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Chair's Column: Continue to Support #DSMlocal as We Recover from the Pandemic

Continuing Support of DSMlocal in Pandemic Recovery

March 25, 2021

Last year right around this time, we were starting to fully understand the COVID-19 pandemic and how it would affect our lives and organizations for the foreseeable future. One of the impacts that became immediately clear was that our small businesses needed help. Social distancing affects any business that relies on in-person service, whether that be a retailer, restaurant, bar or even companies that provide services such as professional development training. In response, the Greater Des Moines Partnership worked with local partners to launch a number of initiatives to help small businesses and encourage community members to support local. Here is a snapshot of what we were able to accomplish, together:

  • A number of public and private partners contributed to the Small Business Recovery Grant Program that awarded $1.79 million to 292 companies.
  • The Extend the Season Grant led by the same partners resulted in 325 outdoor heaters provided to local restaurants.
  • The DSM Local Challenge, launched by Catch Des Moines and The Partnership, encouraged residents to support local, and the #DSMlocalchallenge hashtag garnered more than 42.8 million impressions.

Spring Brings an Opportunity to Support Local Businesses

A year after the beginning of the pandemic, we can sense optimism in the air. More and more people are getting vaccinated and the weather is getting warmer. It is as important as ever to support local small businesses. According to a recent survey by SCORE, a total of 48.7% of small businesses described themselves as not profitable at the end of 2020, up from 25.3% at the end of 2019. That number is unfortunately even higher for Black-owned small businesses (56.3%) and Hispanic-owned small businesses (52.8%).

#DSMLocal Guides

That is why we launched the #DSMLocal Buying Guide and Restaurant Guide. Residents can find a list of where to shop, where to eat and how to do it safely using the #DSMLocal Buying Guide and Restaurant Guide. If your business is a Member of The Partnership, or one of its Affiliate Chambers, and would like to be featured in one of the guides, you can sign up online using this link: bit.ly/38HTsAn. You can find the guides and a list of even more places to buy local, including a link to the Black Iowa Business Directory compiled by The Directors Council, at DSMpartnership.com/DSMlocal.

We also published a Spring Break Buying Guide with ideas that are still relevant even now after Spring Break is over. As the weather gets warmer, we have also published a Gardening Buying Guide for ideas on where to support local as you work on your spring gardening and landscaping plans. In coming months, watch for Buying Guide’s for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. You can find all of these guides and more at DSMpartnership.com/blog.

Our community has done a tremendous job stepping up in a time of need. We encourage you to continue supporting local small businesses as we begin to emerge from this pandemic. Your support could be the difference.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.

Fred Buie

Fred Buie is president of Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company and serves as the Greater Des Moines Partnership's 2021 board chair.