The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Basic Goods to close, CIELO boutique to open second location in Ped Mall space

The woman-owned shop will open in the space occupied by Basic Goods, set to close in November.
Ava Neumaier
The Basic Goods store sits empty in the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023. Owner Simeon Talley had a 40 percent off sale on the plants and goods sold. Cielo Goods will open in the space in mid-November.

The boutique CIELO will soon be the newest women-owned local business in downtown Iowa City this November. It will occupy the space of soon-to-close sustainability retailer Basic Goods.

CIELO, Spanish for “heaven,” was created by CEO Monica Berry who spent years developing her skills in crafting women’s clothes and self-care goods. Berry started CIELO eight years ago by selling baby and women’s clothes, and self-care goods to boutiques across the country.

Three years ago, Berry was able to use her success to upscale to a fully-fledged wholesale business, opening her first CIELO location at the Iowa River Landing at 920 E. 2nd Ave. However, the journey to create the store goes beyond only clothes.

The store also features household items, such as candles, books, stickers, and Everlasting Jewelry, which is a permanent chain fused together.

Berry spoke with The Daily Iowan about her recovery from alcohol and how it played into making her own store. The decision allowed Berry to form a career she loves.

“This is my recovery business; I got sober from alcohol about eight years ago, and that’s when I started the business,” Berry said. “We tend to go a lot toward the metaphysical which is something I’m really into and the self-care route. It’s something I really love.”

Berry’s success with her first location enabled a search for a place to open a second store. Berry found luck when the owner of Basic Goods, which sells sustainable items for self and home care, decided to close its doors to move on to new ventures.

Basic Goods, located on the Ped Mall at 125 S. Dubuque St., has provided sustainable goods to Iowa City customers for over three years. Owner Simeon Talley said the decision to move on was not an easy one, but through his relationship with Berry, he thinks the transition will be pretty seamless.

Talley said he will go on to projects involving community building and development but is not ready to share details quite yet.

“I came to a decision that it was time to do something else, and Monica has been looking for a downtown location for quite some time now,” Talley said. “It just made sense with me.”

Basic Goods is also home to the popular coffee shop known as Daydrink. Daydrink shares a lease with Basic Goods, and Berry said Daydrink’s business meshes very well with her own and would love for the coffee shop to stay.

Daydrink is not currently planning on leaving the location.

As November nears and Basic Goods prepares to close its doors, CIELO is gearing up for its arrival into the downtown Iowa City scene. All items in Basic Goods are currently 40 percent off to allow for CIELO to begin moving in on Nov. 1.

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In preparation for the new store, Berry’s partner and co-CEO Tom Ferguson, recently quit his job as an administrator for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to work for CIELO full-time. Ferguson said he loved working with veterans but is excited and grateful to work for a store that is helping the Iowa City community.

“What I love about [CIELO] is that it’s community engaged, it’s all-inclusive, and we get to help people,” Ferguson said. “Being a self-care shop, being a fun shop, being a gift shop, we get to help bring some joy to people.”

Looking to the future, the pair hope to have a soft opening near the holidays and possibly some construction for more permanent dressing rooms and additional updates during the winter. Ferguson said they are thinking about a grand opening sometime in December, but it is not set in stone yet.

As the store gets ready to open, Berry expressed her excitement to build on the women-owned businesses in the area.

“I’m just super honored to join all of the women-owned businesses down there that already exist, and we’re going to have hair tinsel extensions, permanent jewelry, and all of our cozy stuff that we have at the other location,” Berry said. “So hopefully people are excited for us to come in,”

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article referred to Tom Ferguson as Tom Berry, and also referred to him as Monica Berry’s husband. Ferguson is Berry’s business partner. The Daily Iowan regrets this error.

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About the Contributors
Jack Moore
Jack Moore, News Editor
Jack Moore is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is from Cedar Rapids Iowa. Along with working at The Daily Iowan, Jack works for the University of Iowa's UI-REACH program as a Resident Assistant. UI-REACH is a program for students with learning, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities intended to provide support to these students throughout their college experience. Additionally, Jack is involved in Iowa City's live music scene as he plays bass for local Iowa City band "Two Canes."
Ava Neumaier
Ava Neumaier, Photojournalist
Ava Neumaier is a first-year student at the University of Iowa, majoring in English & Creative Writing. She was the Editor-in-Chief of her high school yearbook in New York, and has interned for a New York Times photographer. She enjoys taking pictures of performances and student life.