2020 ANNUAL REPORT


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

A Bold Vision 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 the affiliate organizations, the Ames Chamber and Economic Development Commission will continue to focus on leading economic development and growth.

A Bold Vision consists of six elements that work in unison to build the organizations’ vision for the future.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Grow the size of the Ames MSA laborforce to 70,000 by the end of 2022 while increasing the diversity and quality of the labor pool.

ADVOCACY

Ensure a voice at the table for Story County businesses that promotes healthy development.

PLACEMAKING

Support and encourage enhancements to community amenities, assets and infrastructure to improve overall quality of place.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Grow Story County’s economy by assisting with projects that create 1,500 new jobs and grow private sector capital investments by $150M or more by the end of 2022.

SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAMMING

Elevate engagement with small businesses (500 employees or fewer) within Story County.

ORGANIZATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY

Position the Ames Chamber and Economic Development Commission with the resources necessary to foster success for the organization and community by increasing organizational revenue to $3.5M by the end of 2022.

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

A Bold Vision 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 the affiliate organizations, the Ames Chamber and Economic Development Commission will continue to focus on leading economic development and growth.

A Bold Vision consists of six elements that work in unison to build the organizations’ vision for the future.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Grow the size of the Ames MSA laborforce to 70,000 by the end of 2022 while increasing the diversity and quality of the labor pool.

ADVOCACY

Ensure a voice at the table for Story County businesses that promotes healthy development.

PLACEMAKING

Support and encourage enhancements to community amenities, assets and infrastructure to improve overall quality of place.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Grow Story County’s economy by assisting with projects that create 1,500 new jobs and grow private sector capital investments by $150M or more by the end of 2022.

SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAMMING

Elevate engagement with small businesses (500 employees or fewer) within Story County.

ORGANIZATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY

Position the Ames Chamber and Economic Development Commission with the resources necessary to foster success for the organization and community by increasing organizational revenue to $3.5M by the end of 2022.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Grow the size of the Ames MSA laborforce to 70,000 by the end of 2022 while increasing the diversity and quality of the labor pool.

60,200
Ames MSA labor force as of October 31, 2020
50,000
secured in funding from the State of Iowa to grow apprenticeship opportunities
2
unemployment rate - a drastic drop from 8.5% in April!

Manufacturing students from the Story County Innovation Project troubleshoot machine issues.

Countywide Job Board

125,244
searches on WorkInAmes.com
1,842
registered job seekers
505
registered employers

STORY COUNTY INNOVATION PROJECT

Created in partnership with United Way of Story County, the Story County Innovation Project is an expansion of Des Moines Area Community College’s retraining program.

80,000
grant dollars received for project
27
total graduates
3
programs total: welding, manufacturing, and certified nursing assistant

Graduates of Leadership Ames class XXXIII

Leadership Ames

Increasing employment opportunities and enhancing availability of talent

24
graduates of Leadership Ames class XXXIII
23,000
raised from Leadership Ames community service projects

See Yourself in Ames Summer Intern Events

230
interns participated in four virtual events
34
Story County companies represented at events
56
LinkedIn group members to continue event conversations

Future Ready Story County PreK-12 Engagement

The new Future Ready Story County website launched in January to help engage middle and high school students with local businesses, explore career opportunities and connect schools to employers.

26
virtual sessions covering careers in 16 major fields
4,000
Students in Boone and Story County have access to the career video series and other resources

ADVOCACY

Ensure a voice at the table for Story County businesses that promotes healthy development.

The 2020 State of Community held in early March addressed concerns over COVID-19 and anticipated potential responses from key organizations.

The advocacy efforts of the Ames Chamber of Commerce were vast in 2020. We had the regular list of issues we would have in any year followed by a litany of calls and meetings to support the Ames and Story County business community as we navigated COVID-19. Fortunately, relationships were in place for our team to connect with key decision-makers to make sure the needs of our members and stakeholder communities were heard.

GET OUT THE VOTE

809
pageviews on election resources from AmesChamber.com to Get Out the Vote. Resources included voter information and candidate questionnaires
51,253
votes casted in Story County during the 2020 election with a record number of absentee ballots at 30,469

Federal Priorities Trip to Washington, D.C.

Typically held in May, the annual D.C. fly-in was postponed and held virtually in August.

3
virtual meetings held with U.S. Senators, Iowa’s Congressional Delegates and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
40
business, community, and institutional leaders participated in calls to advocate for immigration reform, improved trade, support for renewable fuels and various infrastructure needs of our communities

Third Annual Symposium on Building Inclusive Organizations

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

231
attendees at the first-ever virtual Symposium on Building Inclusive Organizations

Minority-Owned Business Engagement

Critical monthly conversations with minority business owners began to redirect Ames Chamber programming to better serve their needs in 2021.

82
businesses have self-reported to the directory

PLACEMAKING

Support and encourage enhancements to community amenities, assets and infrastructure to improve the overall quality of place.

The Ames Foundation

After nearly five years of developing and completing, the Miracle League Field and Inclusive Playground Project was turned over to the City of Ames and opened in November.

