10 ways to enjoy summer in Marshalltown

Riverview Park in Marshalltown, Iowa
Riverview Park in Marshalltown

Summer is here and if you’re looking for something to do in Marshalltown here is a quick list of ways to enjoy the season. 

Take a day on the Linn Creek Recreational Trail

You can’t beat some time on the trail, head through the wooded area by Grimes Farm, meander through town, hear the rolling creek water underneath the train bridge by Lennox or ride by the Iowa River at Riverview Park. 

Take in live music at Grimes Farm amphitheater

The Live and Local monthly concert series is back starting June 23. It’s a perfect setting for live music and they plan on shows monthly through October.

Fair time

The Central Iowa Fair is a must-visit for my family every summer. Take a tour of the livestock areas, check out the live music, games, food and more. There’s even a mud volleyball tournament if that’s your thing. There’s always something to do for everyone. This year’s fair is July 13-16. 

Take up tennis or pickleball 

The Marshalltown Court Complex is more than a year old and it’s a popular place for tennis with plenty of room for all with the 12 tennis courts. If tennis is too fast for you, take up pickleball, a favorite of all ages. The three new pickleball courts there are a blast.

Don’t miss downtown

Stroll along Main Street, enjoy the Gallery Garden mixed in with downtown shopping and food. 

Hiking at Grimes Farm

My family likes to take a hike to the observation tower at Grimes Farm and have a picnic at the top of the tower. There are also other trails along Linn Creek to enjoy nature at its best.

Try out your golf game 

Oftentimes when I do community tours for people thinking of moving to Marshalltown they are amazed that we have three nice golf courses right in town here. So dust off the clubs and try your hand at the American Legion, Elmwood Country Club or Wandering Creek courses in town.

Explore the vast Riverview Park

Many people don’t realize the sheer size of Riverview Park until they get out there. And there’s plenty of things to do at the north side park. You can walk, ride bikes, fish, take in the dog park, play tennis, basketball or disc golf. Or take your camper or tent for your own little staycation along the Iowa River.

13th Street revival

Take in the Marshalltown Municipal Band at West End Park and stroll through the shops. 

Aquatic Center

The perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day. Take your sunglasses and sunscreen and make a day of it.

Still need more ideas? Visit our Community Calendar at www.marshalltown.org/events.

Andrew Potter is Tourism Director with the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber announces redesigned Leadership Marshalltown program

Monthly program plans to relaunch this fall
The Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce a new name and logo for the area’s Leadership course group. Continuing on the 30-year history of the Iowa Valley Leadership program, the new effort will now be known as Leadership Marshalltown.
Leadership Marshalltown and its new logo are designed to be an all-encompassing name for the program which looks to add more leadership qualities to the program, while also continuing the community aspect of it as participants learn all about the great things throughout the community. With the new name, the Leadership Marshalltown course will combine learning how to be a better leader within your organization as well as a better leader within the community.
“Being a former participant of the class in its earlier form, I knew of all the good the course brings to the community. I wanted to continue that aspect and let future participants see some of the different and unique businesses and places that Marshalltown has to offer.” shared Kyle Hall, Workforce Development Coordinator with The Chamber. “I also wanted to add a true leadership curriculum to enhance the program while letting the employers who send participants to know they are getting better and more educated employees as well.”
“Keeping the framework and general traditions of the former Iowa Valley Leadership was an integral part of the redesign Kyle proposed and I think he has a great plan in place,” said Chamber President and CEO John Hall. “Leadership Marshalltown is poised to be a premier leadership group and will only continue to showcase all the great things that are happening in Marshalltown and the surrounding communities.”
The Leadership Marshalltown course will be limited to 25 area individuals. The course is open to businesses sponsoring an employee or anyone living or working in the Marshall County area. Individuals selected after the application process will participate in a 9-month course from September to May each year, with meeting an average of once per month.   Those interested can check out the Chamber’s website for more information or reach out to Kyle Hall via email at khall@marshalltown.org.
For more information and the application materials visit

Momentum for Marshalltown events growing

By Andrew Potter

As someone who is in charge of helping promote local events in Marshalltown, the momentum we have here lately is encouraging.

