Poweshiek Trading Post to close in Grinnell, owners look to new careers outside Iowa

From left: Cameron and Ren Fischer, owners of Poweshiek Trading Post at 829 Main St. plan to close their vintage shop to customers March 1.
From left: Cameron and Ren Fischer, owners of Poweshiek Trading Post at 829 Main St. plan to close their vintage shop to customers March 1.
Meilynn Smith

Grinnell’s Poweshiek Trading Post, a vendor of vintage clothing and antiques, will close its doors to the public March 1, 2024. After over two-and-a-half years in business, owners Cameron Fisher, 28, and Ren Fisher, 24, said that though they are pleased with the work they have done, both are eager to pursue different careers outside of Iowa. 

 “We were a part of Grinnell, and in this community we wanted to do something to provide within that, but we knew this wasn’t our landing point forever,” Cameron Fisher said. “Now is just sort of the time where we want to get out and go to other places.” 

Opened in 2021, the Poweshiek Trading Post specializes in 20th-century vintage clothing, antiques and home goods. The business has also hosted events throughout its history, more recently including weekly pop-up shops with local coffee roasters. Both Cameron and Ren Fisher opened the shop after six and two years, respectively, in the vintage commerce space. 

Ren Fischer pulls an outfit together. (Meilynn Smith)

Despite the historic, detailed interior, Poweshiek Trading Post has not always occupied its storefront at 829 Main St. In November 2022, construction around the store’s door and surrounding walls concealed much of the storefront and left customers unable to enter the Trading Post, except from the back entrance. From November to March 2023, Cameron and Ren Fisher decided to temporarily relocate to a space at 821 Commercial St.

“That led to a lot of people not knowing we were still around,” Cameron Fisher said. “It did have a big impact on business for sure.” 

Ren Fisher said these challenges took away from the enjoyment of their work, but that surviving as a small business in a town the size of Grinnell has always been hard. 

“We had some circumstances that came up that we didn’t expect, like being moved, that turned this thing we love into a job to survive,” she said, adding that turning their passion for vintage wear into full-time income was really risky. 

“We gave our all, and I’m ready for the next thing,” she said. 

Ren Fisher, who grew up in Grinnell, said after Poweshiek Trading Post’s closure she’s interested in pursuing cosmetology but also has dreams of eventually working as a personal stylist. 

While she’s researched the possibility of attending a cosmetology school, such as the PCI Academy in Ames or the Aveda Institute, she said she’s still exploring different possibilities for what career path she will move into long-term. 

“There’s so many different things that interest me,” she said. “Dream world, I would say, is fashion.” 

Cameron Fisher, originally from Des Moines, said he is interested in becoming a tattoo artist and pursuing the American traditional style of tattoo art after the store’s closure. The style originated in the 1910s but later rose to prominence in the 1940s, and often features thick lines, bright colors and iconic imagery including eagles, roses and sailors. 

The entire store is at least 20% off, and Poweshiek Trading Post is accepting counter-offers to merchandise prices. (Meilynn Smith)

“I want to learn under someone where that’s what they’ve done,” he said. “They’ve painted before they tattooed, they teach you how to paint, how to hone that in. Having a mentor in that style is really helpful because the whole thing with that style is stripping everything down to, like, four colors, solid outlines.”

All Poweshiek Trading Post merchandise is discounted by at least 20% off the original price, with some items discounted by up to 75%. Ren Fisher added that the Trading Post is also willing to accept counter-offers from customers for a lower purchase price on some items. 

“I personally would love to see anyone that has come hang out before to come through and see us again,” Cameron Fisher said. “I’d love to see anyone that’s been a part of this.” 

The Poweshiek Trading Post is open Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 12:10 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8 to reflect the correct spelling of Cameron and Ren Fisher’s names.

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