Local businesses are too expensive to support

Nichole Shaw, Opinion Columnist

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Local businesses are integral to the unique character of each town. Iowa City is no exception, and its local businesses provide an inclusive, welcoming charm to residents and visitors alike. Despite the fact that I would love to support local businesses and the valuable character they bring to the city, it’s simply unrealistic as a college student.


Cost. Shopping downtown Iowa City is all fun and games until you look at the price tag and find your heart broken by the list price at the bottom. Some local shops downtown offer beautiful clothing, jewelry, and accessories at prices it claims anyone can purchase, no matter their budget. However, some local prices can run up to $300 for a backpack or $200 for a romper. Stores do occasionally have sales, but on a college student’s budget, prices like that just aren’t fathomable or realistic.

The fact is, one could get these items from a more commercialized store for cheaper prices. A resistant trench coat at a local store costs $575 when you could get a similar coat from Ragstock for $30 maximum.

In a college town, you’d expect local businesses to consider their market when they set prices and realize that a lot of college students already struggle to pay tuition, rent, utility bills, and more. However, prices in local businesses don’t cater to the college-student demographic. Instead, they service the marginal middle-upper class demographic of Iowa City residents.

“The income inequality of Iowa City (measured using the Gini index) is 0.501, which is higher than the national average,” according to Data USA.

I love local businesses, and I think they provide such a unique aspect to the community. It’s just difficult to support on a college budget. I mean, how can you be an inclusive business when you exploit a demographic of college students that almost take up half of a city’s population?