That momentum is evident as our Community Calendar continues to populate with an array of events, from live music, to festivals and community events.

There’s also been growth in our sports tournaments in Marshalltown and our central location in Iowa helps us attract athletes from all corners of the state. So you can expect to see competitors from across the state in tennis, disc golf, youth track, adult softball and more in town this summer. Many of these tournaments are hosted by local volunteers who give of their time to host events that happen to provide a big boost to Marshalltown’s economy.

Visitors to these tournaments help support our town’s amenities – those same amenities which are enjoyed by our residents year-round.

The 13th Street District announced recently its Harvest Market headlining act will be the fun-loving, party band The Pork Tornadoes on September 9. This band has a huge following and brings its “A” game to every show.

There’s also quite a bit of buzz around the lineup for the Live and Local concert series this year at the Grimes Farm Amphitheater.  All of these events are in addition to the yearly staples in town such as the Central Iowa Fair, Fourth of July, Oktemberfest, Holiday Stroll and more.

There’s some great post-pandemic momentum for meetings, tournaments, music and more. It’s going to be an exciting year in Marshalltown.

Want to stay on top of upcoming events?

Check out our Community Calendar at www.marshalltown.org/events and be sure to subscribe to our weekly events email newsletter “This Week in Marshalltown” by emailing me at apotter@marshalltown.org.

Young professionals group now known as Connect Marshalltown

The Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce a new name and logo for the area’s young professionals group, now known as Connect Marshalltown. The new name of Connect Marshalltown is designed to be all encompassing and inclusive to the community. The goal of the group is to connect and grow ideas about Marshalltown in a relaxed social setting.
“The idea of Connect Marshalltown came out of wanting more inclusion from the community than the young professionals name provided,” said Kyle Hall, Workforce Development Coordinator with the Chamber. “By changing the name to Connect Marshalltown, it is inviting more of the community to come together, connect and share ideas and thoughts on how to continue to better our community.”
“Young professional groups have been around for decades, locally we wanted to take a different approach to be more inclusive and help a broader group of the community connect,” said John Hall, President & CEO of the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce. “Kyle’s vision to take this group to the next level is exactly how this idea of Connect Marshalltown was born, and I’m looking forward to seeing what this group can become.”
Group meets monthly
The group meets monthly for social gatherings at local bars, restaurants and other meeting places on the first Wednesday of each month. The next gathering is scheduled for April 6 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at El Cantarito Bar and Grill at 903 W. Lincoln Way. The event is open to anyone looking to connect.
For more information on Connect Marshalltown or future events with the group, contact Kyle Hall at khall@marshalltown.org or 641-753-6645.


Erin McGregor receives 2022 Woman in Business Award


Erin McGregor of McGregors Furniture and Mattress is the recipient of the 2022 Woman in Business Award from the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce. Pictured with Erin is award presenter Todd Steinkamp of Trending Media, left, and Chamber President and CEO John Hall.


Erin McGregor, president of McGregors Furniture and Mattress, was presented the 2022 Woman in Business Award during the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Luncheon held at Iowa Valley Continuing Education on March 25.
Presenting McGregor with the award was good friend and fellow Chamber Board member Todd Steinkamp of Trending Media. Steinkamp credited McGregor for her resilience after the 2018 tornado and 2020 derecho and her support as a “pillar of our community.”
Steinkamp said his respect level for McGregor is high especially, “when I think about everything this woman has been through and overcame and continues to do for her business and for Marshalltown.”
Keynote speaker during the fourth annual Women in Business luncheon was State Representative Shannon Latham, co-owner of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds.
Latham spoke about her passion for presenting ideas to help grow their family business and also touched on important work being done this session in the Legislature.

