Jennifer Walter came to Ankeny 13 years ago from Washington state to attend school at Faith Bible College. Working part time at Walnut Street Gallery, she never imagined she would one day be the proprietor! Now Jennifer works full-time, providing custom framing in one of Ankeny's most established independently-owned small businesses.
"Ankeny residents faithfully support local business owners."
"I began working at Walnut Street Gallery during my senior year at college" says Jennifer. "After working at the gallery for around 7 years, the former owner made the decision to sell. I enjoyed custom framing and the relationships with our customers, so it seemed like a natural fit to take over ownership and carry on the great tradition Walnut Street Gallery has in the community."
"The community has come to appreciate the quality and the customer service they know they can count on from their local custom frame shop. As I build trusted friendships with my customers, they spread the word to their friends and family in the community and my business grows."
"Ankeny residents faithfully support local business owners," she says. "My customers, employees and myself may see each other at my store one day, then run into one another at a little league game, or the grocery store the next day."
It's not only the community that benefits Jennifer as a small business owner, but Ankeny's location as well. "I am able to draw customers from many neighboring towns," Jennifer says. "With all that Ankeny offers, it has now become a destination. Which, in turn, draws customers into my business."
Jennifer credits leadership from the City of Ankeny and the Ankeny Chamber of Commerce for contributing to the growth of her business and her development as a business leader. "They provided opportunities such as a leadership institute where I was able to learn more about my community on all levels," says Jennifer. These opportunities have given Jennifer the motivation and confidence to return the favor.
"I have become more involved in the community. Last year, I was President of the Uptown Ankeny Association and am now on the Board of Directors at the Ankeny Chamber of Commerce. My desire is to give back to the community that supports my business and my family."
More than just a place to operate her business, Jennifer appreciates the opportunities Ankeny provides for her family to sustain a high quality of life.
"I cannot imagine raising my children in a town other than Ankeny," Jennifer says. "The wonderful schools have already impacted the lives of my two sons, in Kindergarten and 2nd Grade at Crocker Elementary. We LOVE spending our free time as a family at the amazing parks, bike trails, sports activities, and pools in Ankeny. Some weeks, we never leave Ankeny! We truly live, work, eat, sleep, shop, and play right here in Ankeny!"
Ultimately, Ankeny provides Jennifer with the resources she needs to be successful both in business and her personal life.
"Living within the town of Ankeny allows me to feel more balanced when I can juggle all the 'hats' I wear as business owner, mom, wife, friend and more without driving all over creation," she shares.
"In Ankeny I am able to choose the level at which I run my business. Because of the economical rent, I am able to choose my pace of work to fit my family's lifestyle."
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