How the small Iowa town of Jewell transformed into a shopping hotspot

How the small Iowa town of Jewell transformed into a shopping hotspot

Jewell, a town of 1,216 in Hamilton County, might seem an unlikely place for a business boom. But the small town has a nearly full Main Street, which has become a destination shopping location.

“Jewell is truly a bright spot,” Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, told the Ames Tribune this week. “I’m very impressed with what they’ve done as a community there.”

Jewell’s historic Main Street features two blocks of renovated brick storefronts, many of which were built in the early 1900s. Several have retail businesses with apartments on the upper story. Along with a bowling alley, Main Street also offers services such hair salons, a dentist office, chiropractor and bank. 

Children enjoy roasted marshmallows during the "Channel Your Flannel" festival in downtown Jewell, Iowa, Oct. 30, 2021.

Retailers include several vintage and handmade stores, including Gravy Home Goods, Gin + Tarnish, Mustard Seed Revival, DK Handmade, Urban Heirlooms and Sew Bee It quilt shop. Newcomers include a bistro, Juniper & Olive Co., which will add a mercantile in the near future, and Fairy & Frog, a children’s toy, book and candy store that opened earlier this year in Vendor’s Village.

Dunham said the authority has been working with Jewell for a long time.