116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
SOLON — Stepping inside Moxie and Mortar on Main Street in Solon at this time of year is a lot like stepping into a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie.
Part of the reason is that for co-owners Angela Janssen and Gretchen Swan, the store is a home away from home.
The duo opened Moxie and Mortar in late 2018, just before Thanksgiving. While they have a couple of holiday seasons under their belts, one of those holiday seasons happened during a pandemic, so they’ve learned some interesting and unexpected business lessons.
“It really changed some of what we thought we would carry in terms of items for the home,” said Janssen, noting that they continue to adjust merchandise based on customer requests and shopping habits.
“There are definitely more home decor and furniture pieces than when we first opened.”
Janssen said they were able to shift their business to handle the ups and downs of the pandemic, only having to close their doors for a while before adapting to taking pick up orders for customers before being able to open back up for in-store shopping.
“It’s definitely been a challenge, but I think we’ve learned so much from this time,” she said.
They also developed a website for the business during the last year and have more than 1,000 items listed on their site. While they don’t yet ship items, orders are ready for customers to pick up in-store.
They’ve also seen so many changes on Main Street. While Big Grove was already open down the street when Moxie and Mortar opened, there wasn’t yet much retail located in the new buildings going up. It’s a gamble that was well worth it, Swan said.
“Now we are so excited about all the neighboring businesses being here, too. This has really become a great little shopping destination that we are seeing people make a day of,” she said.
Packed full of natural and modern furniture and decor, much of which currently is Christmas and winter-focused, Moxie and Mortar aims for a welcoming feel.
Customers also will find a full wall of wines to sample and purchase.
“We really strive to be a place that people can stop and pick out a great gift,” Swan said.
Janssen and Swan knew of each other through their children’s school. When they started noticing they were “liking” the same items, especially related to home decor and style, on Pinterest they began discussing opening their own store.
“We talked about it casually at first, that it would be fun,” Janssen recalled.
“But then we got more serious and really put the work into figuring out if this would make sense,” Swan added.
The two said they were doing a lot of the work behind the counter when they first opened. Now, they’re taking care of things behind the scenes most days.
“This is really possibly because of the incredible team that we have working here for us,” said Swan. “We couldn’t do it without them.”
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Co-owners: Angela Janssen and Gretchen Swan
Address: 121 W. Main St., Suite 103, Solon
Phone: (319) 624-2829