Bad news, good sale 

The Design Center readies to close its doors.

CLOSING: The Design Center.
  • CLOSING: The Design Center.

I’ve written before about the sometimes vulturish aspects of shopping, and this week I’ve got a prime opportunity to return to the subject.

After 35 years in business, the Design Center in the Heights is closing permanently Sept. 16. (Owner Laine Rosen put the store up for sale a few months ago, but nothing worked out.) This is really too bad, because there is truly no other store like it in Little Rock. I couldn’t always afford to buy, but it was one of my favorite places to blow a half-hour just looking.

The upside, of course, is the going-out-of-business sale. It started July 13 with everything at least 20 percent off, and some items marked up to 80 percent off. There’s also some kind of contest where you earn points for buying things, bringing friends in, etc., with prizes that include a computer and other electronics. The rules are too complex to explain here, but they’ll happily fill you in as you walk through the door.

I love this store because it combines high style and whimsy, has an eclectic and wide-ranging inventory. There is truly something for everyone at the Design Center, from toys to clogs to wind chimes to dinnerware to jewelry to gag gifts to desk accessories, and on and on. What it all shares in common is an aspiration to be more than merely functional.

Anyway, enough crying into my keyboard. Don’t miss this sale.

On a happier note, Soho Modern has officially reopened in the warehouse row at 2200 Cantrell Road, joining the growing number of retail businesses there. The new space is a vast improvement over the furniture store’s former, very cramped space a few miles west. It’s easily four times as large, with soaring high ceilings and an industrial feel that really complements Soho’s sleek, funky furniture. There’s a lot more inventory as well, of course, including several great platform beds and a red-and-white egg chair. Hours at the new location are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Also at the warehouse row: Mertinsdykehome is having a cash-and-carry warehouse sale today (Thursday, July 20) through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Everything is at least 30 percent off Thursday, 40 percent off Friday and 50 percent off Saturday. Bring your own delivery vehicle.

And a belated “welcome to the neighborhood” goes out to Tyler and Tyler Booksellers, which moved May 1 from the Vali Hi II shopping center on JFK Boulevard near McCain to larger quarters in Park Hill proper, at JFK and G Street — just behind Paul’s Restaurant, and dangerously close to my house. It’s still a fairly small store, but the inventory is very well edited (including a good children’s section), and they’ll happily order anything they don’t have in stock. Plus, every time I’ve been in there owner Mike Tyler is behind the counter, and he’s always ready to talk books.



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