Spencer Retail Kickstarter Program Launched
The City of Spencer, Spencer Main Street and the Spencer Chamber of Commerce, along with its partners, Community State Bank, Northwest Bank and Farmers Bank are proud to announce the launch of the Retail Kickstarter Program.
An effort to spur economic growth and mitigate retail sales leakage, the Retail Kickstarter Program will provide forgivable loans up to $25,000 and seperate zero percent interest loans up to $25,000 to businesses that fill retail gaps, diversify the economy, and /or provide job opportunities in the City of Spencer.
The program will:
- Facilitate significant and comprehensive investment in retail businesses.
- Increase overall community wealth
- Diversify the Economy
- Provide long-term community benefits in return for the investors dollars
- Ensure the recipient project constitutes responsible development and further omplies with all other applicable development priciples and regulations.
Spencer Main Street Director, Nancy Naeve says, "We are excited to offer this opportunity to those that may want to open a business in Spencer and to those that may want to expand product lines or make improvements to their buildings. The program offers two options that may be combined for an award up to $50,000 for qualifying projects. The goal of this program is to offer impactful resources to our business community to spur growth. We believe that this program is very complementary to the other incentive programs that are offered through the City and Spencer Area Jobs Trust for commercial and industrial projects."
Interested applicants may contact Nancy Naeve, Spencer Main Street, at 712-262-7246 for applications and more information.
Spencer Named One of the Safest Cities in Iowa
The National Council for Home Safety and Security has placed Spencer as the third Safest City in Iowa for 2019!
The release states that Iowa is and has been one of the safest states in which to live. Data shows that consistantly the Iowa is the 24th safest state for property crime and places 31st for violent crime.
Spencer was selected due to its low crime rates in all categories including total crimes at just 245. This includes only 15 violent crimes and 230 property crimes Our crime rate per 1000 is just 0.022.
The agency, to rank cities nationally, uses the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. Data from 8793 law enforcement agencies helped to determine the rankings.
The Safest Cities in Iowa for 2019 included:
6. North Liberty
35th Annual Ag Outlook Conference & Trade Show
The Spencer Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee has once again secured an impressive schedule for the 35th Annual Spencer Chamber Northwest Iowa Ag Outlook Conference and Trade Show to be held on Tuesday, February 19th at the Clay County Regional Events Center. FREE Admission!
The day begins at 8 am with coffee and donut holes cortesy of Community State Bank and the Clay County Growers. Over 90 exhibitors will be in set up in the arena to showcase new technology, innovations and the latest products in agriculture.
Presenting at the conference will be David Widmar, Ag Economist with Purdue University on "Trends in Agriculture" at 9am. Then at 12:30, Dave Miller, Director of Research & Commodity Services fo the Iowa Farm Bureau will speak on "Marketing Trends." Finally, at 2:30 pm, Don Etler of Bolton & Menk, Inc. will look at "Drainage History and Issues."
Prize Drawings throughout the Day (must be present to win) with the Grand Prize of a Holstein Grill, donated by Farm Credit Services of America, given at 4 pm as the trade show concludes.
Eggs and Issues 2019 Legislative Forums
For 26 years, the Spencer Chamber of Commerce has coordinated the annual Eggs and Issues Legislative Forums, which are held three times during the spring session of the Iowa Legislature. Our local representatives from the Iowa House and Senate, along with invited state and federal office holders, take questions and meet one on one with their constituents in northwest Iowa.
Each forum takes place in the Council Chambers of Spencer City Hall on Saturday mornings from 9 to 10:30 am. A light breakfast is also served as doors open at 8:30 am courtesy of local sponsors.
In 2019 Eggs and Issues will be held on the following dates:
February 16 sponsored by Northwest Bank
March 9 CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER
March 30 sponsored by Iowa Lakes Community College
April 13 sponsored by Clay County Farm Bureau
Each session is also broadcast LIVE over the Spencer Municipal Utilities Cable TV system and is rebroadcast statewide through subscribers of Mediacom.
Spencer Chamber Annual Celebration Award Recipients
The Spencer Chamber of Commerce held it's Annual Celebration on Thursday, October 25th at the Clay County Regional Events Center. The highlight of the event is the awarding of the Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award which this year was given to Clinton Jones. The nomination stated his many volunteer and charitable activities including providing his auctioneering services to many church related and non-profit organizations.
The other award handed out was the Chamber Business of the Year given to Iowa Lakes Community College for their comittment to the community and for services and volunteer efforts of Iowa Lakes students.
