Affiliate Chamber Spotlight: 2021 Des Moines West Side Chamber of Commerce
Chamber Name + Website
DSM West Side Chamber of Commerce
Elected leader for 2021
John Kendeigh, president of the board
Professional Staff Leader of the Chamber
Darrell Sarmento, executive director
Number of Members
How Does a Business Join Your Chamber?
Joining our Chamber is as easy as clicking the “Join Us!” link on our website, or give us a call and we will come by your business.
What Inspired You to First Get Involved with Your Chamber?
I have been serving local chambers for over a dozen years. I believe in the importance of the local chamber and have an employer that supports community involvement.
What is a Signature Offering of Your Chamber?
We are passionate about the West Side! Even with the COVID-19 challenges our Chamber continues to grow with over 270 members.
Wake Up West Side!
Wake Up West Side! is a monthly networking time that moves to various businesses and locations throughout the West Side. It’s always a great way to start the day. Our B.O.S.S. Program (Business Owners Success Strategies) is a monthly gathering of business owners, managers and nonprofit leaders discussing issues and challenges in a confidential setting. There are two of those groups now and we are also launching a business referral group in 2021.
Development Bus Tours
Encouraging economic development is a priority for our Chamber. Our Economic Development Bus Tour is an annual “can’t-miss” event currently highlighting over 300 million in economic development on the west side. The event is held the first Friday after Labor Day, and we are hoping to host the tour again after COVID restrictions are lifted. The Drake University area known as “Dogtown,” along with Merle Hay Mall will be a major focus on our 2021 tour.
Annual Celebration + Business Awards
Held annually, the West Side Celebration and Business Awards rotates through various locations around the West Side. Our 2021 Celebration was held at the newly remodeled Des Moines Playhouse.
What is Your Chamber’s Biggest Accomplishment in the Past 12 Months?
In the midst of Covid, we are excited to have launched two new initiatives in 2020, including the Dogtown Business and Entertainment District and the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. Continuing and expanding these efforts in 2021 will be a priority.
Our Chamber launched a committee to create a Dogtown Business and Entertainment District in partnership with Drake University and the Neighborhood Development Corp. An internet search for Dogtown DSM will connect you with our social media and give you updates on this effort. It’s going to be awesome.
Diversity and Inclusion Task Force
The Chamber has some exciting collaboration underway. Two of our Board members, Lu Spaine and David Pargulski, have also created a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force with the specific goal of supporting black business owners on the west side.
What Partnership Tools/Resources Have Been Most Beneficial to Your Chamber Members?
The Small Business Resource Hub is definitely a plus as most of the businesses on the West Side are small businesses.
What Are Your Upcoming Events?
Our Mid-Metro Chamber Open Golf Tournament will be back on Thursday, August 5. Colby Interests is our presenting sponsor and we will host it in partnership with the Windsor Heights Chamber. We’re also looking forward to a Dogtown Walking Tour this summer.
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.