CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Supporting small businesses doesn’t always mean a trip to a brick-and-mortar store. Wednesday was the second annual Shop Iowa Day, an effort to support the Shop Iowa online marketplace.
“Small businesses, people do intrinsically care. They want to shop small. It makes people smile when you think about shopping small,” said Cherie Edilson, CEO of Member Marketplace, which manages the Shop Iowa platform for the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
She said people want to shop local but added it’s not always people’s first choice.
“It’s not always easy to do, though. It’s a lot easier to go to some other online retailers or maker marketplaces and shop there,” said Edilson.
On top of the competition small businesses already face, there was COVID-19 and all the ripple effects.
“During the 2020 pandemic, when retail stores were closed, IEDA noticed that a lot of their small businesses across the state didn’t have an online means to be able to sell,” said Edilson.
The Shop Iowa marketplace was born to help those businesses.
Bill Rieckhoff, General Manager of Almost Famous Popcorn, said he learned from participating last year how much of a difference having more of an online footprint can make.
“We actually got a corporate gift order that was in, you know, multiple—more-than-$1,000 order from a company who wanted to give our popcorn gifts to their clients,” said Rieckhoff.
The marketplace is home to nearly 700 businesses across the state. Some are in metro areas like Cedar Rapids and others…
“[One is] in Panora, Iowa, some small town I’ve never been to, and I’m not even sure where it is. But it’s it’s helping small businesses get sales from people that probably wouldn’t have found them otherwise,” said Edilson.
The hope is this project helps Iowa-owned businesses across the state thrive.
“When you support small business here in Iowa, you’re supporting jobs of your neighbors and friends, and that money gets circulated right back here into the community,” said Rieckhoff.
The deals offered on Shop Iowa Day include:
- 30% off discount for all purchases using coupon code to be posted on Oct. 11
- A chance to win a $500 Shop Iowa shopping spree grand prize, or one of four additional Shop Iowa gift cards. No purchase necessary. Must be an Iowa resident.
- Additional 1-day markdowns from small businesses across the state
- $5 Shop Iowa gift card for every $25 gift card purchased
- Free shipping specials by select business and local pickup where available
Copyright 2023 KCRG. All rights reserved.