Iowa City Downtown District

Increases Investment in Retail Efforts


Seeking new soft-goods concepts, Downtown Iowa City opens temporary pop-up


(Iowa City, IA) April 3, 2024 – The Iowa City Downtown District (ICDD) has announced an expansion to its ongoing focus on retail recruitment and retention efforts with the introduction of “In the Meantime”, a pilot program to attract new retail concepts to downtown. Opening for select days and events beginning in April, ICDD has taken over a storefront shop on S Linn St. to host businesses exploring Iowa City as a market, special events, and pop-up shops. “In the Meantime” is the most recent retail assistance program from the Downtown District looking to expand the number and unique offerings from soft-goods retailers.

While low vacancy rates for first-floor retail spaces are promising for downtown, the ICDD is continuing work, recognizing that diversity in business concepts enhances the overall appeal and sustainability of the retail core. Diversity in retail offerings not only caters to a broader range of consumers but also contributes to a more dynamic and resilient economy. To help with this work, the Downtown District has taken on a new method to retail attraction by temporarily leasing the former White Rabbit shop at 112 S Linn St, named “In the Meantime”. “We are deliberately inviting entrepreneurs looking for a brick-and-mortar location to explore downtown,” said Iowa City Downtown District Executive Director, Betsy Potter. “The ICDD has been investing in retail recruitment and retention for over ten years, this effort is just another phase, as we continue to broadcast that retail sales in storefronts are still the primary way consumers shop,” said Potter.

The decision to open the temporary storefront, provides an innovative platform for potential tenants to showcase their products and connect with customers. By repurposing the former White Rabbit shop on S Linn St., ICDD is not only maximizing the use of available retail space but also revitalizing a prominent location within downtown Iowa City. “Linn Street has long been a retail street where many beloved community businesses first started including Revival, Textiles, Prairie Lights Bookstore, Active Endeavors, and now hosts several important retail neighbors such as The Art Mission, Record Collector, Critical Hit Games, and OM Gifts,” said Betsy.

In addition to retail recruitment, the storefront will be used as a support initiative for Dubuque St boutiques impacted by the streetscape update this spring and summer. Having the space under the ICDD will allow Dubuque St shops to host events, pop-ups, trunk shows and collaborations during the challenging months of construction.

The “In the Meantime” program represents a strategic investment in the future of downtown Iowa City, reinforcing its position as a dynamic hub for retail innovation and entrepreneurship. The space under this initiative will ensure that there is “A Window of Opportunity”, likely to attract interest from both aspiring retailers and residents eager to explore new and exciting shopping opportunities. This approach aligns with the evolving preferences of consumers and works to ensure that downtown Iowa City remains a destination for unique shopping experiences.

The first “In the Meantime” special event will be hosted on April 24th with a Willow & Stock Spring Floral Bouquet workshop. For more information about the 112 S Linn St lease opportunity, upcoming events, and pop-up shops, contact Betsy Potter ( or visit

The Iowa City Downtown District is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing the vitality of Downtown Iowa City. Its mission is to champion the Iowa City Downtown District as a progressive, healthy, and culturally vibrant urban center of the region. Through strategic initiatives and community partnerships, the ICDD works to support local businesses, attract visitors, and create a dynamic downtown experience for residents and visitors alike.