WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) -- A Cedar Valley-based apparel and local made gifts company is spreading a little 'Iowa Love' to downtown Waterloo.
The 'Iowa Love' brand known for its flagship T-shirt with the cursive optical illusion "Iowa" and "love" on it has moved its fulfillment/operations center to downtown Waterloo. The company, founded by William Heathershaw, originally operated out of his grandmother's house, housed hundreds of shirts, while shipping out thousands of packages within the first 7 months of operating.
In November 2019, Heathershaw opened a holiday pop-up store on Main Street in Cedar Falls, before moving down the street after the holidays. Now 'Iowa Love' is expanding even further, opening their new operations center at 212 E. 4th Street.
"It just so happens that two of my great-grandfathers were business owners in Downtown Waterloo - actually, both a block from here in either direction - so not only did I want us to be a part of Downtown Waterloo’s resurgence, but also there is an element of sentimentality here for me," Heathershaw said.
To date, “Iowa love” has donated more than $100,000 to Iowa nonprofits, including Cedar Valley organizations like the Allen Foundation, Black Hawk-Grundy Mental Health Center, Hospitality House, House of Hope, Northeast Iowa Food Bank, P.E.T.P.A.L.S., and Rodney’s Kitchen for Kids.
"When the weather is warmer, it’s not uncommon to be anywhere in the state and find someone wearing “Iowa love”. So, it’s fun to think that they chose to have their headquarters downtown with us. And, I see this as a great opportunity for us to grow together,” Main Street Waterloo Director Jessica Rucker said.
In the last year, 'Iowa Love' has also partnered with the Carson King Foundation on two separate occasions, raising money to support mental health for children and adults during the pandemic, and providing funds to the United Way following the August derecho.
The E. 4th Street location won't offer a retail experience. The location will focus on the company's online and wholesale businesses. For a list of retailers across the state offering 'Iowa love' apparel & gifts, click here.