Retail Referral Program

The Iowa City Downtown District’s ILoveIC Retail Referral Program is an initiative aimed to reward community members for engaging directly with experienced independent retail stores that they would like to see in Iowa City. The referral program is intended to invite those that are passionate about downtown Iowa City to reach out to stores they believe would complement and strengthen the downtown Iowa City retail cluster.  This non-traditional approach to recruitment is intended to inspire economic development at the grass-roots level.

The program provides community members with a $500 referral reward for any referral that results in a newly signed lease within the Downtown District, a $1,000 referral reward for men’s ware resulting in a signed lease, or a $20 gift card incentive for any referral that results in a new-to-Iowa City store owner connection with ICDD staff.  Independent stores are preferred over chains and franchises.

Have you ever thought…Wow, I love this shop, I would love it if they had a store in Iowa City? Help the Iowa City Downtown District recruit businesses that you love elsewhere! Whether it is a great retailer that is seeking its second brick-and-mortar location or a new on-line business that is seeking a great storefront, there are terrific opportunities for independent businesses to join our strong retail community.


Engage a sales associate or clerk to seek out an owner or owner representative.
Share a digital retail brochure found in the retail toolkit on this site and your passion for Iowa City.
Capture store information and contact details to share with the ICDD staff.
Fill out the information in the following referral form and submit it.

We (Iowa City Downtown District)… 
Follow up by sending the loved store an Iowa City Downtown District retail kit.
Continue the relationship with you and the recruited owner or we carry it forward independently (we will connect with you about it).
Reward you with a $500-$1,000 check for your referral if the store signs a lease downtown and/or $20 downtown gift card for each referral that results in a response from the store owner. We will notify you!

For referral rewards, all contact information provided should originate through an in-person connection with you and should not be submitted by researching website information or making phone calls alone.