Reviewing local businesses in Iowa City

A review of 3 different stores located in downtown Iowa City


Ivy Hendrickson

3 local businesses in Iowa City

It’s a warm summer day and you’re looking for something to do. You decide to walk around downtown and are instantly hit with the sight of all the different shops and stores. Downtown Iowa City is well known for its collection of shops and small businesses. Downtown, you can find stores for anything – clothes, food, books, even antiques and collectibles. I decided to focus on three locally-owned favorites – Yotopia, Artifacts, and Beno’s.

Yotopia is a frozen yogurt shop, located by the Old Capitol Mall. I thought that this was a really fun place. The yogurt was similar to other froyo places such as Aspen Leaf and Ghurtie’s. The walls were decorated with various chalkboards displaying the flavors, and there were also several comfy chairs and stools to sit on. There was a wide range of flavors to choose from, including strawberries and cream, chocolate, and wild blackberry.  My personal favorite was the cake batter, and my favorite toppings were the m&m’s and mini peanut butter cups. The flavors had a perfect mix of sweet and savory, and the toppings added an extra amount of flavor. Gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free options are also offered. This store has a great environment and is a great place to grab frozen yogurt in the summer or hang out with friends.

The second shop that I visited was an antique store called Artifacts, located by John’s Grocery and Bluebird Diner. The environment was cozy and welcoming, and I loved seeing all of the items. There are many different items to buy here, ranging from small decorations to furniture such as couches and bookshelves. At the front of the store, you can find small items and collectibles such as buttons, iron-on patches, and jewelry. Towards the back, you can find furniture, decorations, and houseware items. I was able to purchase a small wooden box for only a couple of dollars that I used to store coins. What I love about this store is that there are so many different items, and you never know what you’ll find.

Beno’s is a plant store that also sells various gifts and souvenirs.  At this store, you can find different types of plants as well as some unique gifts, such as posters and tote bags. Although it was a little crowded, the overall vibe of this store was really nice and enjoyable. When you first walk in, you are greeted with an abundance of plants and pots on the shelves, and you can also find posters, small decorations, and even some crocheted items near the back. This shop is perfect for anyone who loves plants or flowers.  

All three of these stores were super fun to visit, and I would definitely recommend them. Whether it’s a summer day and you’re craving a sweet treat, or if you’re looking for somewhere fun to spend your day, these stores are the place for you.