Iowa Retail Initiative

Iowa Retail Initiative

Small businesses are essential to a rural community’s quality of life, and they need community leaders and decision-makers working with them to generate a healthy retail environment. Iowa State University invites communities to take part in the Iowa Retail Initiative and build the support network that local retail needs to thrive. Iowa Retail Initiative, a part of ISU Extension and Outreach, is a program designed to strengthen independent retail in Iowa communities. Community and Economic Development Extension specialists provide training and resources.

For more information, contact Lisa Bates:


Lisa Bates

IRI Champions (Part One)

Part one of the IRI training, IRI Champions produces a foundation of support for your retail district.  

Starts where communities are now and offers tools and resources to help strengthen your retail base. Covers topics from social media and retail district amenities to understanding your town's retail data analysis.

Participants will learn to:

  • Assess existing and future retail needs
  • Evaluate retail district amenities
  • Maximize community social media
  • Cultivate community connections

Who should attend a Champions session and what is involved in the training?

IRI Snapshot (Next Step)

In this next step of the IRI training, IRI Snapshot produces informed decision-makers.  

IRI Snapshot trains local leaders to create a snapshot of their retail district.  The snapshot they create will answer these kinds of questions:

  • What is the condition of the storefronts in my retail district?
  • How many vacant storefronts are there?
  • What is the condition of the sidewalks in my retail district?

Who should be a part of IRI Snapshot training and what is involved?