I a Shoppe opens downtown

FD business features goods made in Iowa

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Laura Eastwood, owner of I a Shoppe, poses with items made in Iowa. One of her goals is feature an item from each of Iowa’s 99 counties in her store.

Just inside the door at I a Shoppe in downtown Fort Dodge is an antique telephone that was made in Fort Dodge by Monarch Telephone MFG Co.

Further into the building are other items made in Iowa, ranging from flower arrangements and jewelry to candles and jams.

It’s all part of Laura Eastwood’s business plan to market items produced by Iowa vendors and encourage others to shop locally.

In fact, she said every item in the store was made in Iowa.

“Anything made in Iowa can come in here,” Eastwood said.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
An antique telephone made in Fort Dodge by Monarch Telephone MFG Co.

I a Shoppe, 12 N 10th. St., is connected to Eastwood Realty, which is also owned by Eastwood.

Eastwood bought building in 2015.

She said it used to be a Hispanic church.

The facade was upgraded in 2016 and other renovations were made to accommodate her needs.

Then in November 2018, Eastwood had an idea to fill the empty space on the north side of her building.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Rock art made by Debbie’s Rock N Art Creations is displayed at I a Shoppe.

“I had an empty building and I thought we should stick something in it,” she said. “I saw vendors outside and I thought we could bring them inside for the winter. It’s something to do and it helps the vendors.”

I a Shoppe opened July 11.

It’s the first such business venture for Eastwood, who has lived in Fort Dodge since 1991.

“It has been fun and exciting,” she said. “It’s fun to see what people can do. We are still looking at other vendors to bring stuff in.”

At some point, Eastwood said she plans to have coffee and tea on hand for customers to drink while they shop.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Laura Eastwood, owner of I a Shoppe, looks over towels made by The Coop in Pocahontas.

“We probably would eventually like to have tea and coffee, where people can come in and talk, buy a few things and move on,” she said. “Not so much a coffee shop or tea shop, just a place to stop and chat.”

Although Eastwood admits opening a business isn’t easy, she feels good about her location in Fort Dodge.

“I like Fort Dodge,” she said. “I like opening a business here. There are good people. It can be time consuming to get all the permits and proper documentation and insurance, but Fort Dodge has been good and great to work with.”

Eastwood likes the idea of keeping business local.

“I think we should buy local and keep our economy growing,” she said. “And hopefully this will spur more people to create things and keep the economy moving.”

Eastwood added, “I see people looking for jobs and can’t find a job, but do artsy things. So why not do artsy things and make a little money.”

Eventually Eastwood would like to have something from each of Iowa’s 99 counties in the store.

“We might even need a new store at some point,” she said.

I a Shoppe features items from these vendors:

• SueZee’s Soaps (Kossuth County)

• Farmer’s Daughter Candle Company (Pocahontas County)

• The Coop (Pocahontas County)

• Cid’s Creations (Polk County)

• Debbie’s Rock N Art Creations (Webster County)

• B&B Fly’s (Calhoun County)

• Caring Farms (Calhoun County)

• Denny’s Rag Rugs (Webster County)

• Xpressed Emporium (Monroe County)

• Epic Eateries (Polk County)

• Blossom Street Honey (Wright County)

• Red Barn Woodworking (Calhoun County)

• Jewery Bracelets (Webster County)

• Dun Lurking Leather Goods (Polk County)

• Art by BG Smith (Webster County)

• Artsy Mama (Humboldt County)

• Flowers For Loved Ones (Humboldt County)

I a Shoppe is open Thursday from 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m.-1p.m.