Nearly one year ago I began this column with a Smith family commitment to exclusively focus our retail, entertainment and restaurant purchases in Des Moines — with a special commitment to the west side.
While there have been a few (mostly from my wife and daughter) departures from the design of this experiment, every member of my family made a sincere effort to remain true to our project’s intent. The spirit of this exercise allowed us to better understand the character of the community in which we live, discover multiple local opportunities and talk in detail about the value of small businesses on the local and national economy.
As my year as president of the West Side Chamber comes to a close, I want you to know the experience far exceeded my expectations. The opportunity to celebrate with small business owners, learn from civic leaders, further appreciate the work of The Greater Des Moines Partnership, and bring voice to those who proudly represent the West Side were all meaningful highlights.
Without question, the most rewarding aspect of the past year was hearing your stories, listening to your vision and celebrating your loyal commitment to the community we share. The level of pride and ownership expressed by so many on the west side is deeply affirming and should provide us all with a strong sense of confidence for the long-term success of our business districts and residential communities.
In closing, I want to express sincere appreciation to the Board and members of the West Side Chamber. Your service, support and confidence created a year of genuine growth for our young chamber. Looking to the future, I have great confidence in the Chamber’s leadership, voice and direction. I also need to publicly thank my family for allowing me to use them as personal anecdotes (usually after the words and stories had gone to print).
Finally, I thank all those who work, serve and live on the west side. Through your actions, ideas, advocacy and choices you make a difference every day defining the character of our great community.
Have a prosperous and joyful holiday season.