CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A shop at the entrance of Czech Village has relocated to a new site.
After more than 6 years at 98 16th Ave. SW, The Create/Exchange is reopening at 615 Center Point Rd. NE.
The unique craft supply upcycle and exchange store has filled a niche for crafters and creators with its wide array of buttons, fabric, yarn and more.
Some of those items were still being organized Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, as owner Jennifer Stewart, friends and volunteers helped ready the store for its grand reopening, set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 9.
“It’s a work in progress, but we need to open,” Stewart said on the eve of the reopening. “We miss everyone and are excited to show our new space.”
Volunteers helped move more than 32 loads from the former store in Czech Village, which served as the second site for The Create/Exchange in Cedar Rapids, with the first a small spot in the Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood.
Stewart is gaining space at her new site, which has 5,200 square feet, compared to 3,100 square feet in the Czech Village store, but there are trade-offs.
“I’ll miss the Village. I’ll miss the camaraderie with other merchants,” she said. “But most of my buddies are already gone.”
Stewart enjoyed meeting tourists and dignitaries from around the world, who stopped by while visiting the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library at the other end of Czech Village.
The Czech Village site, which she had been leasing, will become Sweet Mercantile, a soda fountain and candy store.
Stewart started The Create/Exchange with a vision of Floyd’s Barber Shop from “The Andy Griffith Show,” which served as a community gathering spot.
“We wanted it to be social and for people to interact,” she said. “That’s the fun part of this.”
In addition to typical sales, customers can donate items to “upcycle” at the store or be given store credit. A Maker’s Mall, filled with locally made, handcrafted gifts, in which the creators rent space and keep all of their sales, will be part of the new shop, but may take up to two weeks after the reopening to start.
Stewart cited her grandfather as “a huge inspiration” in starting The Create/Exchange.
“He saved everything,” she said. “A lot of his stuff is what we started with.”
A corkboard is filled with pins and other personal items, including some from her grandfather.
Stewart pointed to the hardwood floors, pressed tin ceilings and other elements of the historic Czech Village site that made it unique, which she also will miss.
Still, some items will provide continuity at the new location, including an antique table that Stewart called the “heartbeat of the store,” used for sorting items, card making and other group activities. “We’ve had some fun times here.”
Hours at the new store will be the same as previously: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.
Related: See final photos of a Czech Village meat market and more images from the old and new sites of The Create/Exchange, below: