Job growth in the retail and service sector has not matched the wages of manufacturing and other middle-skill level jobs lost over the past decade in Iowa. The difference has contributed to a growing disparity between low- and high-income households, which is especially profound in specific parts of the state, according to a new report by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach rural sociologist David Peters. Click HERE to read more.
According to the Iowa Small Business Development Center, there are 266,382 small businesses employing 641,288 people in Iowa, and nearly 50% of all workers in the state are employed by a small business. Of those small businesses, only one-tenth are retail; however, retail has an outsized impact on community character and quality of life.
Communities understand that supporting local retail is key to becoming and remaining economically viable. However, 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.
Enter the Iowa Retail Initiative (IRI).
Iowa’s retailers have had to quickly make changes to their businesses and adapt to the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. Across Iowa independent retailers instantly went from their doors being open to many of their doors closing, without ways to connect with customers or run their business as usual.
Equip your local independent retail, invest in your local economy
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, administered by ISU Extension and Outreach, is a program designed to strengthen independent retail in Iowa communities. Extension community and economic development specialists provide training to strengthen the local economy.
The ISU Iowa Retail Initiative provides trainings for community champions and snapshots. Find details on who should attend and the value of this training.
The Iowa Retail Initiative’s fact sheet, “Social Media Guide for Retailers,” provides basic information for retailers who want to engage and grow their customer base through social media. Included are tips for creating social media posts, building relationships, branding and marketing, and building audience.
A list of resources to encourage retail health and vitality from city / district scale to individual retail stores.
A one-hour program to teach local retailers and community leaders how to enhance their businesses and their community business environment through using social media. An easy-to-use program for county offices to deliver locally.