Business

Found: Art at former Coral Ridge Mall store is looking for its creators

Artwork and handcrafted goods sit in the display window of the former Made In Iowa space, in Coral Ridge Mall, on Oct. 8, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Kristi Pearson)
Artwork and handcrafted goods sit in the display window of the former Made In Iowa space, in Coral Ridge Mall, on Oct. 8, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Kristi Pearson)
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CORALVILLE — An Iowa City small business owner is working to reconnect art vendors with numerous items remaining at a closed pop-up shop in Coral Ridge Mall.

Kristi Pearson, who owns handmade goods business KCoPear, said she recently saw art in the window display at the mall’s former Made In Iowa store, which closed in August.

Mall officials were relieved to hear from Pearson and asked if she could reach out to the vendors so they could retrieve their products, which include artwork, wood carvings, jewelry and knitted goods. With a new tenant scheduled to move into the Made In Iowa store next month, she said, Coral Ridge Mall eventually would be forced to sell all unclaimed items.

So, Pearson opted to call dozens of vendors, organize their wares and put them in touch with mall security so they could arrange pickup times.

“I’m not asking for compensation — nobody hired me — I’m just volunteering to do this,” she said.

With the holiday season approaching, Pearson added, the returned art could lessen the workload for some vendors and instill greater peace of mind.

Simeon Talley, former owner of the Made In Iowa store, said he also is reaching out to vendors to either return their art or ensure it is moved to his new Makers Loft store, which opened in May on the Pedestrian Mall in downtown Iowa City.

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Talley said opening that store, transportation challenges and a personal matter kept him from communicating with Coral Ridge Mall as fully as would have been ideal, resulting in the mall deeming the store, and its products, abandoned after the lease expired.

“There was never any intent or any thought of abandoning products in that store,” Talley said, adding that he now is “working diligently” to arrange for the items to be returned or moved.

Pearson invited vendors looking to retrieve their artwork to contact her by email at kcopear@gmail.com or by calling 319-930-8901.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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