This year's theme was "Spencer, A Surprising Place," and featured Spencer Mayor Kevin Robinson, Spencer City Manager Amanda Mack, Main Street Director Nancy Naeve, Fair Manager Jeremy Parsons, Young Professionals member Elissa Barrick and Iowa Lakes Spencer Campus Director Mary Faber with featured guests the Iowa Lakes Soccer students.
The event also recognized the incoming and outgoing board members of the Spencer Chamber.
Spencer Named One of the Safest Cities in Iowa
Safewise, a Home Security and Safety service, has named its 2018 list of the Safest Cities in Iowa and Spencer has made it to the Top 5 in the rankings.
The site identifies Iowa as having a crime rate 15% below the national average with fewer than four crimes reported for every 1000 people.
Among Iowa's safest cities, Spencer, Pella and LeMars reported ten or fewer violent crimes with Sioux Center having the state's lowest rate of both violent and property crime.
Spencer, with a population of 11,200 earned the distinction of the fourth safest city in Iowa with a total crime rate of 2.87%
The Entire List of the 20 Safest Cities in Iowa include:
- Sioux Center
- Orange City
- Le Mars
- Mason City
- Cedar Falls
- West Des Moines
The evaluations were based on a number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) in each city
Spencer Named 10th Best Small Town in the U.S.A.
Realtor.com has named Spencer as the 10th Best Small Town in the United States for 2018.
To make the list, the agency looked at over 500 communities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000 and used the following factors to come up with the rankings: Median Home Prices, Employment rates under 5%, Crime rates below the national average and households that spend no more than 28% of their annual income on housing costs. Many other factors were also weighed including quality of life, overall appearance of the community, education and much more.
The article pointed to our art deco and Mission Revival architecture along Grand Avenue which was the result of a downtown rebuild after the 1931 fire. A unique element was among the small towns ranked, Spencer had the highest percentage of home with two-door (or bigger) garages, at 17.6%
The entire list of the Top 10 Small Towns (Where You'd Actually Want to Live) include:
- Logansport, Indiana
- Mexico, Missouri
- Guymon, Oklahoma
- Defiance, Ohio
- Albert Lea, Minnesota
- Emporia, Kansas
- Lexington, Nebraska
- Shawano, Wisconsin
- Dumas, Texas
- Spencer, Iowa
Spencer Partners with Buxton to Assist in Retail Development
Spencer, with more than 11,000 residents, has again partnered with Fort Worth-based Buxton to use analytics to strengthen our retail recruitment strategy. The City of Spencer recently approved the financing for the project as we attempt to better understand the buying and dining habits of our residents and trade area to be able to recruit the best retailers for the community.
"We're excited to get started improving and adding to Spencer's existing retail mix," said Robb Miller, director of sales for Buxton's public sector division. "Our advanced analytics will guide city leaders as they prepare Spencer for the future.
Buxton has worked with more than 800 communities across the country to integrate data into economic development strategies.
Clay County Advances in Active Health Index
Clay County is teaming up with Live Healthy Iowa to improve the health of the county's residents and improve its overall ranking in the newly released Active Index. Since 1988, the obesity rate in Iowa has increased from 14 percent to 32 percent. Iowa's less than desirable national rankings for obesity and inactivity have contributed to the overall health of the state's residents, which led to development of the Active Index.
Currently, out of the 99 counties in Iowa, Clay County ranks 2nd in the Active Index, with a participation rate of 16.87%. The 2017 ranking improved from the 2016 ranking of 67th. This significant improvement gave Clay County the honors of most improved county in the state and 2nd place behind Mitchell County at 16.90%.
Live Healthy Iowa's Active Index provides a measurement of where each county ranks across Iowa. Rankings in the Active Index are based on county members' participation in select Live Healthy Iowa and Iowa Sports Federation challenges and events, including the 10 Week Wellness Challenge, Live Healthy iowa 5K, the Next Step Challenge, Kid's Fall Fitness Day/Healthiest State Walk, Summer Iowa Games and Winter Iowa Games.
"Like other counties in Iowa, we know that the obesity rate and overall health statistics of Clay County are something that we need to address," says Candice Daniels, Spencer Hospital Employee Benefits & Wellness. "We were very proud to hear that our county did such a great job improving our numbers in the index. Clay County has so many opportunities for activity and good deal of wellness-minded citizens, it's exciting to see the numbers reflecting that."
"Forging a closer partnership with Live Healthy Iowa by working to achieve a better Active Index ranking will provide us with a roadmap for improvement and help us to engage our residents-of all ages and activity levels-to participate in healthy and active opportunities to improve their health."
