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Park Hill shopping

Far from the madding crowd.

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NEW GOODIES: At Old Kitchen Store.
  • NEW GOODIES: At Old Kitchen Store.
Now that the leftovers have been eaten and shopping’s Black Friday is behind us, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the things this shopper is thankful for: Park Hill As a downtown North Little Rock resident, I’ve wasted plenty of time fighting the McCain Mall area traffic. So it’s always a pleasure to just zip up JFK and visit the small shops in this historic neighborhood. While you’re waiting for Williams-Sonoma (supposedly destined for mid-town Little Rock), you can find the cooking things you need to the Old Kitchen Store (3828 John F. Kennedy Blvd., 753-1384). You might run into a professional chef or two there, looking for handy gadgets like a Microplane grater or a mezzaluna, an Italian double-bladed half-moon-shaped knife with two handles used for mincing and chopping fresh herbs. What owner Shirley Brown doesn’t stock, she’ll be more than happy to special order: my husband just placed an order for a mandolin slicer, which is not for cutting up musical instruments but is a fixed-blade device for slicing potatoes or vegetables. In the same shopping center is Name Brand Clothing (4020 John F. Kennedy Blvd., 791-2944), a store that offers deep discounts on customer-returned clothes from department stores like Hecht’s and Lord and Taylor. It’s a shopping find for bargain hunters who have the patience to separate the wheat from the chaff. No time to make holiday treats? Traditional homemade fudge can be found on the other side of JFK at Wicks and Wax (3513 John F. Kennedy Blvd., 771-1568). Nearby are a comic book store, several bridal shops and a used-book store. Free knitting lessons at the Yarn Mart My mother used to knit sweaters for me that I never wore, mainly because she used the stiffest acrylic yarn on the planet. So it’s with a deep sense of envy and yearning that I browsed the Yarn Mart (5717 Kavanaugh, 666-6505) and its racks of wool, chenille and other fine yarns. There are also pattern books for hip sweaters and cute baby duds that I’d love to make, but alas, I haven’t mastered knitting a scarf yet. Fortunately, Yarn Mart owner Kay Kilbury and the other ladies that work there offer free knitting lessons to all comers who purchase yarn. One of these days, I’ll take them up on it. Revitalized retail Announcements that Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Parisian may be coming to town are an indication that dozens more new retailers could in the next couple of years. It appears that that high-end stores now feel the Greater Little Rock area has the population density and average income to be a successful market. While it’s not as momentous as the Clinton Presidential Center opening, it is one more sign that we’re coming into our own as a city.

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