Iowa Retail Initiative

photo of retail district with amenitiesProspering local communities understand that supporting local retail is key. Most local small retail business owners are so busy with the day-to-day details of running a business, they don’t have the time to equip and empower themselves and their employees with key foundational skills and tools. Without this knowledge, businesses stagnate, and local economies suffer and decline.

The IRI adds value and increases benefits for local independent retail business in your community by helping you create the support network that local retail needs to thrive.

The Iowa Retail Initiative team, supported by the Community and Economic Development unit of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, has developed a three-part nested program to strengthen independent retail in Iowa’s communities. 

The program consists of IRI Champions, IRI Coaching and IRI Snapshots.

IRI Championsphoto of bike shop

The IRI Champions Workshop provides training and resources for community decision makers and small business supporters. In a Champions workshop session, participants will learn to: 

  • Assess existing and future retail needs 
  • Evaluate retail district amenities 
  • Maximize community social media 
  • Identify retail niches 

Resources for Iowa Retail Champions

IRI Coaching 

IRI Coaching works directly with retailers, preparing them for success with technical assistance and training. With IRI Coaching, retailers tackle the obstacles preventing business growth.  These sessions are focused on specific topics, such as business planning and store design.

Resources for Iowa Retail Coaching

IRI SnapshotsRetail store display

The IRI Snapshot trains local leaders to collect and analyze place-based information about their retail districts. IRI Snapshot participants will use accessible tools to: 

  • Map their retail districts 
  • Inventory existing retail conditions 
  • Employ collected data to drive decision-making 

Interested in hosting an Iowa Retail Initiative workshop in your community?  

Download a brochure 

Or, contact Lisa Bates for more information at 515-357-8185.

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