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West End Shops in Marion offer unique growth opportunity

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 12:05 PM CDT
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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - Our Town Marion is giving smaller businesses a chance to grow in a unique space. The West End Shops are off of 6th Avenue, on the edge of Uptown Marion. They opened on July 10 as an opportunity for businesses that are too large for farmers markets, but not big enough for a larger commercial space.

Annette and Jack Perry own the block. Once they renovated and opened the West End Diner, they built five small spaces nearby for small business owners. Annette says she was planning this venture before the pandemic, based on her travels and creative background. She says she’s noticed a push toward supporting local companies over the last few months. “I think we’re all of the sudden aware that big box stores, very large arenas, cruise ships are probably not very good for us,” she says. “We need to stop packing in these commercialized places, spread ourselves out and return to things that are authentic and real and local.”

The owner of Jewelry by Marcy Zeadow says she’s re-stocking her shelves after what she says was a successful opening weekend. “The support from the community, the support from customers, the outpouring of love, from everybody that came out this weekend, to be able to reconnect with everybody, it has been amazing,” says Zeadow.

Zeadow makes her pieces by hand out of vintage silver-plated flatwear. She calls this opportunity a dream come true, especially during a difficult time for small business owners.

Other businesses in the West End Shops include a vintage clothing store, a bookstore, a home goods store and a shoe repair shop.

The Perrys are adding two more spaces for carts or tented booths. These are for smaller vendors who want to be part of what’s happening at West End. The green space on the rest of the block will eventually serve as a site for small, niche festivals.

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