University of Iowa

Lost Nation Downtown Revitalization Study

Academic Year 
2016-2017

Students in the Entrepreneurial Management Institute: Business Consulting class conducted research and made recommendations on best competitive practices to attract entrepreneurs and small entrepreneurial businesses to locate in downtown Lost Nation. Like many small rural communities, Lost Nation (pop. 446) faces challenges in the attraction and retention of businesses to their downtown district. Shifting demographics and technological advancements negatively impacted commercial activity in the business district, leaving behind many empty and underutilized buildings and storefronts. Consumers shop online or drive to commercial hubs in larger neighboring communities, making it nearly impossible for Lost Nation to sustain establishments like grocery stores and retail shops. Community leaders and property owners sought to revitalize the downtown of Lost Nation by developing and implement strategies that helped make the district more appealing to new businesses. Students engaged local stakeholders, identified key factors affecting decision making on location among entrepreneurs, analyzed best practices by similar communities nationwide, and conducted an analysis focusing on setting Lost Nation apart from competing communities.