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 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 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 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

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.

Continuing to accelerate Marshalltown forward in 2022

By John Hall, Chamber President & CEO

John Hall

As my staff prodded me to sit down and write a year-end recap for 2021, I struggled with figuring out the best approach. Obviously, being new to this position in August makes it difficult to know and understand all that happened in this last year. However, as I sat and thought about my transition to this role, it really is indicative of the changes our organization addressed in the last year and what we see coming in early 2022.

Only one person on our team is in the same seat that they started in for 2021, and a few more changes are coming with regards to our team in 2022. In the last year, we chose to eliminate the Economic Development position and instead I retained those duties as President & CEO. This was done for two reasons; first, my background and expertise are economic development and second, we know that this is a major focus of our organization and the goals of the community into the future. This meant that many of the duties previously held by my position shifted to the rest of the team and they took it with great stride. In 2022 you can expect to see a couple of new faces on the team as well. We are just wrapping up the process of hiring a Workforce Development Coordinator that will replace the Economic Development position. The focus of this role will be based on supporting and growing our workforce locally through a multitude of strategies. Additionally, we will be bringing on a new Administrative Assistant as our current Office Assistant has taken a new position and will be leaving us just before the holidays. What this means is that our organization is trying to be cognizant of the challenges our business community is facing and we will be imploring new strategies and solutions to help address those issues.

We certainly can’t reflect on 2021 without recognizing and celebrating the fact that we were able to return to in-person events! I think that early in 2020 when the pandemic first began, we all enjoyed a brief moment of slow down, but as 2020 dragged on we all missed the company of one another. Well, this last year we were finally able to come back together and celebrate again. We look forward to continuing to expand our offerings and doing more in-person in 2022. But we certainly came through with some new skills from the pandemic so be on the lookout for more webinars and ways to engage remotely with information at your convenience.

As for the bulk of our 2022 efforts, look for our efforts to continue accelerating as we push our economy to be full steam ahead and begin building toward the future of Marshalltown. With all of our hotels expected to be returning to open early in the year, we expect tourism to return to pre-pandemic levels with hopefully some new events and activities choosing Marshalltown as their preferred location to host. Our conversations next year are going to be centered around workforce and how to improve our ability to attract more workforce into the future. Look for advancements in housing and retail efforts as elements of attracting new people. Downtown is going to have a major focus in 2022. Hopefully the deconstruction will be completed early in 2022 and we can lean into our redevelopment opportunities. Finally, we hope to find our new home next year. Since the derecho we have been operating in temporary office space. With the Marshalltown Arts & Civic Center (formerly Fisher Community Center) changing their focus, new space is on the docket for us. We will share more as that process unfolds for us, so stay tuned.

What is clear to my team, our board, and hopefully you as business leaders in our community is that we can put a mark in the sand today to show where we have been because in 2022 we aim to start taking incredibly large steps forward and building a Marshalltown that is bigger, stronger, and more inclusive for everyone.

5 things to do in Marshalltown in 2022

Marshalltown, Iowa
The newly-surfaced Linn Creek Recreational Trail in Marshalltown.

Yes, there will be way more than five things to do in Marshalltown next year, but we thought we would whet your appetite with just a handful as we all look forward to 2022.

1. Ride the newly-surfaced Linn Creek Recreational Trail. Portions of the trail will be brand new for use in 2022 including the stretch through Marshalltown. Parks & Recreation Director Geoff Hubbard said the trail through town was paved in concrete sections by Con-Struct.  “It should be a smoother ride next year once that work is completed,” Hubbard said.

This work is being done in addition to the overlay already completed by Marshall County on portions of the trail toward Grimes Farm. 

2. Soak in Oktemberfest. This annual fall festival was back this past year and was a huge hit. They always have things to do for all ages, top-notch musical entertainment and family-friendly activities. The carnival was also very popular in 2021. Mark your calendars for September 22-25, 2022.

3. Visit “The MACC.” The renovated Marshalltown Arts & Civic Center will be open next year and will be spectacular. It is the former Fisher Community Center, which will have an updated art gallery, meeting spaces, offices and more. 

4. Visit the traveling Holocaust Exhibit. The Marshalltown Public Library will be the only place in the state of Iowa to host this esteemed exhibit. Be on the lookout for programming surrounding this exhibit, which is scheduled to be in Marshalltown March 26-May 4, 2022.

5. Spend some summer days at the Central Iowa Fair. This fair is always a fun time and will return to Marshalltown from July 13-16, 2022. Whether you like to check out the animals, live entertainment or food, our county fair never disappoints.

A look back at 2021

Check out this video as we take a look back at some major events, gatherings and other fun had in Marshalltown, Iowa in 2021. It features Oktemberfest, the Holiday Stroll, the huge Fourth of July fireworks show and more!