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Waterloo’s newest business is empowering local brands inside Crossroads Mall | Local News

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Waterloo's newest business is empowering local brands inside Crossroads Mall | Local News

WATERLOO — A hot spot for Cedar Valley entrepreneurs and artists looking to move out of their homes and into a new venue to sell their specialty products is now open.

Nia Wilder is a 2011 East High School Graduate and soon to be Waterloo City Councilor. She has been an entrepreneur all her life. Spark Lot, her latest venture, was founded by her at Crossroads Center.

The business, which has been in development for over a year, will hold Friday’s ribbon cutting ceremony with Grow Cedar Valley and a grand opening. fashion showA DJ will be playing Saturday night, with snacks and drinks available from 5 to 6:30 p.m., giving people the chance to meet the people behind the businesses in her store.

“Spark Lot gives me an opportunity to help revitalize the mall, and to bring more traffic to these businesses,”She said. “I want to become a destination or central hub for local products and help small businesses become larger staple businesses.”

She hopes that her shop will be as successful as her other shops. mallThe whole community can play a role for economic and community development.

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“I’m hoping the mall becomes a place where families want to be,”She added. “When I was brought here as a kid, you couldn’t get me to leave.”

Hours of operation are from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 pm on Sunday.



Nia Wilder opened Spark Lot in Crossroads Mall in Waterloo. 


Andy Milone


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The business’ mission is empowering local artists and entrepreneurs by giving them a physical space to display their products, but also it gives small business owners “a chance to get away from being by yourself and to join a community,”She said.

Creators can get their products behind the store’s window by paying an upfront fee, or through a revenue sharing arrangement with Spark Lot. If interested, email [email protected], or reach out through messenger on its Facebook page.



Spark Lot

Many products can be found inside the Spark Lot. 



Some vendors are listed below “resellers” already involved are Light Gear, Saucy Creations, Too Kustom, Simone’s Boutique, Jressed Like Mommy, Bossy Bonnets, Thunder Shop, Jacquet’s Boutique, ITMRTM, Sunkissed, Sistas Create, Fifth Generation, Melanated Glow Skin, Reigning Charm, Longevity, Bodied By Ty, Dream Designs, Beat The Streetz, Les Wild Customs, 4’D Acrylic Creations, Main Street Waterloo, Experience Waterloo, and Spells and Stones.

The range includes everything you need, including skin care products, artwork and natural hygiene products.


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Wilder is the founder ShinDigg, which offers film, photography and mentorship services at 526 West Mullan Ave. and also owns Light Gear, a clothing empowerment business. Her latest project can be found in a 1,500-square-foot space at the corner of the mall’s lower floor near At Home and Milroy’s Tuxedos.

“The other mall tenants are excited to see a business coming to the mall, rather than seeing another one leave,”She said.


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She says that shelves and racks will continue to be added over time. “plenty of space for everybody,”Whatever unique product or brand you are looking to show.

“I’m open to all ideas,”She said. “I can’t say ‘no’ until you bring it on over.”

A website thesparklot.comSoon,, will be up and running. “eventually”You can shop online. Wilder hopes to eventually open another store downtown.

Wilder has employed two high school students as weekend managers to help her run the store and prepare them for their careers after graduation. Although she no longer hires employees, Wilder hopes to hire some interns.

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