‘Making Marshalltown Home’

Chamber launches new initiative

Olberding

Getting folks to live, work, dine, go to school and enjoy leisure activities — all in Marshalltown — is the primary goal of the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber recently started a Facebook page called “Make Marshalltown Home – Where the Welcome Matters”, moderated by Vonna Hayes, who serves as a Chamber Ambassador.

While the Chamber has always been interested in being the community’s “welcome wagon,” this initiative has become more concrete.

“The Chamber attempted to reinvigorate our welcome wagon program a number of years ago, but it was difficult to find the names of new residents to the community. Vonna began this work several years ago and in 2017, the program came under the Chamber,” said Lynn Olberding, who serves as executive director. “Vonna collects the names and contact information for new residents to the community and provides a personal visit to those new residents, welcoming them to town. She also provides a ‘welcome gift’ of information, coupons, and goodies from Chamber members.”

The Chamber works directly with local employers and realtors to makes these connections. Chamber staff and volunteers also lead tours, which can be personalized.

“The tours could be for people who are prospective employees of a local business, or new residents — they’re customized to what someone’s needs and interests are,” she explained.

Olberding said welcoming newcomers to Marshalltown is multi-purpose.

“This is an opportunity for us to grow our community. When people live and not just work here, they get more engaged with civic causes, and more money goes into local government and our education system; it’s about growth and economic development,” Olberding said.

Encouraging people to “think local first” and spend their money in Marshalltown instead of shopping out of town or online, has been an on-going issue.

“We also realize that not all purchases can be accommodated by our local business community, but it’s imperative that when possible we all try to make as many purchases locally. Those local business owners and managers are providing dollars to local events, kids’ sports teams, and capital improvement projects. They are providing jobs to our friends and neighbors,” Olberding said.

Within the next two months, the Chamber will host a public meet and greet event, to share these efforts with the community.

“We don’t have a date set up yet, but it will most likely be held at the Fisher Community Center,” Olberding added.

For more information, or to set up a personal tour with Hayes, contact her via social media at: www.facebook.com/Marshalltowncitygreeter/

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at: 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com