Ground Floor: Sage + Sky in Iowa City, a store within a store
Offers variety of home decor items
A long-time Iowa City retailer is getting a new look and feel — and a second store to share the space.
Women’s clothing retailer Dulcinea has operated on the corner of Dubuque Street and Iowa Avenue in downtown Iowa City since 1996. Nine years ago, Dulcinea owner Sandra Navalesi hired her long-time friend Jennifer Jorgensen to manage the store.
On Aug. 17, Jorgensen celebrated the grand opening of her own store, Sage + Sky, a home décor boutique located within Dulcinea.
“I always wanted to have my own shop,” Jorgensen said. “That’s how the conversation began.”
Jorgensen had started looking for a downtown location for her shop earlier in the year. However, the prospect of coming up with the cash outlay needed to start a business from scratch was daunting.
At the same time, Navalesi hated the thought of losing Jorgensen as an employee. She also recognized that the space she has occupied for the last 18 years was bigger than what she really needed. Thus, the idea of a store within a store was born.
“It’s a win-win for both of us,” Jorgensen said. “Sandy had the extra space and it gives me the opportunity to start out really small and test the waters.”
Sage + Sky offers a collection of home furnishings such as art, rugs, pillows, candles, lamps, clocks and kitchen accessories. Items include handcrafted pieces, vintage objects and repurposed items.
“I’m focused on small producers, a lot of whom are within the United States, and local artists,” Jorgensen said, noting that she found several of the lines she is offering through Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade items.
Jorgensen said she is placing an emphasis on affordability in selecting the merchandise for Sage + Sky. Prices range from $6 for hand-pressed cards created by an artist in San Francisco to $60 for a shower curtain to $400 to $500 for an original work of art by a local artist.
“I want everyone to feel like they are welcome here and can afford something no matter what their budget is,” she said.
Jorgensen hopes to grow her business into its own space someday, but for now she is satisfied with the cost-sharing arrangement she has with Navalesi.
“It’s all so new,” she said. “At this point, I’m just going with the flow.”
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At a glance
•Owner: Jennifer Jorgensen
•Business: Sage + Sky
•Address: 2 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City
•Phone: (319) 339-9468