Recent News

Downtown Chamber Calendar At-a-Glance

Member Orientation

Mon., July 27 – 4:00pm – 5:00pm


This event is for new/current members and prospective members of the Downtown Chamber to learn or refresh their knowledge on chamber programs. Hear about how to best utilize your chamber membership followed by a happy hour social at Americana.


Summer Luncheon Restaurant Series

Tues., July 28 – 12:00pm-1:00pm




Legislative Coffee – Hotel Development

Wed., July 29 – 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel

Open to All - Register Here


Culture Crawl

Thurs., September 10 – 4:30pm-7:30pm

Downtown Locations

Register Here


DMARC Food Pantry Network sees record use in June

Reported by the Business Record – 7/21/2015

The Des Moines Area Religious Council Food Pantry Network served a record number of families and individuals in June. According to a news release, DMARC served more than 5,600 families and nearly 14,800 individuals, which translates to 27 percent and 21 percent increases, respectively, from June 2014. Executive Director Sarai Rice attributed the increase to the addition of the Polk County River Place Food Pantry, which opened March 9 and has since become the largest DMARC partner pantry in terms of number of families served per month.

DMARC is a member of the Downtown Chamber of Commerce.

For information on how to donate visit


(Chamber Member) Crème Cupcake + Dessert to enter national franchise market

Reported by the Business Record – 7/8/2015


After five years of perfecting its business model and building a presence in Greater Des Moines, Crème Cupcake + Dessert is moving to a national level.


Crème owner Christina Moffatt has partnered with former Jimmy John’s CEO Gregg Majewski to nationally franchise the Crème concept. Next, Crème Franchise Inc. is seeking up to $1.5 million in capital from accredited investors to build a second company-owned Crème location in a nearby market.

“It was always a long-term goal of mine to grow the business and expand further than Des Moines,” Moffatt said. “I just knew it would take the right person to make it happen.”


What started as a hobby for Moffatt turned into a business in July 2010. Crème started as a wholesale and custom bakery, and after a handful of location changes, the business ultimately settled into its current space on 28th Street off Ingersoll Avenue in August 2012.


At this point, the company will move forward as Crème Franchise Inc. The first step in Crème’s expansion is to bring investors into the fold. The $1.5 million in capital that Crème needs will be used to build a second location. Moffatt and her team currently have their eyes on Omaha or Iowa City. The second store will be company-owned and, in addition to the Des Moines flagship store, will serve as a training location for future franchise owners.


This fall, Crème plans to start selling units to established franchise operators and restaurant groups in second-tier markets with a goal of growing from the Midwest out. Early target markets include Minneapolis, Kansas City, Madison and the Chicago suburbs.

Read more:

Younkers Building Site Has New Owner

JULY 8, 2015, BY , Via WHO TV: Full Article

DES MOINES, Iowa – The former Younkers building that was severely damaged by fire last year has a new owner.

Blackbird Investments has purchased the Wilkins building and the remaining Younkers site from Alexander Company. Their immediate focus will be on the Wilkins Building. The renovation project will include full restoration of the tea room, 60 apartments, underground parking and 11,500 square feet of first floor retail.

The team being engaged to complete the project includes Neuman-Monson Architects, the Weitz Company, MODUS Engineering and Lincoln Savings Bank.

Renovation will begin this summer with an anticipated completion date of late spring 2016.

“My partners and I are honored to be able to restore this landmark.  Every time the Wilkins-Younkers site comes up in conversation we hear stories of dinners, galas, reunions with friends, wedding receptions and other life experiences in the Tea Room.  This building is part of the history of Des Moines and its residents.  Looking forward, this restoration will provide a new chapter to the building, provide exceptional housing opportunities downtown, and help revitalize the Walnut Street corridor,” says Blackbird Partner Justin Doyle.

Smart Growth America: Businesses moving back downtown

Reported by the Business Record – 6/18/2015



Companies are moving downtown because workers like to be able to walk to attractions and to vibrant neighborhoods, Smart Growth America contends in a new report.


The organization interviewed 40 corporate executives selected from nearly 500 firms of varying sizes, and found the phenomenon in Cleveland, Newark, Indianapolis, San Diego and Des Moines, for example. The interviews found that executives wanted to find locations that allow workers to live and work downtown.


The report lists Kum & Go in Des Moines as an example. The company plans to move its headquarters from West Des Moines to downtown Des Moines, near a range of apartments and condos. City officials have indicated that company officials have discussed leaving a cafeteria out of plans for the complex to encourage employees to frequent nearby restaurants.


Moving a business downtown tends to put employees in an area with a better “walk score,” the report said. Des Moines ranked relatively low for both biking and walking. Smart Growth America is a research and advocacy group that encourages cities to design neighborhoods so housing is close to public transportation, making walking is easy, for example.