In July, county members met with Dr. Amy Michelle Willcockson, director of Live Healthy Iowa and Chuck Long, CEO and executive director of the Iowa Sports Foundation for former NFL and University of Iowa football star to discuss Clay County's health rankings and develop a plan for improvment.
"We're excited to be working with Clay County to develop a countyside activity plan, set goals for improvedc health and rankings, inspire and motivate individuals and companies, provide turnkey programs and attractive incentives, and foster accountability among participants," Willcockson said.
"When individuals start to care more about their own health that can extend to family, friends and neighbors-people within one's community-contributing to a healthier and more active county."
There is no charge for counties to be a part of the Active Index; there are only minimal participation fees in the annual challenges.
To learn more visit www.livehealthyiowa.org
Spencer Chamber Dollars Support the Community
This holiday season and all times of the year, consider giving Spencer Chamber Dollars, the perfect gift for any occasion.
Chamber Dollar Checks give back to the community by supporting local busineses while allowing the recipient the flexibility of choosing a gift from any of over 400 Spencer Chamber members. You decide the amount of the check and in what increments you desire. Member businesses simply endorse the checks as they would any other and deposit them into their bank account. It's simple and easy and there are no fees associated with buying or receiving the checks. Stop by the Spencer Chamber of Commerce Office at 1805 Highway Blvd during regular business hours. We'll make up the checks while you wait. If ordering a large number of checks for employee benefits or awards, consider calling ahead and we'll have them ready for you when you arrive with no waiting.
For more information contact our office at 712-262-5680 or stop by Monday - Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm and Fridays from 8 am to 4 pm.
Shop Spencer First this Holiday!
Chamber Board Establishes Spencer Chamber Foundation
One of the goals of the Chamber Board Chair for 2016-2017 was the formation of a Spencer Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Final documents are being put in place for the Articles of Incorporation that were approved in October from the Iowa Secretary of State.
The board has identified several areas for which this foundation could be of assistance with the primary goal being to benefit projects and programs in our community.
The mission documents submitted stated the purpose the corporation was organized which is to sponsor and fund community and educational programs exclusively for charitable, religious, educational and scientific purposes to better and promote our community. Activities such as the recent Dave Ramsey presentations, school related activities, attractions and events would be good candidates for distrubution of funds from the foundation.
More information will be available soon as by-laws are put in place and the account for the foundation is secured.
Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award Recipient Named
One of the highlights of the Spencer Chamber Annual Celebration is the announcement of the Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award. This years recipient is lifelong resident Bob Whittenburg. Nomination materials for Bob included his involvement in many areas of the community including; Spencer High School Career Experiences Program, Spencer High School Technology Education Metals Manufacturing Advisory Board, Spencer Middle School Tiger Mentoring Program, Spencer Family YMCA Endowment Committee, Spencer Community School Board of Education and the Clay County Iowa Democrats. Bob joined his family business in Spencer after graduating from the University of Iowa. During this time he volunteered time to the Chamber for several events and activities but was normally found behind the scenes allowing others to share the spotlight.
Spencer Chamber Business of the Year Awarded
The 2017 Spencer Chamber Business of the Year, nominated by fellow members of the Spencer Chamber, is Northwest Bank. The award was given as part of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce Annual Celebration held on October 12 at the Clay County Regional Events Center.
The nomination letter stated the solid community support and involvement of Northwest along with its promotion of economic growth, volunteerism among staff and partnerships with educational and civic organizations. Northwest Bank has also been named a Top Workplace in Iowa for three years running.
Previous winners of the Business of the Year Award were: KICD, Big Country 107.7 & More 104.9, Farmers Trust and Savings Bank, Spencer Hospital, Community State Bank and Solutions.
Spencer Chamber Unveils Refreshed logo
As part of the 85th Anniversary Celebration of the Spencer Chamber, a new refreshed logo was unveiled at the Annual Celebration on October 12.
Local graphic designer Kipp Davis, a student at Iowa State University, took it upon himself earlier this year to work on the project with the idea of using the circled area of the logo to more of a Spencer design.
The result showcases our riverfront area, the bridge and trail system and highlights the quality of life we enjoy in Spencer. Although the image area of the logo is small it was determined we could use it to be depict an area of the community that is recognizable and not a clip art type of illustration. In addition, a new tag line has been introduced that will appear with the logo in specific instances. The new line, "Explore, Connect, Grow" better exemplifies what the Chamber is doing in the community.
The Chamber will roll out the new design as the weeks and months move forward and as the budget allows. The Chamber website will be one of the first areas to incorporate the new refreshed look.
Special Thanks to Spencer native Kipp Davis for his work on the project and to all who submitted ideas.
