One of the most historic and widely recognized storefronts in the Village of East Davenport is back in business.
The original Isabel Bloom store on Mound Street between 11th and 12th streets is to open Saturday as a gift and home-decor shop. It is an expansion of Just Because in Muscatine, where it has operated for 14 years.
Owner Bev Thumann credits divine intervention with her decision to sign a lease and invest big in the Village.
"I'm a Christian woman, and this is how it went down: I lost my husband last year, and I went to the cemetery after church. It was Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 5)," she said Thursday as she unpacked the last bit of merchandise before her grand opening. "Afterwards, instead of turning right to go home, I turned left, and I ended up here.
"I saw the (For Rent) sign, and I called John (Wisor, owner). God was driving my bus."
She also credits Wisor with what she said she feels certain has been a good business decision.
"He's worked tremendously hard, and I'm so appreciative," Thumann said of Wisor's building-wide renovation of the property that for decades housed Bloom's concrete sculpture business.
In addition to updating the entire first floor and expanding its usable floor space to the rear of the property, Wisor added two upstairs apartments. The store space gave Thumann room to separate her offerings by category, including garden, baby and kitchen merchandise.
"People down here have been so sweet," she said of her new Village neighbors. "I got a free sandwich from the (Village Corner) deli and a free ice cream from across the street."
About that ice cream
Just across Mound Street from Just Because is another new Village offering, called Here's The Scoop Ice Cream Shop. It occupies the former home of Hair-itage Hair Salon.
Owner Chevelle Sampson makes all of the ice cream on-site, according to an employee.
Open about three weeks, the ice cream shop uses some ingredients from another Village neighbor, Baked Beer & Bread Co. For instance, the dough for the chocolate-chip cookie dough ice cream is made at Baked, and some of its beer goes into another ice cream, called Raspberry Lambic Sorbet.
"I live up the road, and I'm so excited this is here," Kristen Poling said as she studied the selection in the ice cream cooler. "I love that we have this to come to."