Laborshed study to be conducted for Marshalltown

The Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) and Iowa Economic Development Authority to complete a Laborshed employment study for the Marshalltown area. This study will geographically define which communities contribute to Marshalltown’s workforce, regardless of political boundaries. This defined area is called a Laborshed area and is based upon commuting patterns.
The purpose of this Laborshed study is to measure the availability and characteristics of Marshalltown area workers. Laborshed studies are useful tools for economic development teams and existing or prospective employers to understand the local labor market, make informed expansion and site selection decisions, and maintain/recruit a high quality workforce.
For the success of this study, we are sending letters to randomly selected households asking residents to take a confidential online survey. Survey questions will cover topics such as: employment status, current and desired wages, current and desired benefits, education level, and type of occupation, among other things. However, Iowa Workforce Development will not be asking survey takers identifiable information such as: name, social security number, or date of birth. Participation in this workforce study is greatly appreciated regardless of employment status whether you are currently employed, unemployed, a homemaker, retired, etc. Your input is highly valued.
Following the conclusion of the online surveying efforts, IWD will conduct telephone surveying in the area through a third-party vendor. The survey call originates out of Missouri and the incoming number will have the 573 area code. The same survey questions asked in the online survey will be asked of those who participate in the survey on the phone and again, no identifying information will be collected. All the survey answers collected will be combined and reported together. Individual answers are completely confidential.
Every year Iowa Workforce Development conducts Laborshed studies across the State. The results of each analysis are made publicly available online at www.iowalmi.gov/laborshed. If you have any questions about the Laborshed project, please contact Katie Lippold of Iowa Workforce Development at 515-281-3035 or John Hall with the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce 641-753-6645.
Thank you for your support and participation.

Shannon Latham to present at the Women in Business Luncheon on March 25

Join the Chamber and Presenting sponsor Emerson for the 4th Annual Women in Business Luncheon. This year’s luncheon will take place on Friday, March 25, 2022 at the newly renovated Iowa Valley Continuing Education, Dejardin Hall starting at 11:30 a.m. The event will include lunch and a keynote presentation from Representative Shannon Latham.

Representative Latham is a businesswoman, mother, and community leader.  Latham is an advocate for small business and Main Street America.
Latham is vice president of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds and is primarily
responsible for its marketing efforts. She has a passion for writing,
branding and communicating through social media. Prior to joining
the family business full-time in January 2007, Shannon operated
her own communications/public relations business for three years.
She also worked for six years as an account executive and public relations specialist for The Meyocks Group. Her most notable projects were the groundbreaking and grand opening of Jorden Creek Town Center in West Des Moines.
Other previous work experience includes serving as an agricultural program coordinator for the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship where she did public relations for the Beginning Farmer Loan Program and coordinated the Iowa Agricultural Youth Institute (IAYI). She also served as director of legislative affairs for the Agribusiness Association of Iowa and coordinated its grassroots lobbying efforts. Shannon earned an MBA from the University of Iowa, as well as a bachelor’s degree with a double-major in Ag Journalism and Public Service & Administration in Agriculture from Iowa State University.
Shannon and her husband live with their two children in Sheffield, Iowa, where she has served as a Girl Scout leader for 11 years and also operates Enchanted Acres Pumpkin Patch. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, reading and traveling.

Registration required. To register, visit www.marshalltown.org/womeninbusiness. Cost is $30 per person or $180 for 6 registrations.

Presenting Sponsor:
Premier Sponsor:
Gold Sponsors:
Farmers Savings Bank
Lennox Industries
Trending Media

Successes & Setbacks: The Retail Landscape in Marshalltown

By John Hall, Chamber President & CEO

Scooters in Marshalltown, Iowa
Scooters opened in Marshalltown in late 2021.

               Watching on social media, you would believe that the Marshalltown retail landscape is collapsing and falling apart around us, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s true that over the last couple of weeks we have seen surprise closures from Papa Murphy’s and Bath & Body Works. While it’s never fun to lose national retailers, both of them had their reasons and struggled to maintain success in our market. When Papa Murphy’s first opened in our market, Hy-Vee had not begun doing take-and-bake pizzas, now directly competing. Or consider channeling those pizza dollars to our locally owned pizza places!

