Providing unified access to retail assistance at ISU

Introducing the Iowa Retail Initiative

The Iowa Retail Initiative (IRI) unites Extension professionals, researchers, faculty, students, and community partners to fulfill the university’s land grant mission of combining science, technology, and creativity to improve the quality of life in Iowa by creating thriving rural communities.

The IRI provides a means for collaboration across the university’s collegiate boundaries to assess business/community needs and provide targeted assistance in diverse retail areas such as: financials, management/HR, marketing, promotion, customer development, technology/multi-channel, visual merchandising, assortment planning, store design, branding, downtown environment and streetscape design, community branding, and analysis of policy.

Retail Trade Analysis Videos

IRI Toolkit

These 8-10 minute videos were produced as a response to Iowans' questions regarding retail topics.  If you have suggestions for a new topic or topic series, please contact us. For a full listing of videos locate here.

The toolkit listing was prepared to provide Iowa retailers with some new as well as tried and true ideas for improving their bottom line.


Student Based Retail Consulting

As part of ISU community based learning, classes work within communities to assist retail owners in various design, merchandising and marketing efforts.  The programs are offered in both fall and Spring semesters; participation is limited to two or three communites each semester.  Contact us today for upcoming classes.


IRI Staff

IRI Program Co-Directors: Contact us with your retail questions!

Ron Prescott



Susan Erickson


Project Directors:

Lisa Bates

Interior Design



Linda Niehm

Retailing and Entrepreneurship


Project Co-Directors:


Jessica Hurst



Tom Neppl

Landscape Architecture

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