significantly. It’s all about connection.
What Initiative/Project Are You Looking Forward to in the Upcoming Year?
With a footprint covering so many different economic areas in Greater Des Moines (DSM), we are excited to support the continued growth and development in our area. Projects like the new art project on the steps between Ingersoll and Grand are a great example of the personality, charm and community engagement on the Des Moines West Side. We are here to do whatever we can to help our member businesses and community partners be successful.
What Partnership Tools/Resources Have Been Most Beneficial to Your Chamber Members?
The Partnership offers so many great educational events throughout the year. The Small Business Success Summit is a fantastic opportunity to connect with other business owners, learn about new trends and tools and get the support we all need to be successful small business owners.
What Are Your Upcoming Events?
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.