Archive for Downtown Retail

L&D15 – New Business

Posted in Projects with tags , , , , on September 29, 2014 by Tory Brecht


520 W. 2nd Street

Status: November Opening
Job Created: TBD


Exterior of L&D 15


Since moving from Brooklyn to Davenport a little more than a year ago, David Balluff and Lopeti Etu have searched long and hard to find the perfect space for their eclectic hand-made clothing and hat (and other stuff) store.

A brief residency in cramped quarters at Bucktown came to an end awhile ago, and the pair have been busy fulfilling mail order requests in their apartment since. But they finally found what they were looking for in The Market building on W. 2nd Street.

“It’s a great location for us, with gigantic windows and close to the Farmers’ Market, the Figge, the bike trail and other things going on down here,” said Balluff, who manufactures organic cotton and bamboo silkscreen shirts, dresses, sarongs, onsies, tank tops and other fine products under the name General Assembly.

His partner, Lopeti Etu, creates hand-blocked hats of all sorts, under the brand Lopeti Etu Millinery.

Both of their complete lines of products, as well as those of other local and far-flung original designers, will be housed at the new L&D 15 limited edition clothing, accessories and housewares shop.

Balluff said the fact the building was known as the New York Hat Company in the 1910s, made it seem like the perfect home for he and Lopeti’s vision.

“We’re bringing back not only hat manufacturing, but we were recently in New York ourselves,” he said.

Brand new windows help spruce up L&D 15

Brand new windows help spruce up L&D 15

Etu and Balluff plan to reach out to artists and designers both locally and internationally, including open calls for artists/makers and other creatives to present new products. That will happen closer to the studio’s opening.

“We’re trying to build something that gives back to the community,” Balluff said. “Our target market isn’t young or old, rich or poor. It’s people who appreciate things made by hand.”

He calls this “retail 2.0” – meaning L&D 15 won’t be just a place to shop, but a living workshop and community gathering space.

Part of their interior work that includes renovating floors and painting. They are using lumber from Davenport Public Works’ urban wood utilization program. They plan to open sometime in November.




Oh So Sweet – New Business

Posted in Projects with tags , , , on April 17, 2014 by Tory Brecht


314 Main Street

Total Investment: $115,000
Total Public Investment: $20,000 – Davenport Small Business Loan Program
Private Funds Leveraged: $95,000
Jobs Created: 10
Status: Nearing Completion

 Exterior of Oh So Sweet on Main Street


Last summer, Tiphanie Cannon took her tremendous baking talents to the Freight House Farmers Market for the first time. As they gobbled up her delectable cupcakes, cookies and other treats, about every fourth or fifth customer begged her to open a storefront where they could get her goodies more often, all year-long.

This May, they will get their wish.

Cannon’s new bakery – Oh So Sweet – will occupy the last open commercial space in the recently renovated United Cigar Building. It was the increasing momentum of energy and re-development in downtown Davenport that helped Cannon pick the space on Main Street.

“Downtown is super cool,” she said. “I’m not a strip mall kind of girl. We’re going for an urban chic, big city vibe.”

This will be accomplished with splashy displays in the large windows lining the front of the building, as well as a variety of plush seating areas just inside the entrance. A gas fireplace, a super long counter and some other unusual touches will help make Oh So Sweet’s environment unique, Cannon said.

Tiphanie Cannon poses in front of the gas fireplace in the Oh So Sweet seating area.

More jobs will be coming downtown as well, with Cannon planning on hiring 9 employees to man the store. She’s covering all her business bases by offering walk-in baked goods, a line of special wedding cakes, and the ability to host events like bridal and baby showers and other parties.

“We’re going to be a multi-purpose bakery,” she said.

Cannon also praised the business climate in Davenport, noting that the project was assisted by a $20,000, interest-free small business loan. She also recently won $1,000 in the Quad Cities Fast Pitch entrepreneur contest for taking first prize in the Restaurant/Entertainment category.

“Everyone has been so supportive and helpful,” she said. “I’m really excited to get open.”

