Here's what you'll see in West Elm's new shop in East Village
Before you head to the East Village's newest retail shop, get a peek inside the new West Elm store in Des Moines.
West Elm home furnishings store will open Thursday in Des Moines' East Village. It is the company's only store in Iowa.
The national retailer's mix of modern and mid-century furniture, rugs, accessories, bedding and kitchen goods includes a dose of local artisans and a growing selection of fair trade goods.
The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company is a division of Williams Sonoma and sister company to Pottery Barn.
West Elm's 11,000-square-foot store at 219 E. Grand Ave. is filled with vignettes of dining, living and bedrooms to give shoppers ideas of "how to set a table or pair accessories," said Dru Ortega, West Elm spokesman.
The store was designed to reflect Midwest aesthetics. A large prairie-style wood sculpture sits on the wall of windows behind the main cash registers, and a corrugated metal sign with West Elm's logo is attached to barn wood collected from Midwest farms, Ortega said.
The company landed on Des Moines, and specifically the East Village, because of its "awesome energy and a nice mix of culture and commerce" and a growing residential community, Ortega said. "This is a good time to be part of the growth here."
The addition of a major national retailer may change the complexion of the burgeoning East Village, which until now has mostly been home to local retailers and restaurants. But city officials and some East Village owners said attracting national companies is a sign of an evolving and successful area.
West Elm features seven Iowa artists, six from the Des Moines area and one from Ames, who are selling their goods at the store.
Fair trade goods are scattered throughout the store as well as collections of organic and sustainably sourced items. By the year 2020, the company plans to have 40 percent of its offerings qualifying as fair trade items, Ortega said.
The shop offers free design services with a charge for installation. There also are classes on holiday decorating, wine pairings and creating terrariums.
West Elm is on the first floor of a new five-story building that includes 7,000 square feet of additional commercial space on the ground floor and 98 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments on upper floors.
There is a 535-space parking ramp west of the $60 million retail and residential project.
The parking ramp, which is open to the public, will be free for the next month, Ortega said.
The site will house two more commercial buildings on opposite sides of the parking garage. Those buildings will have a total of 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail with 60,000 square feet of office or residential space above.
West Elm, which operates 98 stores in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, will be open in the East Village from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Call the store at 515-282-2020, visit westelm.com or find it on Facebook.
Local artists at West Elm
The East Village location is selling the work of seven Iowa artists:
- Iowa Parklands, a parks and trails print seller
- Kelsey Lampe, a Des Moines artist
- Libby Burns, a Des Moines illustrator and designer
- Over + print Co., a Des Moines company that sells soy candles
- Siberian Soap Co., an Ames-based soap company
- Red Door Press, a letterpress and print shop in Des Moines
- Woody Scrap Works, a West Des Moines woodworker
Take a tour of Iowa's first West Elm store in Des Moines' East Village with Dru Ortega, West Elm spokesman.