10,000 Villages to head to IC


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With a variety of interest surrounding the space opened up earlier this year after the closure of The Wedge, Iowa City downtown district officials are hoping to retain support for a permanent retail shop.

The Wedge closed Nov. 15, ending 6 and a half-years of business in downtown Iowa City.

Currently, the space, 136 S. Dubuque St., is set to temporarily lease to Ten Thousand Villages, a Fair Trade store that sells handmade products from across the globe.

Downtown District Executive Director Nancy Bird said the new lease will be in effect from Dec. 17-31, and the funds raised during that time will be put towards setting up a permanent shop in Iowa City.

“I’ve heard a lot of good things about this store, so I’m glad the city gave them this lease,” she said. “I’m sure they’ll raise enough funds to set up a permanent shop here in the city.”

Bird said once the lease ends after Dec. 31, it will leave room for other potential tenants to take the space for themselves, which is the only thing standing in the way of Ten Thousand Villages setting up a permanent shop.

“There are a lot of groups interested in this area,” she said. “After Ten Thousand Villages clears out, it will be the city’s decision whether or not they get to stay.”

Bird said even if Ten Thousand Villages does not take over the space, she would still like to see a retail shop.

Downtown District President Bill Nusser said while a third of the space will be occupied by the Fair Trade store, they are hoping to expand and maximize the amount of space in that area as it was originally built for three retail stores.

“If you ask me, I would like to see the other two thirds of that space occupied by something relevant to the library or the play area nearby,” he said.

Ten Thousand Villages Board Member Cindi Schrock said the store is non-profit and sells hand-made items from third world countries across the globe.

She said this will be the first store in the state of Iowa.

“The city’s been gracious enough to let us stay here for six weeks,” she said.

Schrock said if they are unable to renew their lease at the Dubuque St. space, they will not be looking for another space.

“In that time, we hope to educate the public to let them know who we are and show the city that we would be a great edition to their many shops," she said.

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