As a restaurant owner, you understand that location is basically everything when it comes to running a successful business. However, you also know that location isn’t the end-all-be-all factor that determines your eatery’s performance. Demographics, market growth, adequate business real estate options, and other variables are just as important.
This makes the search for a perfect restaurant location quite challenging. You might find a city with great consumer demographics and a good geographical location but limited commercial real estate options, or plenty of cheap commercial buildings in a place with not-so-great consumer demographics in a less-than-ideal location, etc.
It’s rare for one area to have it all, but the City of Altoona arguably does.
Close to a growing Midwest metropolis, with impressive consumer demographics and plenty of available business real estate, Altoona is strategically balanced. So much so that over 50 dining businesses have chosen to open up shop here.
With that in mind, here are 5 reasons why restaurant owners love Altoona, Iowa.
1. PRIME LOCATION—RIGHT OFF I-80 & U.S. 65
The City of Altoona, which lies only 20 minutes to the east of Des Moines, offers significant advantages for restaurant owners. Altoona is right next to two of the most heavily used transportation arteries in the nation, I-80 and I-35, enabling easy access for customers and suppliers alike. Plus, U.S. 6 and U.S. 65—two crucial regional routes that connect Altoona with other areas of the Des Moines Metro—run through and along the edge of the city.
This is especially favorable when you account for all of Altoona’s entertainment destinations such as Adventureland, Prairie Meadows, the Outlets of Des Moines, Bass Pro Shops, Spring Creek Sports Complex, and Terrace Hills Golf Course, to name a few. These amenities draw in more than 4 million visitors per year, generating invaluable tourism cross-traffic for restaurants looking to cash in on the buzz.
While you might think that all these factors would result in higher-than-average business real estate costs, the Altoona market continues to remain reasonably affordable. For this reason, the City of Altoona has some of the highest-potential commercial real estate properties for lease and sale in Iowa’s competitive market, making the hunt for a brick-and-mortar location a little bit easier on the wallet.
2. IDEAL CONSUMER DEMOGRAPHICS
In addition to its strategic location, Altoona, Iowa boasts a restaurant-friendly resident population. The City of Altoona is made up of over 20,000 people, with more than 60% of residents falling into the 25-64 age group—the demographic with the highest consumer spending power.
More importantly, though, Altoona residents’ spending patterns meet and often exceed these high demographic expectations.
3. HIGH SALES PER CAPITA (2ND HIGHEST AMONG PEER CITIES IN IOWA)
Compared to peer cities like West Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and others, Altoona boasts the second-highest sales per capita in the state of Iowa—$34,652. This is more than double the state average, which measures in at $13,687.
Local restaurant owners see a lot of the benefits this brings.
In 2022, Altoona residents spent $35,000,000 dining out. This number is expected to reach $43,000,000 by 2027. Furthermore, recent data shows that 72% of Altoona households have dined out in the last 6 months, a rate that’s 7% higher than the national average. On top of that, nearly 23% of households in the City of Altoona eat at a sit-down restaurant 4 or more times per month—topping the national average by an impressive 10%.
The positive impact of all this economic progress, however, extends far beyond the realm of statistics. Altoona’s vibrant restaurant scene helps foster an important sense of community for residents and visitors alike. For example, Sam’s Bar & Grill in Altoona (which recently unveiled its renovated interior) regularly hosts events such as karaoke, DJ trivia, DJ bingo, and other fun goings-on that bring people together.
This brings us to another one of Altoona’s trademark qualities that makes it suitable for restaurant businesses—the fast-growing community itself.
4. ALTOONA IS THE BEST PLACE TO RAISE A FAMILY IN IOWA
Altoona is a fantastic place to raise a family, thanks to its growing economy, secure and supportive community, and high quality of life. It strikes the perfect balance between the excitement of urban living and the affordability of a small town, making it a great choice for families looking for the best of both worlds.
Unsurprisingly, this has caused a significant, yet gradual population boom as more and more families decide to start a life here.
The Altoona community, now home to approximately 20,000 residents, has seen remarkable population growth in recent decades. Its population has increased 35% since 2010 and is on track to grow another 6% by 2027. As a result, the restaurant industry in Altoona is well-positioned to thrive and take advantage of the ever-expanding market.
5. PLENTY OF COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE SPACE
Restaurant owners looking to find a commercial property for lease in Iowa, or developers seeking out commercial land for sale in Iowa have numerous opportunities to take advantage of in the City of Altoona.
A leader in Iowa economic development, Altoona has an abundance of commercial buildings and development-ready sites to choose from that are suitable for all types of restaurants.
An example of a prime Altoona development opportunity is the Prairie Crossing area, which comprises 120 acres of mixed-use development space and approximately 400,000 square feet of retail space for lease or purchase. This development is located adjacent to the popular Outlets of Des Moines and is already home to various successful hospitality, retail, and dining establishments.
What’s more, the City of Altoona’s extensive inventory of commercial buildings for sale is supported by exciting incentives, grants, and tax credits.
FIND REAL ESTATE SPACE FOR YOUR RESTAURANT IN ALTOONA, IOWA
Located minutes east of Des Moines, Iowa and right off of I-80, Altoona is a growing community with a high-spending resident population, several major entertainment attractions, and plenty of commercial real estate.
Whether you’re starting a new business or planning an Iowa relocation, our community is the place for your restaurant to grow. Search our business real estate database or request additional information to learn more.