Downtown Iowa City retailer to close - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Downtown Iowa City retailer to close

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Austin Burke Clothiers is packing its bags as it prepares to leave downtown Iowa City after decades of success.

Owner Paul Smith says the past few years just haven't shown him the business he once saw.

"Downtown, while it's very healthy, just is not as strong of a retail environment as it used to be,” Paul Smith said. “It's still a wonderful place to be, but it's difficult to draw customers to the downtown area that don't want to come. It's just harder to do that than it used to be."

Austin Burke Clothiers is one of the last retailers left in downtown Iowa City.

Smith says without the help of other retail stores, in addition to the growing college bar and restaurant scene, very few people are left in the area seeking his men's business-casual wear.

This is made especially difficult when college students nearby tend to do their shopping online now.

Smith did said there is always the possibility of reopening a store at a later time.

"There may be some point in the future where I reopen if I miss this too much,” Smith said. I enjoy the relationships with the customers, I enjoy the clothing. And it's a very fun type of business to be in."

Austin Burke Clothiers is set to officially close in late December, but Smith says he may close his doors sooner than that.

Until then, all merchandise will be sold at discounted prices.

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