Shop Small

An Adriana “White Dove” multi-strand necklace ($395) and Kent Stetson clutches ($208 each), all from the Des Moines Art Center’s museum shop.

It’s no secret that locally owned retailers have struggled in the disruptive mess of COVID-19. So there’s certainly no better year to support them as you set forth on your holiday shopping excursions.

And if the pandemic still has you leery about browsing in person, don’t let that stop you from checking out local offerings online. For example, the Des Moines Art Center’s museum store—always one of our favorite places to shop—has a robust online presence. Indeed, it’s impossible not to find things you’ll fall in love with for the people on your gift list (and for yourself!), including home decor and kitchen items, books and catalogs, toys, jewelry and accessories, and more.

For a one-stop source to find a variety of small retailers across the state, go to, which was established this past August by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The e-commerce platform provides brick-and-mortar shop owners—some of whom previously lacked a digital sales component—a place to showcase and sell their goods. Filter by town, ZIP code, business name or product category, such as food, collectibles, apparel, and home and garden, among others.

Through Travel Iowa’s Gift Card Marketplace, you not only can win over the people on your list who love to travel, but you also can support the state’s hard-hit tourism industry. Launched last spring in response to the pandemic, the marketplace offers gift cards and vouchers to museums, restaurants, hotels, attractions, and breweries and wineries across the state.

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