Sidewalk sales in Iowa City this summer - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sidewalk sales in Iowa City this summer

IOWA CITY (KWWL)-  The Iowa City city council has approved a proposal that would allow downtown businesses to sell on the sidewalks during the warmer months.

By the middle of May local retailers may be able to capitalize on a truly unique situation in Iowa City.

"It gives a little more of a bizarre feel.  It shows more energy," said Leah Cohen, President of the Downtown Association in Iowa City.

It's a sight that differentiates Iowa City from many other city centers.

"Downtown Iowa City is busy morning, afternoon, and night," said Catherine Champion, owner of Catherine's, a women's apparel.

Thousands of people pack the sidewalks in this pedestrian friendly town and stores will soon be able to take their merchandise outside where the foot traffic is heaviest.

I love it, I think it'll make retail stand out where people didn't see it," said Champion.

Champion says during tough economic times, visibility is key for businesses like hers.

"It's the color that draws people in and it makes them excited."

But in a town that is known for it's restaurants and bars, it's the local shops that are easily lost in the mix.

"We also have good retail.  Good solid, great retail.  We want to highlight those unique items that are selling down here," said Cohen.

"There's tons of things to do, it's sore of like living in a big city, in a smaller city."

If the ordinance passes, it'll be yet another reason to get out and enjoy the unique atmosphere in Iowa City.

The local shops will be allowed to bring out two racks of merchandise.

City Council is expected to approve the new ordinance May 5th, and stores could potentially be outside by graduation week later in the month.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner

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