By Darliah Adams
Bricks covered, but no Coldstone. Many deizens wondered what happened to the ice-cream lovers’ paradise.
But the space will not be empty for long.
The Midwestern-theme clothing store Raygun will take over the space at the end of July. Far from ordinary, the shop, established in 2005 in Des Moines, focuses on giving back to the community by contributing to some of the issues the company’s people care about, including public education, equality, personal freedom, and a clean environment.
What started as owner Mike Draper’s way to make money during college turned into his passion and has led to a successful expansion of the store across Iowa and Kansas.
With its witty themes and new merchandise, the company is no stranger to Iowa City. Its current location on East College Street for the past few years was hard for customers to find, Draper said.
The College Street location was only approximately 14,000 square feet, but the new store on Dubuque and Washington Streets is 18,000.
Store associate Chris Biagini said, “A bigger store with more space means it is more expensive, but we love the location.”
Downtown is also excited about the new location.
“With its being an Iowa-based company, it helps express the personal touch to downtown, more of a retail expression,” said Nancy Bird, the executive director of the Iowa City Downtown District.
Beyond Iowa, the store plans on opening in Chicago and Omaha next, continuing to keep its Midwestern theme alive. New merchandise will soon include wooden art, screen print notebooks, and furniture.
The company hopes to open the new Iowa City site by the end of July in time for RAGBRAI, pushing its bicyclist-theme merchandise.