CAMPUSTOWN ACTION ASSOCIATION

230
goody bags distributed during the first ever drivethru Tricks & Treats in Campustown event
82
handwritten notes sent to community members and organizations expressing gratitude for their efforts in helping our community in 2020

AMES MAIN STREET

75,000
in Challenge Grant dollars secured from Main Street Iowa for downtown building revitalization
2,200
winter decoration light bulbs upgraded to LED
2
new beautiful murals at the southern and western entrances of Downtown

FUEL STORY COUNTY

146
total members
9
in-person events
13
virtual events

AMES MAIN STREET FARMERS’ MARKET

Virtual Farmers’ Market

During COVID-19 restrictions, a virtual Farmers’ Market was established for 11 weeks until the Market could return to the streets.

491
customers utilized the online market
24,000
plus, generated in revenue for local producers during the online market

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

Celebrated 10-year anniversary of The Market

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Grow Story County’s economy by assisting with projects that create 1,500 new jobs and grow private sector capital investments by $150M or more by the end of 2022.

70
jobs created
13,000,000
plus, in capital investment

BUSINESS RETENTION & EXPANSION

Supported expansion projects with the following Story County businesses in 2020:
• Amcor – Ames
• Mid States Material Handling and Fabrication – Nevada
• Danfoss Power Solutions – Ames
• Innovative Technologies – Huxley
• American Packaging Corporation – Story City
• Larson Well Drilling – Roland

DSI in Huxley celebrated the completion of their new facility in October.

590,000
secured in Iowa Economic Development Authority funding for two of the six projects
70
BRE visits

Ames Seed Capital, LLC

3,090,000
capital has been invested in 12 companies
3,040,000
investment capacity in Fund 7
186,000
investment capacity in Fund 6

Business Funding Opportunities

Our team advocated tirelessly to secure funding opportunities for Story County businesses throughout the year.

2,333,663
awarded to 120 Story County businesses through the Iowa Small Business Relief fund
590,000
awarded to 29 Story County bars and taverns through the Business Disruption Relief fund
375,000
funded to six start-up businesses through IEDA applications
10,000
per screen awarded to movie theaters through the Iowa Movie Theater Relief Program

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.

2020 • Challenges & Opportunities • Funding Ideas • Community Venture Network • In-Fill Lot Development • New Housing Subdivisions • Housing Rehabilitation • Commercial Development • Planning • Marketing Support • Small Business Support • Infrastructure Discussions • Roland Area Development Corporation • Technical Support • Colo Economic Development • Community Development • Industrial Development • FaÇade Improvements

Story County • Collins • Slater • Cambridge • McCallsburg • Zearing • Gilbert • Roland • Kelly • Maxwell • Colo • Nevada • Huxley • Story City • Sheldahl • Ames • Iowa State University Research Park

SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAMMING

Elevate engagement with small businesses (500 employees or fewer) within Story County.

Buy-In Story County Program

The Buy-In Story County Program was developed to address the need for Story County businesses to generate revenue during initial business closures and the holiday season.

137,775
immediately returned to Story County businesses
29
business, company, and individual sponsors
7
total flash sales, with over 4,500 total gift cards sold

Business Accommodations Webpage

Business accommodations from Story County businesses were added to the COVID-19 resources page to inform community members on updated offerings and restrictions from businesses.

Story County Restaurant Week

Held in September to help promote Story County eatery and drinkeries during difficult restrictions. The campaign encouraged community members to order take-out or delivery from Story County restaurants.

CRISIS COMMUNICATION

When businesses began to close or restrict hours, the need to get up-to-date and accurate information was essential for business success.

22
informative Facebook Live videos on healthcare, workforce and innovative solutions

Re-Opening Guides
Hand-delivered to every Ames Chamber of Commerce member with resources and information on how to safely re-open businesses.

Hospitality Promise Posters
Hand-delivered to every eatery and drinkery in Ames and Story County to create a unified promise of safety for customers to patron these places of business.

ORGANIZATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY

Position the Ames Chamber and Economic Development Commission with the resources necessary to foster success for the organization and community by increasing organizational revenue to $3.5M by the end of 2022.

700,000
invested in the Ames Economic Development Commission from 79 investors
587
Ames Chamber of Commerce members
80
retention of Ames Chamber of Commerce membership
  • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic we were able to add over 90 net new members and surpass our
    budgeted dues revenue for the Ames Chamber of Commerce by more than 10%.
  • Overall Ames Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Commission organizational revenue is projected to be $2.8M by 12/31/2020.
2,547,941
business referrals through AmesChamber.com
2,387
average referral per member

Top searched categories include
• Restaurants
• Accounting & Tax Services
• Property Managers
• Construction & General Contractors
• Banks

ENGAGING AND CELEBRATING MEMBERS

107
event hours held either in person or virtually
20
ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings celebrating big milestones for members
1,660
registered attendees at events

#STORYGROWS

We continued to use the #StoryGrows hashtag to highlight the importance of economic development.

2
videos highlighting Economic Development Week and Manufacturing Day in Story County
100
tweets using #StoryGrows

#STORYCOUNTYSTRONG

We were able to engage the entire Story County community with the hashtag #StoryCountyStrong to unite residents and remind them we’re all in this together.

25,253
video minutes viewed on Facebook
471
uses of the #StoryCountyStrong hashtag accross all social media platforms