Iowa City’s Basic Goods owner to enroll in UI Tippie College of Business masters program

Simeon Talley, owner of Iowa City personal care and wellness store Basic Goods, will enroll in the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business MBA program starting next fall semester.


Isabella Cervantes

Simeon Talley, owner of Basic Goods, poses for a portrait in his shop, on Friday, March 4, 2022.

Sam Knupp, News Reporter

Simeon Talley, owner of Basic Goods in downtown Iowa City, has founded restaurants, coffee shops, and music festivals, but now he’s starting a new chapter at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business.

In the fall 2022 semester, Talley will enroll in Tippie’s Master of Business Administration program for business executives. He said the decision came when he recognized that he is capable of doing more.

“This is something that can help me create more value for my business, for this community, but also just can create more value in the world at large,” Talley said.

Basic Goods opened in 2020 in the earlier stages of the pandemic. During a time where many businesses were left struggling, Talley’s store was able to expand, he said, taking over the office space previously leased by Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa.

Talley said he isn’t worried about balancing his studies with managing the store, as the UI program is made for business executives with the intention of accommodating their schedules.

He said managing his schedule will also be possible because of his staff.

“I’ve benefited from really great staff,” he said. “I’ve leaned on them and relied on them a ton. And they are the ones who, in many respects, make the store go.”

Talley said he hopes to use what he learns and the connections he makes at the Tippie College of Business to eventually turn Basic Goods into a household name.

Talley said part of the reason Basic Goods has a passionate customer base is the progressive and inclusive approach he takes in managing the store.

“They’re really supportive and [the] encouragement that they offer, it’s just really, really rewarding, and it gives me energy,” he said.

Talley’s store aims to sell natural, environmentally friendly products, he said. It includes refill stations for everyday items like hand soap, dish soap, and body wash.

Tucker Shepard, an employee at Basic Goods and Daydrink, the coffee shop located inside Basic Goods, said he likes that the store brings personal care and wellness products to Iowa City — something he normally sees in major cities such as New York or Los Angeles.

“Some of the candles are also a lotion product. You burn and smell it, and it also turns into this oil that you can rub on your hands,” he said. “I just haven’t seen those in a lot of places.”

Talley added that he makes a point of prioritizing inclusivity, selling many products made by people of color and women.

“They’re building products for the future, not necessarily for the past,” he said. “And that’s just interesting to me, personally, and something I value. So, I wanted to kind of bring that to the store as well.”

Sam Uditsky, a retail associate at Basic Goods, said the store feels like a community space where customers can come in and get what they need, while also getting to interact with other people.

“I think it’s just a space that Iowa City needed,” she said.