2019 ANNUAL REPORT


While separate entities, the Ames Chamber of Commerce and the Ames Economic Development Commission share staff and other resources as they work towards a common goal: providing a unified approach to strengthening and promoting business and community and to support our members and investors.

Vision 2022 is a strategic plan developed to guide both organizations forward. Significant progress has been made in recent years to grow and expand the Ames and Story County business community, while committing to address identified challenges.

With support from its affiliate organizations, the Chamber and AEDC will continue to focus on leading economic development and growth.

Vision 2022 consists of four elements that work in unison to build the organizations’ vision for the future.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Creating jobs and a strong workforce that supports growth and innovation in Ames and Story County.

CREATING TO NURTURING

Creating an environment that attracts, engages, and supports residents of all ages and backgrounds.

ADVOCACY

Ensuring a voice at the table for Ames and Story County businesses and residents that promotes healthy development and improves quality of place.

ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Ensuring strong organizations now and in the future.

While separate entities, the Ames Chamber of Commerce and the Ames Economic Development Commission share staff and other resources as they work towards a common goal: providing a unified approach to strengthening and promoting business and community and to support our members and investors.

Vision 2022 is a strategic plan developed to guide both organizations forward. Significant progress has been made in recent years to grow and expand the Ames and Story County business community, while committing to address identified challenges.

With support from its affiliate organizations, the Chamber and AEDC will continue to focus on leading economic development and growth.

Vision 2022 consists of four elements that work in unison to build the organizations’ vision for the future.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Creating jobs and a strong workforce that supports growth and innovation in Ames and Story County.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Nurturing an environment that attracts, engages, and supports residents of all ages and backgrounds.

ADVOCACY

Ensuring a voice at the table for Ames and Story County businesses and residents that promotes healthy development and improves quality of place.

ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Ensuring strong organizations now and in the future.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Creating jobs and a strong workforce that supports growth and innovation in Ames and Story County.

125
dollars in pledged capital investment
12
project wins
418
jobs created
2,000
cups of coffee served at Startup Ames 1 Million Cups events

Representatives from all 15 Story County communities attended the first ever Economic Development Summit to address needs in Story County and highlight the importance of partnerships for future growth.

* Projects in Ames, Story City, Huxley, and Slater include Vertex Software, Performance Livestock Analytics, Pivot Bio, Vytelle, American Packaging Corporation, Digital Manufacturing Lab Powered by Alliant Energy, Gross-Wen Technologies, Innovative Technologies, BASF, and Syngenta.

Startup Ames created a local chapter of the 1 Million Cups program to provide entrepreneurs a place to share ideas and network, hosting a total of 41 events throughout 2019.

COUNTYWIDE JOB BOARD

200,822
searches on workinames.com

Partnered with Livability Magazine and The Iowan Project to assist with relocation efforts highlighting career opportunities available in Ames and Story County.

1,370
registered job seekers

INCREASING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES AND ENHANCING THE AVAILABILITY OF TALENT

226 interns from 43 companies participated in four See Yourself in Ames summer internship events.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Nurturing an environment that attracts, engages and supports residents of all ages and backgrounds.

CAMPUSTOWN ACTION ASSOCIATION

Volunteers spent 583 hours planning and executing 12 different events to encourage visitors and residents to spend more time in Campustown.

plants and flowers were planted by volunteers to enhance the visual appeal of the Campustown district

volunteers participated in the Annual Campustown Safety Walk to identify potential safety hazards throughout the district

New website designed to showcase the Campustown district will launch in January 2020!

THE AMES FOUNDATION

819,100
in donations received for the construction of the Ames Miracle Playground & Field
160
trees planted by TAF volunteers
190
individuals, organizations, and businesses contributed to enhance the community through tree planting, Ames Miracle Playground and Field, road signage, beautification, and more.

The Ames Miracle Playground & Field broke ground at Inis Grove Park in August to provide an inclusive play space for individuals with mobility challenges. Construction is anticipated to complete in 2020.

AMES MAIN STREET FARMERS’ MARKET

Many kids participated in annual Kid’s Bake Off event sponsored by Cooks’ Emporium.

Local producers, bakers, artisans, and non-profit community groups participated in The Market

Indoor markets hosted during the off-season

Named “Best Local Event in Story County” for the fourth consecutive year!

2019 saw some of the largest crowds in the history of the Ames Main Street Farmers’ Market

FUEL STORY COUNTY

23
community and partner outreach projects participated in to encourage members to give back and get involved

Unveiled new brand and organization name to nurture a more inclusive group across ages and industries.

Created a new community event, FUEL Fest, in partnership with Reiman Gardens. This event invites community members out for local music, food, and drinks while exploring the gardens the last Thursday of the month from May – October.

AMES MAIN STREET

5.5
dollars in capital investment in Downtown Ames in 2019!
350
hours spent engaging with Downtown businesses and community outreach initiatives
10
General membership meetings hosted to provide business owners in the District with educational opportunities to expand and grow their business and keep up-to-date on District news

Implemented a new strategic plan for Ames Main Street, which will guide the organization forward.

EXPANDING THE RETAIL, ENTERTAINMENT, AND RECREATION OPPORTUNITIES IN AMES AND STORY COUNTY

Community Events were expanded to better showcase our diverse membership.

ADVOCACY

Ensuring a voice at the table for Ames and Story County businesses and residents that promotes healthy development and improves quality of place.

