A- A+

Where to Buy Local for Back-to-School Items in DSM

Back-to-School Guide

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is continuing to look local first when it comes to buying from Greater Des Moines (DSM) shops, restaurants and more. By supporting small businesses, the money you spend in the region will stay within the community. Check out the #DSMlocal buying guide for back-to-school items in the region, with featured items listed below to make the start of this schoolyear a breeze!

Books + Other Shops

Copy + Paste DSM

Featured Item: Magnetic Poetry Kits
Description: Before the first day, grab a magnetic poetry kit for your locker, or look through the book selection, pencils and stationery.

Pageturners Bookstore

Featured Item: Books
Description: Indianola’s own independent bookstore is a great place to grab some reading material.

Raccoon River Press

Featured Item: Books
Description: This independent bookstore showcases curated collections each week on their website.

Storyhouse Bookpub

Featured Item: Books
Description: Get a jumpstart on your reading for this schoolyear by visiting Storyhouse Bookpub in the Historic East Village. Check the website for upcoming events or to order books for pickup.

Walls of Books Ankeny

Featured Item: Books
Description: Stop in at Walls of Books in Ankeny for a great selection of books. Their Trade & Sell program also offers customers a wide selection of used books as well, and they pay cash for used college textbooks.

Clothing Shops

Lil' Miss Chic Children’s Boutique

Featured Item: Girls Boutique Clothing
Description: LIl' Miss Chic Children's Boutique offers 2T through 16 Junior sizes, including maxi skirts, dresses and more.

Many Hands Thrift Market

Featured Item: Second-Hand Goods
Description: Find second-hand goods for the whole family. At Many Hands, 100% of the proceeds support local and global missions.

Mr. B Clothing

Featured Item: Denim + Dress Shirts
Description: If you're a teacher, or student about to embark on an internship, check out Mr. B's for high-quality, button-downs and other business casual clothing items. 

Purple Poppy Boutique

Featured Item: Denim
Description: Find jeans, shorts and jackets among other items like team apparel and hats at Purple Poppy Boutique in Ankeny.

Footwear Stores

Fitness Sports

Featured Item: Running Shoes
Description: With footwear from brands like Asics, Mizuno, Brooks, Nike and more, Fitness Sports can match the best shoe to each person based on biomechanical needs. The store carries more than 100 different models of running shoes!

Fleet Feet Des Moines

Featured Item Running and Walking Shoes
Description: Take part in the specialized fit process at Fleet Feet to find the perfect fit.

Shoe Sensation

Featured Item: Fashion Shoes and Backpacks
Description: Find fashion shoes for boys and girls, as well as backpacks all in one spot.


Merle Hay Mall

Featured Item: Back-to-School Items
Description: With more than 70 stores and restaurants, Merle Hay Mall, located on 3800 Merle Hay Road, has much to offer when it comes to back-to-school shopping.

Jordan Creek Town Center

Featured Item: Back-to-School Items
Description: Shop for back-to-school items from favorite retailers like The Children’s Place, Old Navy and Dillards.

Valley West Mall

Featured Item: Children’s Clothing and Shoes
Description: Find children’s fashions at stores like Von Maur and Where the Child Things Are or shoes from Fit to Be Tied Kids Stride Rite or Champs Sports.

Shopping Districts

Historic East Village

Featured Item: Back-to-School Fashion
Description: The Historic East Village is home to locally owned shops like Raygun, where you can check out local shirt selections for children. Students and teachers alike will enjoy the books, stationery and more from the likes of Storyhouse Bookpub and Ephemera Stationery Studio, too! 

Outlets of Des Moines

Featured Item: Clothing and Shoes
Description: Shop stores like American Eagle, Asics, Carter’s, Converse, Express, Francesca’s, Journey’s and more at Outlets of Des Moines in Altoona.

Uptown Ankeny

Featured Item: Coffee, Clothes, Haircuts + Treats
Description: Stop by Porch Light Coffee House to grab your favorite cup o' Joe to-go before taking the little(s) to get a haircut at CJ Hair prior to the first day of school. Don't forget to stop in at Paisley Pineapple Children's Boutique for clothing options and Uptown Confections & Curiosities for a sweet treat, too!

Find more retail spaces in DSM here.

The original #DSMlocal Buying Guide offers gift ideas for a variety of recipients from bookworms to pet lovers and more. Throughout the year, The Partnership will continue to add even more buying guides to encourage buying local, curated with DSM shops, restaurants and service providers in mind for shoppers like you!

If you’re a business owner and Member of The Partnership interested in being featured in one of the buying guides, sign up here.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 400 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.