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Affiliate Chamber Spotlight: 2021 Downtown Chamber of Commerce

Downtown Chamber 2021

October 20, 2021

Chamber Name + Website

Downtown Chamber of Commerce

Elected Leader for 2021

Amanda Wiebers, president, board of directors

Professional Staff Leader of the Chamber

Staci Bennett, executive director

Number of Members

241 member businesses

How Does a Business Join Your Chamber?

A business or individual can join the Downtown Chamber by visiting our website or by reaching out to Staci directly at sbennett@dtchamber.com. The Downtown Chamber also has a wonderful ambassador committee that will welcome new businesses to the neighborhood and walk through how the Chamber can benefit them!

What Inspired You to First Get Involved with Your Chamber?

I was offered the opportunity to get involved when I first began my role at Wakonda Club. I was looking for ways to connect with many different people around Downtown DSM, and the Chamber’s networking events were a no-pressure way to begin that endeavor. I loved the people I met so much that I began to volunteer with the Chamber on the events committee. LEAP

What is a Signature Offering of Your Chamber?

Our Development Insight Group (DIG) brings together developers, the City of Des Moines and public constituents to learn about, tour and discuss projects that are influencing the Downtown DSM landscape. DIG hosts the summer skyline series (a secret patio networking series), the economic bike tour and the Top 10 event. The Advocacy Committee also hosts a series of discussions with City leaders that our members can participate in, as well as having a seat at the table on issues like new metered parking and the skywalk beautification and safety platforms.

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

Our Chamber’s biggest accomplishment the past 12 months has been developing a scrappy sense of “grit”. The Chamber hired Staci Bennett in the midst of the fall uptick in COVID-19 cases; as a board we supported fellow board members as they maneuvered their own professional challenges; and we continued to provide consistent and safe events for our members outdoors, virtually and indoors as members were ready to return to gathering again.

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

As a Chamber board and staff, we are embarking on a thorough and complete strategic plan that will align our initiatives with Greater Des Moines Partnership and member business desires. I am looking forward to using that plan to better understand what our members are looking for from the Chamber and to providing them with events, resources and tools that serve them even better in the downtown community as it’s evolved over the last 20 months.

The large-scale amenities that are being developed downtown, such as the soccer complex and the park near EMC Insurance are ones that will continue to provide invaluable boosts to our members business and residents thanks to The Partnership, City and our work as a Chamber.

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

As a Chamber, we are so appreciative for the continued correspondence The Partnership provided our members on pandemic resources, grants and tools to continue to persevere in a real-time way. Currently, as an “urban neighborhood” chamber, we find the larger speaker opportunities that The Partnership provides (such as efforts around small businesses and DEI) to be invaluable resources to provide to our membership that we would not be able to necessarily leverage as a single Chamber.

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.

Amanda Wiebers

Amanda Wiebers has spent the last seven years as membership director at Wakonda Club. She is making the jump to business owner as she opens Joujou, a play space for children ages 0-5. Amanda has been involved with the Downtown Chamber Board six years as events chair, secretary and president.