8
events hosted providing members an opportunity to interact with local, state, and federal elected officials throughout 2019
15
video updates on the 2019 Legislative Session
5
videos created in partnership with Model Farm to highlight City of Ames City Council Candidates and their platforms to help Get Out the Vote

Advocated on behalf of Chamber members including:

  • Advocated throughout the State Legislative Session and positively impacted multiple pieces of legislation, including the property tax reform bill, Future Ready Iowa, Empower Rural Iowa, and the extension of the SAVE school infrastructure sales tax penny.
  • Continued to provide critical City and School Election resources and utilized technology more than ever before to reach a broader, more diverse audience.
  • Maintained the Ames Chamber of Commerce’s strong relationship with our city, school, county, state, and federal officials, allowing us to mobilize and impact key policy decisions quickly and effectively.

FEDERAL PRIORITIES TRIP TO WASHINGTON, DC

The Ames Chamber of Commerce Washington, D.C. Trip was a tremendous success:

19 business, community, and institutional leaders visited Washington, D.C. in May for our Annual DC Fly-In and advocated for improved trade, renewable energy and biorenewables, rural water, infrastructure, and immigration policy.

A SYMPOSIUM ON BUILDING INCLUSIVE ORGANIZATIONS

Keynote speaker Ritu Bhasin addressing the audience.

170
people attended the second annual Symposium on Building Inclusive Organizations on October 29

Unique partnership with City of Ames, Iowa State University and Ames Chamber of Commerce provided practical strategies towards building more inclusive workplaces.

4th ANNUAL INTER-CITY VISIT

29
community leaders visited Ft. Collins, Colorado to learn more about how they have transformed their Old Town area into a vibrant, inviting district. A new event this year was a round table time where attendees enjoyed learning from local leaders about the many different faces of Ft. Collins from the Creative District to homeless outreach programs.

PARTNERING WITH THE CITY OF AMES, STORY COUNTY AND OTHER KEY STAKEHOLDERS TO FOSTER AND SUSTAIN POSITIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH

We are pleased to provide economic development services to the communities under 2,000 in population for the Story County Board of Supervisors.

2019 • Challenges & Opportunities • Zearing • Community Venture Network • In Fill Lot Development • New Housing Subdivisions Housing Rehabilitation • Commercial Development • McCallsburg Planning • Small Business Support • Roland Economic Development Gilbert • Colo Economic Development • Community Development Industrial Development • Marketing Support • Kelly • Funding Ideas Technical Support • Collins • Infrastructure Discussions Slater • Cambridge • Maxwell • Façade Improvements • Colo • Roland

ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Ensuring strong organizations now and in the future.

681,000
invested in the Ames Economic Development Commission from 76 investors
579
Chamber Members

#STORYGROWS

The Digital Manufacturing Lab Powered by Alliant Energy celebrated their grand opening in September. This partnership between Alliant Energy, CIRAS, and the ISU Research Park will provide Iowa companies the opportunity to learn about and experiment with new manufacturing technologies.

Continued to engage the entire Story County community with the hashtag #StoryGrows and videos highlighting the importance of economic development

379
tweets using #StoryGrows in 2019

GROWING TO SERVE STORY COUNTY

We were proud to add another contract for services to our portfolio of work when we entered into an agreement with the Iowa State University Research Park in September. Under the leadership of their new President, Rick Sanders, we were approached and readily accepted his challenge to serve in this capacity as an extension of his team.

In addition to external marketing of sites and buildings in the Park, we are now also managing all of their events and a share of their social media. This alignment is powerful as the Park is a rich asset for the Ames/Story County community, as well as the State of Iowa. We are proud to be working in a more formal arrangement on their behalf.

ENGAGING AND CELEBRATING CHAMBER MEMBERS

Created numerous opportunities for members to get to know each other and build relationships, while celebrating member successes and growth

3,751
registered attendees at events
36
events with registration
41
ribbon cuttings celebrating new members, remodels, and anniversaries
11
Business After Hours events averaging 185 attendees

Most popular events include:

  • Ames Seed Capital Annual Meeting
  • Leadercast
  • Steak Fry
  • A Symposium on Building Inclusive Organizations
  • Annual Awards Celebration
  • “A Bold Vision” Annual Event

#SMARTCHOICE

Increased digital engagement through the use of video campaigns and the implementation of a weekly blog.

4,051,510
business referrals through AmesChamber.com
4,027
average referral per member

Top searched categories include

  • Restaurants
  • Insurance
  • Accounting & Tax Services
  • Retail
  • Hotels / Motels

Valued Programs and Services
Increased small business engagement through the implementation of Coffee Mingle and the Business Builder Series. Coffee Mingle is hosted at a small business member to provide opportunities to share ideas and network with other members. The Business Builder Series provides businesses with tools to build their business, with topics like marketing, human resources, and sales.

2019 ACCOLADES

#9 – “The Top 10 Best U.S. States for Education”
(US News, 2019)

#14 – “Overall Best States Rankings”
(US News, 2019)

#7 – “Top 10 Cities for Career Opportunities in 2019”
(SmartAsset, 2019)

#4 – “Best Places for Millennials to Move”
(Reviews.org, 2019)

#39 – “Best Small Cities for Business”
(Chamber of Commerce, 2019)

#1 – “10 Best States in America for Jobs”
(Zippia, 2019)

#33 – “Top 100 Places to Live in 2019”
(Livability, 2019)

Hosted an ISU Basketball Gamewatch event during March’s Business After Hours
at the Sukup Endzone Club at Jack Trice Stadium.