Ames shopping brings diverse experience

Will Fowler

Whether you’re after the right pair of shoes for a dinner party or a pawned Winchester ‘94, the Ames shopping scene has you covered.

There are three primary regions in which Ames citizens do their shopping: South Duff, where mattresses and auto parts abound; Main Street, a strip of chic boutiques and antiques, and North Grand Mall, which is essentially just a mall.

South Duff — also known as Highway 69 — is a colony of superstores such as Walmart, K-Mart, Target and Best Buy. Between these stores are various car washes, strangely specific outlets and chain restaurants.

Main Street can be considered the counterpart to South Duff. Everything is very homegrown and artistic, whether it be a cleverly named pottery studio — Kil’n Time — or a well hidden, dimly lit bookstore full of obscure treasures like Firehouse Books, though it has now moved to a new location on Lincoln Way.

Main Street is where the farmers market sets up and is also the location of natural food stores, a karate studio, antique malls, banks, bars — ranging from dives to charming pubs — churches and hair salons. Anything bought from these places will likely smell of scented candles and be free of preservatives.

The North Grand Mall is a typical mall. It has vendors of food, clothing and shoes. It formerly had a “Dollar Theater,” but as the name indicates it wasn’t a profitable operation and closed. Some of the stores include J.C. Penney, Younkers and American Eagle. Within the past few years, Kohl’s, GAP Factory Outlet, Shoe Carnival and TJ Maxx have been added.

Ames’ shopping is as diverse as its people. If somebody needs something, really anything, he or she can probably find it somewhere in Ames.