Altoona Chamber of Commerce DSM Affiliate Spotlight
Altoona Chamber of Commerce
Elected Leader for 2021
Makenzie Moburg-Appleton, President
Professional Staff Leader of the Chamber
Melissa Horton, Executive Director
Number of Members
361 & Growing
How Does a Business Join Your Chamber?
Chamber staff and leadership are on top of new businesses coming into the area and typically make visits or calls to prospective members for a one-on-one conversation about the benefits of joining our organization. Some businesses choose to do their research and spend time on our website and social sites then can join online through our website, but even those Members are contacted for an intentional conversation and welcome. Businesses interested in being our community partner can register online on the chamber's website or by calling Melissa Horton at (515) 967-3366 to schedule your visit.
What Inspired You to First Get Involved with Your Chamber?
I started at Prairie Vista Village in May of 2014 when Melissa had reached out to me about joining the Chamber as a Board Member due to my network and connections within Altoona and surrounding communities and the Southeast Polk School District.
What is a Signature Offering of Your Chamber?
The Chamber staff has great experience with marketing and promotion and has been successful in helping our small businesses gain exposure through video production, marketing material development and graphic design, as well as training sessions on how to use social media platforms to your advantage. We also are great at bringing businesses together for collaborative projects and community support.
What is Your Chamber's Biggest Accomplishment in the Past 12 Months?
We provided countless opportunities for information sharing and guidance through the pandemic as well as teamed up with Facebook and East Polk Innovation Collaborative to lift up 100’s of local businesses with over $350K in emergency grant dollars. The Chamber also stepped up our game with video production for our members that grew our social media footprint (and theirs) by hundreds of new followers and likes.
We hosted all but one of our events in 2020 and have hit the ground running in 2021 with bigger than expected attendance at our Wine & Craft Beer Fest and annual golf outing. Our “re-imagination” of Olde Town Altoona initiative is off to a great start! The Olde Town Business Association is also back up and running. They have been hosting a weekly Farmer’s Market since the 1st of June – growing in attendance and vendors each week. Our Farm to Table event is just around the corner and we look to increase attendance to that event by 50% YOY.
The Chamber launched a new app in collaboration with Deetz. The app is a local entrepreneurial effort to bring 24-hour event updates to our residents and visitors. We were the first in the metro to buy in and now they are everywhere!
What Initiative/Project Are You Looking Forward to in the Upcoming Year?
We are organizing “meet & greets” with congressional leadership throughout the next 2 months. We also started our East Polk Regional Event schedule with Bondurant and Pleasant Hill.
The team is also digging into redeveloping/reimagining our Olde Town area and creating a family space with recreation, entertainment and local events will be a legacy for our organization in small business development and economic growth.
What Partnership Tools/Resources Have Been Most Beneficial to Your Chamber Members?
We frequently encourage small businesses to lean into Christina Moffatt, Director of Small Business Development at The Partnership when they have situations that we don’t have the resources to solve. In 2020, we utilized the information they shared with us on the COVID19 response for business and used Zoom to provide several updates to area professionals and provided information to our restaurant industry on resources made available through the Partnership like patio heaters and funding.
What Are Your Upcoming Events?
Some upcoming Altoona Chamber events are the SEP Back to School Breakfast, August 17th; Women of Vision, August 25th; Farm to Table Dinner, September 19th.
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.