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Affiliate Chamber Spotlight: 2020 Altoona Area Chamber of Commerce

Altoona Chamber Updates

September 16, 2020

Chamber Name + Website

Altoona Area Chamber of Commerce

Elected Leader for 2020

Steve Olsen, President

Professional Staff Leader of the Chamber

Melissa Horton, Executive Director
Maaike Hendrikson, Event Coordinator

Number of Members


How Does a Business Join Your Chamber?

Folks can join as easily as signing up online at our website, or they can send an inquiry to the executive director and schedule a one-on-one in-person visit. We do keep an out for any business developments and reach out to them as a welcome to the community.

What Inspired You to First Get Involved with Your Chamber?

The Altoona 21st Century Rehab location has been a member of the Altoona Area Chamber for several years. As we sponsored and volunteered to help with events, I really enjoyed the interaction with other Members and the connection with the community. The commitment I see from other Members and those on the Board of Directors motivated me to become involved myself.

What is a Signature Offering of Your Chamber?

The Chamber has mastered social media, staying on top of whatever our Members are doing to help share promotions with the community. We host eight signature events (two that are new in 2020) to help connect our Members with potential customers. We also host several Business 101 classes that are included as a Member benefit. These classes cover a multitude of topics like diversity and inclusion, how to build a business in an online world, as well as company culture and the multigenerational workforce.

What is Your Chamber’s Biggest Accomplishment in the Past 12 Months?

We have seen firsthand (as many of us have) the challenges that COVID-19 has had on our business community. We were one of the first Greater Des Moines (DSM) to hit the ground running with promotional posts on how to support our local restaurant and bar industries when executive orders forced them to shutter their doors. We made personal phone calls gathering information for each and every one of them. We posted the long list on March 17, 2020. Our initial reach was 15,100 people and it was shared 129 times. We truly believe we helped keep them afloat early on.

What Initiative/Project Are You Looking Forward to in the Upcoming Year?

The Altoona Area Chamber of Commerce is housed in the Olde Town area of Altoona — ripe with potential for retail, entertainment and food industries. The 2019/20 Board of Directors decided to take on revitalizing the area to bring more of what our community wants to this district near and dear to their hearts. We’ve just completed a Downtown Assessment and will be sharing our findings at our first annual Farm to Table dinner on Sunday, September 20. This is a marathon, not a sprint, but we, along with the city leadership are reimagining the possibilities and implementing plans for this exciting project.

The renderings below showcase project renderings. Click on the images to expand.

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What Partnership Tools/Resources Have Been Most Beneficial to Your Chamber Members?

I have referred many an entrepreneur to Christina Moffitt, director of small business development at The Partnership. She has been a featured speaker at our Women of Vision series luncheons and is an incredible resource for our organization.

What Are Your Upcoming Events?

  • Sunday, September 20 — Farm to Table Dinner, Olde Town Charm
  • Friday, October 9 — Autumn in Altoona, a Fall Vendor Market (with wine and craft beer samples, homemade and handcrafted vendors, mini fall photo sessions and more!)
  • Thursday, October 22 — Business Trick or Treat
  • Thursday, October 29 — Business 101: Year-End Tax Planning for Your Business with Timmins, Jacobsen and Strawhacker
  • Saturday, November 7 — Chamber Charity 5K Benefiting the Altoona Baseball League
  • Friday and Saturday, November 27-28 — Holiday Tour of Stores and Small Business Saturday

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.

Steve Olsen, D.P.T.

Steve Olsen is a doctor of physical therapy and is clinic director of 21st Century Rehab in Altoona. Olsen graduated from Central College, Des Moines University and Washington University in St. Louis. In his free time, he enjoys home projects with his wife and cheering on his two children at Southeast Polk.