Abernathy’s (new business)

Posted in Projects with tags , , , on November 6, 2013 by Tory Brecht


314 E. 2nd Street

Total Investment: $25,900
Total Public Investment: $12,000 small business loan from City of Davenport
Private Funds Leveraged: $13,900
Status: Opening Nov. 9
Projected jobs created: 3

Abernathy's is a new vintage clothing store on 2nd Street

Downtown Davenport continues to be a destination spot for hip new business start-ups. Becca Clark and Nicole Adams – co-proprietors and first time business owners – are opening a vintage and hand-made clothing and jewelery store in a formerly vacant storefront on 2nd Street.

They describe their inventory as “unconventionally rustic apparel and accessories for the eclectic soul” and their store’s physical aesthetic matches that sense of style with cool dressing rooms made out of antique doors, unique art and quirky household items from many different decades.

Eclectic clothes and accessories, as well as decor, are featured at Abernathy's

Clark and Adams both have extensive experience in retail management, having been managers at the former 4 Miles 2 Memphis independent clothing store in LeClaire, which recently moved to Chicago. The pair decided to strike out on on their own rather than follow their boss to the Windy City, and chose downtown Davenport because of the growth and potential they see there.

“Our business and demographic market are blossoming at the same time downtown Davenport is blossoming, especially with all the people moving in down here,” said Clark. “We think of this as a lifestyle shop. A place for everything that’s eclectic and interesting.”

The brick building dates to the turn of the 20th century, and originally was a medical clinic. It most recently housed a Vera French clinic, but has been empty for several years. Abernathy’s has around 2,000 square feet of space, including a studio where Clark and Adams enhance clothes and create jewelry.

The grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 9, when the store will be open from 11 a.m. to 7  p.m. The store will have regular evening hours to attract downtown residents returning home from work. There will be an open house with food from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. during the grand opening.


The Reform Building/The Market – New Business Re-development

Posted in Projects with tags , , , , on September 3, 2013 by Tory Brecht


526 W. 2nd Street and 522-524 W. 2nd Street

Total Investment: $240,000
Status: Targeted fall opening
Job Created: 3-5

The former German language newspaper The Reform called this building home from 1892 to 1943. It is being renovated as a new antique store.The Market building in the 500 block of W. 2nd Street will become an antique mall.

Two more vacant buildings in Davenport’s urban core are getting facelifts and new business/residential tenants. An encouraging sign is these two historic buildings – both of which date to before the turn-of-the-20th Century – are on the near-west side of downtown, an area only a handful of developers have invested in recently.

The intrepid developer is Joe Wonio, who is also a property associate of Financial District Properties, the company adding apartments to the Union Arcade and Wells Fargo buildings downtown. This project is independent of Financial District Properties, however.

“I was looking for a building to both live in and lease for business as my first project, and Kyle Carter of the Downtown Partnership called me and told me Chenhall’s was for sale,” Wonio said, referring to the staffing company that was the last tenant of The Reform building at 526 W. 2nd Street. “I like the neighborhood, it’s a lively area close to the ballpark, and I can walk to work.”

Wonio is converting the second floor of The Reform building into his personal apartment. The first floor will be home to Company 38 Antiques, owned and operated by Lorie Charles, who already runs a successful antique business in Eldridge. Charles has also helped Wonio line up tenants for The Market building next door, which will become an antique mall. Previously it was home to a thrift shop and a barbershop, but has been empty for several years. Both businesses are expected to employ up to five, Wonio said.

“I’ve been wanting to be in downtown Davenport for years,” said Charles, who has been in the antique business for 15 years. “For my type of business, we need to be real close to the center of downtown, but not right in it. This is perfect.”

Lorie Charles, owner of Company 38 Antiques, is already collecting merchandise in her new space.

Lorie Charles, owner of Company 38 Antiques, is already collecting merchandise in her new space.

The building at 526 W. 2nd is on the National Register of Historic places, built in 1892 as the home of the German language Newspaper The Iowa Reform. The newspaper peaked in circulation in 1912, serving the local tri-city Germans, with 4,000 subscribers. During World War I, most Iowa German papers ceased publication because of anti-German sentiment, but The Reform continued by complying with a government requirement that each issue be translated into English and filed with federal censors. By 1938, The Reform was the sole surviving German paper in Iowa with a circulation of 3,240. It folded in 1943 due to anti-German sentiment associated with World War II.

Wonio said he’s excited to be bringing new development to the west side of downtown. He thinks the recent residential boom a bit further east is going to continue spreading, and will boost retail, commercial and business development in the central city.

“One successful project builds on another,” he said. “It’s kind of a domino effect.”