Bath & Body Works was the last national retailer in our mall with internal entry. This was bound to happen as that brand figures out how to operate in a world with fewer and fewer viable malls. During this same time, we have a new home-décor and clothing boutique in downtown, Real Deals, a new game store at the mall, Game Haven, and a new national chain with local ownership to buy coffee, Scooters. While the success of these businesses has yet to be realized, the value of having businesses with local ownership cannot be understated.

               As we look at the retail landscape in Marshalltown since 2010, it’s clear that we have fewer physical store locations in town than a decade ago by nearly 100. During that same period, retail sales tax dollars and spending per capita have increased. This means people have more money to spend on retail and restaurants, but they are putting more and more of those resources into purchasing online. If we want to see a resurgence in our local retail, we need to see people choosing to spend their dollars locally when available. From our end we are doing what we can to spur additional retail and restaurant options through our Retail Incentive Grant. This grant awards up to $25,000 to individuals looking to open up shop here in Marshalltown. All three of the new businesses mentioned earlier are recipients of that award.

               Another aspect of our retail efforts is to connect and build relationships with national brands. We have joined as a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and I had the chance to attend their annual conference in December. This is a great way to not only see what up-and-coming brands exist, but almost all of the regional representatives are available at this conference. We were fortunate to speak with roughly 18 different national brands that have varying levels of interest in our market. Our task is to then find or build available space, which is in the works. I was also fortunate to connect with the new ownership of the Marshalltown Mall. While we both agreed that things aren’t where we want them to be, we now have some ideas moving forward that may transform the space radically from where it is at. Stay tuned.

               Finally, to mention retail and not mention the restoration expected to begin this year in downtown would be a disservice. We firmly believe that by bringing about building restoration and making new retail and restaurant space available in downtown, that we will be able to attract new, vibrant businesses to our community. We are in discussions with a consultant who has this exact experience and know-how to help us achieve and realize our revitalization dream.

               So, while the retail landscape may feel bleak some days, know that we are working hard to bring strong opportunities to our community. Whether it be large national chains, or small mom & pop startups, we are bullish on our market and what the residents of Marshalltown, Marshall County, and the surrounding areas can and will support. All in an effort to grow and expand our community, for we believe that “if we build it, they will come.”

Strong finish to local events in 2021

There I was bobbing my head, rocking out to a cover band playing Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” and I thought to myself “I’m so glad Oktemberfest is back!”

Many in our community thought the same way as 2021 ended and Marshalltown got back up and running with grand scale events.  The year ended with a string of successful community events as we look forward to even more momentum in 2022. 

The most recent big-scale successful event was the Holiday Stroll, which my family thoroughly enjoyed. I heard from several people who indicated it was one of the best Holiday Strolls ever.

Mother Nature had a hand in that as the ideal weather allowed for many to spend time outside mingling both before and after the lighted parade as well as led to more meandering through the downtown shops.

This came on the heels of Oktemberfest, which had some rocking bands, a great parade and other awesome community events as part of our town’s annual fall festival.

There was definitely a thirst for these community events after the pandemic cancelled the 2020 Oktemberfest and Holiday Stroll.

Let’s not forget that 2021 brought us the biggest fireworks show the Fourth of July has ever seen in Marshalltown. How cool was that?

I was also encouraged earlier this year when a Cultural Fiesta was held, which was a great way to celebrate our rich diversity in Marshalltown. Many will recall the annual Hispanic Heritage Festival years ago and here’s hoping that this Cultural Fiesta will return in the future.

Don’t look now, but Marshalltown has some really good momentum going on heading into 2022. The addition of 16 murals to Marshalltown in 2021 didn’t hurt either.

Imagine the walkability of downtown being bolstered by these murals and look for even more positive things happening in Marshalltown in the future.

Our tremendous city leaders will have it no other way.

Want to be prepared for upcoming events in 2022? Get on the distribution list of the weekly email events newsletter “This Week in Marshalltown” by emailing me at apotter@marshalltown.org.

Have a great holiday season Marshalltown and we will see you in 2022!

Andrew Potter is tourism director with the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce.