A- A+

Making DSM Home

Making DSM Home in 2021

August 24, 2021

Making Greater Des Moines (DSM) home became a potential reality several years ago, when I was traveling back and forth from Cedar Rapids to meet with growth and marketing clients. My husband and I saw a trend of steady income and continued career growth, as I was acquiring healthy and increasingly profitable client relationships in DSM.

The Right Conditions to Make the Move

The market bared a high-income threshold, increased level of diversity, vibrant business and nonprofit sectors, strong schools and a low cost of living. With two daughters in a school they loved, a neighborhood and home we adored, family surrounding us and careers we mindfully sculpted, the necessary conditions to move were mighty and seemingly unlikely. To move, we needed to make sure to have the following in place:

  1. Obtain the green light from husband’s employer to move and continue his longstanding career there
  2. Familiarize the kids to DSM, establishing their connections to the city and the people
  3. Find a company compelling in mission, rich in team and talent to lure me back into the corporate landscape

Then magically, the pieces fell into place. With the transition to remote work and mobility of his role as Director of Risk Management, my husband received the green light to move. Number one on the list was complete.

While I had become professionally acquainted with the city, it was during recovery from the derecho, and staying with DSM friends, that our family found time to become personally involved in the region. With the kids ping-ponging between virtual and in-person school, a heavy dose of daily change and immersion into DSM neighborhoods, they quickly claimed shops and restaurants as if they were their own and attended local events with excitement — making the idea of moving less scary. With that, we had inadvertently checked off number two on the list!Des Moines Business Record Team

After a few months of pandemic pivots and economic twists, a reconnection with the Des Moines Business Record prompted consideration to join the company. As a past client, I shared in their impactful mission and respected their editorial work. I joined the advertising team as a senior advertising executive in February, surrounding myself with an amazing group of individuals and the ability to continue growth and marketing consulting.

In a wild housing market, followed by a derecho, in the midst of a pandemic and economic ambiguity — our third and final condition was realized, and we made the choice to move!

What It’s Like in DSM

Over the past four months, living in DSM, we’ve become proud citizens, embracing and enjoying the changes from small to large.2021 National Balloon Classic

The people have been extremely welcoming! Neighbors have quickly introduced themselves — inviting our family to bonfires, kickball games, movie nights and local outings, like the National Balloon Classic. That sense of community was, perhaps, the most crucial detail of our move, having come from a tight-knit neighborhood and friend group in Cedar Rapids.

It’s been encouraging to meet neighbors, many of which are transplants themselves. Their careers varying from educators and police officers to physicians’ assistants, insurance leaders and tech professionals. The motley pack of neighborhood kids all acclimating to new homes, friendships, schools and sports teams, are bonding over their collective newness to the DSM community. Colleagues and fast friends have made endless suggestions and referrals, sharing helpful tips upon our arrival, including knowledgeable medical care to school teachers, recreation groups and best places to eat.Barn Town

The business community has been equally as impressive — quick to welcome a new face, embrace diversity of thought and skills, connecting us to individuals and organizations to accelerate the continued growth and well-being of DSM.

We’ve enjoyed the pride and care the region takes in perpetuating the places we now call home, often seeing crews of city workers maintaining and enhancing green spaces, such as the Greenbelt and Racoon River Valley Trail. We’ve enjoyed the outdoor activities and joined in events such as the Clive Festival, Hinterland and the Iowa State Fair, as well as swimming and boating at Saylorville and relaxing with the Van Meter Pygmy Patch for goat yoga.

Seeing the level at which individuals and organizations train, develop and grow to contribute to a healthy business and nonprofit landscape has been inspiring and reassuring. It’s no surprise, based on the 2020 Des Moines Register Census, Dallas County, where we call home, ranks as the fourth fastest growing county in the United States, and first across the state of Iowa.

In rediscovering the richness of Downtown DSM, and familiarizing ourselves with the surrounding communities, here are some of the entertaining places we’ve found along our journey:

Fun Shops

Established Favorite Coffee Spots

Lunch Spots

Date Night Favorites

Family Fun with the kids

Fun Family Meals

Family Recreation

Local Events

  • Clive Festival (foam fire truck slip & slide)
  • Hinterland Music Festival, The Avett Brothers
  • Local Farmers Markets (Valley Junction, Downtown DSM and Uptown Ankeny)
  • Indianola National Balloon Classic
  • ISU & U of I Football Tailgates

Cocktail w/Friends


Family Must-Sees

We’ve found culture and character in each pocket of DSM. It’s easy to live here and exciting to watch steady economic development and community projects unfold.

We continue to introduce ourselves to various parts of DSM and embrace all of its diverse experiences, while passing along the warm welcome we received upon our arrival to the city.

Are you interested in moving to Greater Des Moines (DSM)? Relocation Packets offer information on everything from neighborhoods and shopping to parks and local attractions. Or, kick start your career by checking out the DSM USA Career Center. It has over 10,000 jobs listed!

Named the #1 Best Place to Live in the Midwest and #2 Safest Place to Live, Greater Des Moines (DSM) is a city where you can have it all. Learn more about what it’s like to live here.

Chrissy Smith

Cedar Rapids native turned Clive citizen, Chrissy Smith, senior ad executive for Des Moines Business Record, shares her journey from growth and marketing strategy to commercial advertising sales.