Nov 18, 2021 - Business

Mourning Des Moines' 4th Street business losses

4th Street

Des Moines' 4th St., seen from Walnut St. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

There's always been an eclectic spark to downtown Des Moines' 4th St., nestled between Walnut St. and Court Ave.

But the pandemic came hard for the area known for its vibrant nightlife and unique entertainment options.

Driving the news: On Tuesday, Java Joe's announced its closing up shop, adding to the loss of the neighboring Vaudeville Mews from last year.

  • It’s moving to Ankeny at North Ankeny Boulevard near Hy-Vee.

What they're saying: "2020, it was really slow," said Jamie Bailey, who manages Dapper DSM, a barbershop on 4th Street. "Hardly anybody was out in the street walking around."

  • Things were "sketchy" last year, Bailey said, especially when the nearby office workers stopped coming by over lunch.

Between the lines: Beyond the pandemic, some residents questioned on social media if the business loss was self-inflicted by the city, as they dealt with delayed construction from the neighboring 5th Avenue parking garage.

A tweet criticizing Des Moines' new parking garage
Screenshot: @CallananAdam's Twitter feed

The bottom line: "If something does come, I hope it's something cool so people can still enjoy it," Bailey said.

  • "And hopefully, it's not like a law office or something."

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