Spencer RAGBRAI Gives Back to the Community
The Spencer RAGBRAI 2017 Executive Committee hosted a Thank You Reception on Tuesday, September 12th at the Clay County Fair. Hundreds of volunteers stepped up to be a part of this very successful event on July 23rd. It was due to the efforts of the Committee and its volunteers that hosting the thousands of riders was such a huge success.
As part of the celebration, the committee gave back to the community monies raised during the event. It was revealed that nearly $32,000 was raised through vendor fees and the beverage garden. The Committee had made the decision early on that vendor fees would be returned to all the non-profit groups if the hosting was a success. That committment was carried out with the remaining funds of $27,000 going to groups and organizations selected by the committee.
Recipients of Spencer RAGBRAI funds were:
- Clay County Trails Association $10,000
- Pedersen Park Lighting Project $7,000
- Spencer Main Street Lighting project $5,000
- Clay County Fair Centennial Plaza project $5,000
A Record 335,670 Attend the 100th Clay County Fair
With nearly perfect weather, the 100th Centennial Edition of the Clay County Fair brought huge crowds. Total Attendance for 2017 was 335, 670 making it one of the largest attended Clay County Fairs. After 9 nine days of family fun, the Fair was capped off by the Centennial Birthday Bash at the Grandstand Sunday night. Local high school bands, high wire acts, motorcycle stunts, comedians, the Karl King Band and the area High School Mass Choir brought the fair to a close highlighted by the largest Fireworks display ever in northwest Iowa.This year a milestone will be reached for the World's Greatest County Fair. The Clay County Fair in Spencer, the 2nd largest tourism event in the state of Iowa, will be celebrating its 100th Year!
The 2018 Clay County Fair will be held September 8 - 16.
Spencer Named One of 20 Best Small Towns to visit in 2017
Smithsonian Magazine has named Spencer one of the 20 Best Small Towns to visit in 2017. The article takes note of our "fantastic trail system" as well as the amenities that we have come to enjoy by living in this great part of the state.
Other highlights from the author include the public art piece in East Leach Park, the beauty of the Little Sioux and Ocheyedan Rivers as they merge near Grand Avenue, the art deco buildings located throughout the downtown area and of course the "World's Greatest County Fair," the Clay County Fair which celebrates its Centennial Year in 2017.
Other communities named by the magazine include; Talkeetna, Alaska, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, Rockland, Maine, Kent, Connecticut, Makanda, Illinois, Grand Marais, Minnesota, Ojai, California, Snowmass Village, Colorado, Abilene, Kansas, Mineral Point, Wisconsin, Hana, Hawaii, Bell Buckle, Tennessee, Oakland, Maryland, Rincon, Puerto Rico, De Smet, South Dakota, Cheraw, South Caroline, Page, Arizone and Hill City, South Dakota.
2017-18 Spencer Chamber Community Guide Now Available
Hot off the press is the NEW 2017-2018 Spencer Chamber of Commerce Community Guide and Member Directory. Each spring the Chamber partners with the Spencer Daily Reporter to publish this popular informational guide tailored to meet the needs of those new to the community, those visiting and for those who simply are in search of a resource guide on the Spencer Community.
In addition to information on attractions and important city services, the guide features a complete directory of members supporters of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce listed by category. The smaller size and format introduced last year allows for easy storage of the guide in a glove compartment, magazine rack or at home.
Businesses and Organizations wishing to have the guide available at their should simple call or email the office and we'll get them delivered to you.
Spencer Chamber "Community Patron" Memberships Available!
Did you know that as an individual, you can still support the community by being a member of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce? Enjoy the many benefits of being a Chamber Member with our "Community Patron" Individual Memberships. Several in the community have already discovered the benefits of knowing what's happening in the community and by being able to attend Chamber functions and events. As a "Community Patron" you are entitled to the same opportunities as any other member of the Chamber. Attend Business Before and After Hours, participate in events such as the Golf Outing, Bowling Outing, Annual Celebration and much more. The best part is that your commitment is just $124! Your name will appear in the newest Spencer Chamber Community Guide as well as the Chamber Online Membership Guide as being a supporter of the Chamber. No business name or business relationship can be attached to this membership.
For more information please contact the Chamber Office at 712-262-5680, or email at: email@example.com
or go to our online membership application at: http://spenceriowachamber.org/jointhechamber.php
Spencer Selected as Overnight Stop on RAGBRAI
At the Official RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party on Saturday, January 21, it was announced that Spencer will again be an overnight host for the ride which will begin in Orange City on Sunday, July 23.
