The blossom specialists at Coe’s Floral and Gifts arrange flowers for spontaneous gestures and a host of special occasions. A 12-stemmed pink-rose bouquet nests in a shapely vase with ample greens, and a dozen roses in assorted colors keep semioticians guessing. Tulips slap smiles on faces with 15 cheerful stems, and any buds in the store may be combined to create hypnotic palettes or floral supergroups. The store, which has been in business since 1932, hosts floral-design workshops on a variety of topics each month, including seasonal decorations and how to conceal a trebuchet in a bed of roses during a siege.
Owned by Iowa residents Lisa Barillas and Twyla Tindall, Lyla's Boutique supplies well-known brands to Iowa's multifaceted fashionistas. The boutique stocks a bevy of pants, tops, skirts, and dresses from prominent labels such as Miss Me, Free People, BCBG, BB Dakota, Sweet Pea, Judith March, Level 99, and Vintage Havana. Covering colorful styles from hand to toe, Lyla's also houses a range of purses and functional, form-fitting shoes. Popular wearables currently include a braided-chain-and-jewel necklace and earring set ($32), Kinsie Girl Oliander wedges ($49), !iT Jeans ($69.95), and the wildly inspiring Free People zebra dress ($128) (see pictures of select clothing items here.
Ames British Foods was originally started to sate the comfort-food cravings of Iowa State’s expats, but it didn't take much time for owner Marcus to discover he had a native fan base as well. His new restaurant—The Chip Shop—serves up traditional fare from across the pond in a friendly setting that encourages relaxing over a plate of fish ’n’ chips or starting a game of cribbage. Customers can also shop Ames British Foods in downtown Ames for imported British biscuits, chocolate, and other UK-leaning groceries, and enjoy a free cup of tea offered by a friendly staff member or that overly friendly regular customer.
Disappointed with the community’s lack of boutique-shopping options, Tia Ricklefs set out to design her own line of trendy apparel for men and women. The resulting brand, Ayden Lee, includes styles that range from summery dresses and jeans to formalwear, all speckled with quirky design elements such as asymmetrical straps, metallic accents, and built-in parachutes. Tia’s menswear line features suits and dress shirts in timeless cuts and bold colors. The red-brick storefront encloses racks of color-coordinated fashions alongside black display tables that flaunt ruched handbags and vintage hair accessories.
Spontaneous Boutique intertwines comfort and style with an eclectic stock of ductile yoga garments and designer apparel for women of all shapes and sizes. Customers can slip into a pair of i am Beyond yoga pants made from Supplex performance fabric for stretching and meditating in yoga class or sparking impromptu kickboxing battles for the last croissant ($59). A pair of DL1961 jeans ($149) swaddles knees in designer denim and can couple with a Red Haute top ($69) for flirty evening expeditions. With an OLovesM bag ($35), women can fashionably tote credit cards, car keys, and wallets or can fold into map pose and slip out of sight.