4 Reasons Why Retail Opportunities in Altoona, Iowa Are Unbeatable

Retail real estate in Altoona Iowa

A quick look at Altoona gives you a picture of a thriving retail scene. From the Outlets of Des Moines and Bass Pro Shops to the hidden gem mom-and-pop shops and small businesses located throughout our community, Altoona has a lot in store for both sellers and consumers. But this is only the beginning.

Each year, our market and our city experience significant growth.

So, why is this happening? What are the different retail opportunities in Altoona, Iowa, and how can businesses take advantage of them? Keep reading to find out.


With roughly 20,000 residents, Altoona’s population has grown 35% since 2010 and is expected to increase another 6% by 2027. This impressive growth has created a larger customer base, increased demand, and more talent acquisition opportunities for local retailers. Here’s how.

Each person who moves to Altoona represents a new customer in the retail market. Upon their arrival, they start spending money at local businesses. Whether these shoppers are buying groceries, picking up home improvement supplies, finding a new bike, building out their wardrobe or something else, Altoona’s retailers reap the rewards.

It’s worth noting that population growth helps stimulate scalable, sustainable competition between local businesses. As a retail company in a growing market like Altoona, you’d mostly be competing to attract new customers, versus competing for existing customers in a stagnant or shrinking market. Everyone benefits in this scenario. Businesses have more customers to sell to, customers have more businesses to choose from, and so on.

A growing population can also benefit businesses that are looking to hire. A larger population means a larger pool of potential candidates to choose from, which can help increase the chances of finding qualified and skilled employees. This motivates businesses to offer better salaries, benefits, and working conditions to attract and retain employees—helping develop a stronger and higher-paid local workforce.


Altoona’s resident population presents another major advantage besides growth—it’s primed for retail spending. 60% of adults in the City of Altoona are 25-64 years old, the demographic which does the most spending compared to other groups.

Plus, Altoona residents (on average) earn more than residents in neighboring communities.

In 2021, the median household income in Altoona was $80,966—$11,107 higher than the Greater Des Moines Region. Altoona’s per capita income also topped the Greater Des Moines region, coming in at $36,605. In 2022, average household income within a 1, 3, and 5-mile radius of the center of town (100 8th St SW) measured $105K+, $108K+, and $96K+, respectively.


The City of Altoona is a place where Iowans spend big on retail. Altoona has the second-highest sales per capita in the state—$34,652—compared to peer cities like West Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, and others. This is more than double the average sales per capita of the state of Iowa, which comes out to $13,687.

Drawing in more than 4 million visitors per year, Altoona is also a major tourism hub.

This is massively beneficial for local retail businesses, who get to take advantage of cross-traffic from Prairie Meadows, the Outlets of Des Moines, Bass Pro Shops, Spring Creek Sports Complex, Terrace Hills Golf Course, and other prominent entertainment destinations.

Just how much of an impact does this make on Altoona’s retailers, though? Quite a large one. Altoona has a trade surplus (spending by non-resident visitors) of $391 million per year. This accounts for roughly 58% of Altoona’s annual retail sales, which totaled more than $677 million in 2021.


Sitting just 20 minutes east of Des Moines, Altoona’s location is highly advantageous for retail businesses.

The City of Altoona sits right off I-80 and is only 6 miles away from I-35, two of the nation’s busiest transportation routes. It’s bordered by U.S. 6 and U.S. 65, two important regional routes that help connect Altoona with the rest of the Des Moines Metro Area.

Plus, over 32,000 vehicles drive through Altoona each day on 8th St SW, 1st Ave N, and 17th NW—three streets that run through the city’s bustling commercial district.


If you’re a retail business owner looking to find a commercial property for lease in Iowa, or a developer seeking out commercial land for sale in Iowa, you should begin your search in the City of Altoona!

Altoona has an abundance of commercial buildings and development-ready sites to choose from. Take the Prairie Crossing area, for example. Prairie Crossing offers 120 acres of mixed-use development space and roughly 400,000 square feet of premier retail space for lease and/or purchase. It’s located next to the Outlets of Des Moines and is already home to popular dining, retail, and hospitality businesses.

What’s more, the City of Altoona’s extensive inventory of commercial buildings for sale is supported by exciting incentives, grants, and tax credits.

We’re the ideal place for your retail business, whether you’re starting new or planning an Iowa relocation. Search our business real estate database or request additional information to learn more.