Midtowne line-up plumbed 

Looking forward to fall.

MID-TOWNE: Look for J. Jill here.
  • MID-TOWNE: Look for J. Jill here.

It’s the first official day of summer here in Arkansas, which means we’re all now officially permitted to start dreaming of November, when we’ll finally be able to turn the air-conditioning off.

But there’s another reason to look forward to fall this year: The planned opening of two new shopping centers in Little Rock. One, the Pleasant Ridge Towne Center on Highway 10, promises a new department store, Parisian, which I’ve shopped at enough to know it’ll give Dillard’s an honest, literal run for its money.

As for the other — Midtowne Little Rock, now very visible at the northeast corner of Markham and University — rumors have abounded for over a year about what will fill its storefronts. The Dallas-based developers didn’t call me back, but based on plumbing permits filed with the city, here’s some of we can expect:

• J. Jill. I’ve known this company for years through its catalogs. Stylish but not trendy women’s clothes, made from natural fabrics, designed to drape rather than hug. Lots of linen and cotton. My kind of place. Want a preview? Www.jjill.com.

• Harold’s. I wasn’t familiar with this chain, but it too has a website, www.harolds.com. Men’s and women’s clothing, mid-range prices ($30-ish for women’s knit shirts, $70-$100 for pants and skirts — not cheap, but you can certainly find more expensive stores in this city), classic, grown-up designs. I’d say the women’s line is similar to Talbot’s, only with a boo-hiss for not carrying petite sizes.

• The Children’s Place. Budget-minded parents will like this store, which carries newborn through size 14, including school uniforms. My cursory look around its web site (www.childrensplace.com) turned up only one or two prices above $20.

• Pottery Barn. Need I really say more?

• Williams-Sonoma. The foodie’s paradise. Expensive, beautiful kitchen gadgets and linens, small appliances, dishes and flatware, bakeware, pots and pans, sweets and cheeses, etc.

• Jos. A. Banks. Classic men’s clothier that already has one Little Rock location, on Chenal Parkway. It’s got a good reputation as the place to get a decent suit without having to blow an entire paycheck.

• Bombay Company. This furniture/home decor store is defecting from Park Plaza.

• Wild Oats. OK, there wasn’t a plumbing permit filed for this one, but it’s been confirmed here and there, so I’m including it anyway. The organic grocery chain is bucking the westward tide and moving from its longtime home at Rodney Parham and I-430 to Midtown. Suits us just fine.

And in other news:

• Park Plaza’s renovation proceeds apace. Updated tile floors, redesigned store floorplans, the kind of general facelift you might not have realized it needed until you see the results. And there’s a new store on the top level: Vanity, a chain geared toward teen/young adult women. Lots of denim, tanks and halters.

• Check out the “Super Summer Sale” at Ten Thousand Villages in the River Market district, June 29-July 9. They’ve put markdowns of 25 percent to 75 percent on one-of-a-kinds, overstocks, and “nicely repaired” merchandise. I picked up a great lamp for next to nothing the last time they ran this sale, and all it needed was a lampshade.

Clap on, clap off.





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