DIGITAL CAPITAL: Google Honors Metro City

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A global company honored one metro city for having the strongest online business community in the state.

You’ll find birdhouses, jewelry, pillows, frames and more inside Sticks West Des Moines store. President Rachel Eubank says, "It is what I would describe heirloom American craft accessories and home furnishings."

You can buy the handmade creations at two metro locations and online. Eubank says, "In about 2007, summer of 2007, we identified the need to take our business onto the internet. We created a section of our website where you can purchase directly."

The online presence helped the Iowa business grow, even during the recession. Eubank says, "Our online sales continue to grow every year."

Sticks is just one example of a West Des Moines business using the internet to increase sales. Google Representative Whitney Lemon says, "We are so excited West Des Moines has been named digital capital of Iowa."

Google named West Des Moines Iowa's eCity. The company picked one city in every state based on research from an independent firm. Lemon says, "They have websites that are for e-commerce, they have mobile friendly websites. They're on blogs. They're on social media."

City leaders say the designation is great for bragging rights. They say it's also good for the local economy. West Des Moines Mayor Steven Gaer says, "We just know that when small businesses succeed we do so much better. I think two thirds of all the jobs are created by small businesses."

The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce hosts workshops to help small businesses with web presence. And, the mayor points to the city's work to help bring high speed fiber. Gaer says, "We're going to continue doing what we can as a city to help make tools available for businesses to succeed."

This is the first year Google named digital capitals across the country. A spokesperson says hopefully the award will continue next year.