Economic Development Guide Samples

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Sample Economic Development Guide Article: The West Des Moines economic development guide is a 100-page glossy magazine designed to showcase the City of West Des Moines, including its thriving businesses, diverse neighborhoods, high-quality education, state-of-the-art medical facilities, unique shopping destinations, and exceptional quality of life. 

Purpose: The economic development guide includes a series of informative, engaging articles designed to convey the West Des Moines difference. This piece appeared in the Business section of the guide. 
Entrepreneurs Energize West Des Moines’ Economy 

West Des Moines’ many entrepreneurial “spark plugs” keep the city humming, from small startups to established companies that have carved out a niche in their area of expertise. In fact, these entrepreneurs have become a major contributing factor to West Des Moines’ economic well being. 

Chow’s Gymnastics Goes for the Gold 

While Chow’s Gymnastics & Dance Institute gained worldwide fame after Shawn Johnson won gold at the 2008 Olympics, the foundation for this success was laid 10 years earlier when Liang Chow came to West Des Moines. 

“We looked all over the country to determine a good place where we could open a gym,” said Chow, who has been named a National Coach of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee and Pan American Olympic Committee. “In my wildest dreams, I could have never chosen a better place than West Des Moines.”

A friend at the Iowa Department of Education who lived in West Des Moines urged Chow to consider relocating to West Des Moines, which is known for its good schools and thriving economy. “At that time, the community was beginning to boom, and it seemed like a great place to take at chance at starting a new business adventure,” Chow said. 

After opening the gym in 1998, Chow knew he made the right choice. Local residents were very supportive of the new business, and the city’s prosperous business climate helped the gym to flourish. When the floods of 2008 ravaged the facility, West Des Moines residents came out in full support to help Chow clean up and get back in action.

“I would like to thank the citizens of West Des Moines for all their support, from the great kids I’ve had the opportunity to coach, to the economic environment that the City of West Des Moines has laid for us to thrive,” Chow said. “I am forever thankful.”

Entrepreneur Serves Up Unique Dining Experiences

When Mark Rogers grew old enough to realize that he wasn’t going to become the next Mickey Mantle or Larry Bird, he dreamed of opening an establishment with great food, huge servings, legendary service and more TVs than any place in town where customers could watch all the games. In 1995, this founder of Legends American Grill opened his first restaurant in West Des Moines. 

“I saw the growth that was happening in this area,” said Rogers, who also owns the Stadium Grill and Bar on EP True Parkway and Jimmy’s American Café on 8th Street. “I wanted to build a company to live my dreams, and West Des Moines offered a good place to do this.” 

As the businesses grew, Rogers sought new opportunities and opened Fire Creek Grill in 2004 to rave reviews. Nestled in the Jordan Creek neighborhood, Fire Creek is known for its unique atmosphere, slow roasted prime rib, fresh seafood, ribs and more in a smoke-free atmosphere.

“Jordan Creek is the new West Des Moines, and I’m proud to run a locally owned and operated business here,” said Rogers, whose family’s roots can be traced to Valley Junction. “We’re truly your neighborhood restaurant.” 

That’s why Rogers regularly donates gift cards and supports area sports teams, church organizations and charities. “Our profits stay local, and I think it’s important to give back to the community. That’s part of doing business in West Des Moines.” 

Westec InterActive Surveys Opportunities in Iowa

Although Westec InterActive was founded in California in 1998, the state’s reputation for earthquakes and power outages prompted company leaders to find a central location that would allow for future growth. After opening an office in West Des Moines in 2005, the high-tech firm transferred all of its operations from Irvine, Calif., to West Des Moines in June of 2006.

“We had studied several different places and are very pleased with our decision to relocate to Iowa,” said Mark Schmit, executive vice president, who noted that the company received a grant through the Iowa Department of Economic Development with the assistance of the City of West Des Moines. “The City has been very good to work with.”

As a leader in intelligent video monitoring services, Westec provides video surveillance and alarm system services for commercial clients nationwide from its state-of-the-art command center on Jordan Creek Parkway. Because of the technical nature of Westec’s work, the company conducts a six- to eight-week training program for its new employees. “We need a stable workforce, and we’ve been very pleased with the quality of candidates in the area,” said Schmit, who noted that the firm employees 100 people at its West Des Moines office.

Being located in the Jordan Creek area is another plus, Schmit added. “Customers often visit our facilities before they sign on with us, and we didn’t want them driving through a warehouse district to get here. A lot of these clients are impressed by West Des Moines and the Jordan Creek area. We also like being in a high-growth area that offers an excellent quality of life.”

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