One way to tell when a city is becoming a business center: Workers begin to reverse-commute from the metropolitan hub.
West Des Moines is experiencing such a turnaround, says Shawn Mullins, the communications director at the Iowa Dept. of Economic Development. The city, which touts itself as "Iowa's Fastest Growing Community," benefits from excellent access to transportation - it's sandwiched between three interstate highways - and an educated work force.
Like many communities near Des Moines, West Des Moines is home to a number of financial services and professional-services businesses. But the city also fosters a growing number of retail and entertainment providers, in addition to local art galleries, aquatic centers, and golf courses. -Mina Kimes