This will be the fifth time Spencer has been selected as an overnight stop for the thousands of riders as they take a far northern route in 2017. After Spencer, the ride will continue to Algona followed by Clear Lake.
An Executive and Advisory Board is in place to begin the planning for the ride with other assignments to follow including those who will be in charge of housing, publicity, food, entertainment, public safety and much more.
The last time the ride spent the night in Spencer was 2007 with the theme "License to Thrill". One of the first tasks of the committee as they begin planning for this year will be to develop a theme and corresponding logo.
As you can imagine this massive undertaking takes many volunteers. If you would give of your time to assist in the planning of the event as well as working in many areas the day they arrive please fill out a Chamber Volunteer Form at:
Members Assemble for 2016 Spencer Chamber Annual Celebration
The Board and Staff of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Celebration on October 13 at the Clay County Regional Events Center.
This annual event highlights the activities, accomplishments and goals of the Chamber over the past fiscal year and is capped off with the presentation of the Chamber Business of the Year and Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award.
The keynote address of the lunchtime gathering looked at Leadership in Business and was presented by nationally known speaker, trainer and author David Aaker.
The meeting is also a time to recognize those dedicated individuals that are leaving the Chamber Board and those Directors taking new positions. Outgoing board members were: Jarrett Smith, Melissa Cunningham, Tony Niese and Rod Meendering. Those elected to the board from the recent election include: Kevin Brown, Mike Carlson, Mary Faber and Nate Schmidt.
This year's award recipients were:
Solutions - Chamber Business of the Year
Kelly McCarty - Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award
Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award Goes to Kelly McCarty
A highlight of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce Annual Celebration is the presentation of the coveted Jack Wedel Volunteer Service Award. Each year nominations are accepted for an individual or group that has dedicated themselves to volunteering with community agencies and organizations.
This year, Kelly McCarty, who serves as the Regional Director of the Northwest Iowa Small Business Development Center of Iowa Lakes, was the recipient of the award presented by last year's winner Rod Meendering.
Kelly has given an unselfish amount of time to the Spencer Daybreakers Kiwanis Club, the Y's Men's Club, Spencer Betterment Committee, Spencer Sacred Heart Church, Clay County Heritage and serves in a managing role for the Clay County revolving loan fund and the Rose Retail Revolving Loan Fund. Kelly has also assisted the Chamber many times over with those interested in opening new small businesses in the community.
"Solutions" receives Chamber Business of the Year Award
As part of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce Annual Celebration, Solutions of Spencer received the Chamber Business of the Year Award following a nomination process. In business for 30 years, Solutions, a privately-owned technology business located in west Spencer, has seen continued growth since their beginning in 1986. The business and its employees have given back to the community in many ways including the support of the Chamber and Spencer Mainstreet, SPACE, Shayla Bee, Upper Des Moines Oppportunity and many other agencies and organizations.
Home Base Iowa - Clay County
in 2015 Clay County was officially designated a Home Base Iowa Community following an effort by many Spencer City and Clay County agencies and organizations.
With around 300,000 military men and women leaving active service, communities in Iowa are encouraging these retirees to relocate and fill job opportunities matching their skill sets. Over 100 Clay County businesses made a pledge to hire returning military veterans if a job opening takes place that matches their skill levels. In addition, Clay County has developed an incentive package as part of this process including housing and rental assistance, hotel, gas, food vouchers and much more.
Clay County was the first in the northwest Iowa region to receive this important designation and stands ready to assist those seeking to relocate to Spencer and Clay County.
For more information on the Home Base Iowa program and detailed information on opportunities in Clay County please visit the Home Base Iowa website and click on Clay County.
Spencer Chamber Young Professionals
Young Professionals of the Spencer area are invited to learn more about the many Spencer area opportunities and activities available to them through Spencer U.S.A., the Young Professionals of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce.
Spencer U.S.A. is made up of a core group which organizes social activities such as the popular "Lunch Gig," held monthly at various restaurants throughout the community. Recently, the group introduced a new evening social gathering "Thirsty Thursdays," held the the first Thursday of each month from 5 - 7 pm at various Chamber Member lounges.
In addition, Spencer U.S.A., in 2015 introduced the "Chamber Chill," a Friday night community social event that is open to the entire community.
There are NO dues associated with being a member of Spencer U.S.A., just your willingness to promote and be active in an effort to better the community.
For more information on Spencer U.S.A., the Young Professionals of the Spencer Chamber, visit their webpage at:
www.spenceriowachamber.org/youngprofessionals.php or join them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/SpencerUSA
Along with their mission statement and event schedule, you will find an online submission form to obtain more information or to join the group. You can also email the group at: firstname.lastname@example.org.