Grand openings and reopenings abound 

INTIMATE: The new Sophia's.
  • INTIMATE: The new Sophia's.
The folks at U-Haul must have dropped something in the water supply, with all the stores moving to new digs this week. Vesta’s, the clothing/gifts/home decor/etc. boutique, is hopscotching across Bowman Curve to a bigger location in the blue-awninged Colonade Shopping Center. It’ll be right next to Take a Hike, with big display windows facing out towards however many kajillion cars Mario Andretti their way around the curve every day. The extra space in the new location will make room for several new clothing lines. Doors will open on Tuesday, July 5. Watch this column for details on a housewarming party later this summer. Little Rocks, Beads and Gems might as well be getting married for all the changes it’s taking on this week. The store had to leave its location behind the Argenta Drug Store in downtown North Little Rock because of extensive renovations on the building. It’s reopening Tuesday, July 5, three blocks up and across the street at 703 Main. It’s also ditching the LRBG moniker, and will henceforth be called Argenta Bead Company. I wasn’t familiar with The Ginger Tree, a home decor and gift store, until I got a postcard recently announcing it had moved from Kiehl Avenue to the Vali-Hi shopping center on JFK in North Little Rock. Everything’s 20 percent to 70 percent off through Friday, July 1. So, Shoe Me’s move from Rodney Parham to the former Judy C. Martin space in the Heights should be a fait accompli any day now. n It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Marshall’s, the discount clothing store, was as nice as it got in the Village at Pleasant Valley. (Well, OK, it actually has been awhile.) Now it’s home to two of the hippest boutiques in town, Scarlet and Beyond Cotton, and a new neighbor, Sophia’s Intimate Boutique, opened its doors a couple of weeks ago. It’s a tiny little place, but somehow manages to pack in an impressive array of merchandise, from the demurest housecoat to downright risque “open crotch” body stockings. There’s plenty in between, too, including higher-end wedding lingerie, wedding favors and delicious-smelling bath and body products. There’s also another new tenant in the Village: Firefly, a paint-your-own pottery studio. What I want to know is, after I paint my own, do they have someone who can paint over it, so I won’t actually be ashamed to use it? One more newbie to tell you about: Gander Mountain, an outdoor-superstore chain based somewhere up north where they talk funny and it snows in July, opened its doors last weekend in the former Wal-Mart at 5450 Landers Road in Sherwood. They carry everything from camo duct tape to inexpensive, unfussy, Lands-Endish men’s and women’s clothes. It’s heavy on hunting gear, but there seems to be plenty for the camping/hiking set as well. Coupla more things: • It’s First ’Day time next week. The Heights and Hillcrest have late shopping hours (until 8 p.m.) on Thursday, July 7, (Chameleon Art Glass will have 10 percent off storewide except for consignment), and the shops and galleries in Argenta stay open until 9 p.m. on Friday, July 8. If you can’t make it Friday, come between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 10, for the Main Street Outdoor Market, featuring artisans at work, street performers, kids’ activities, and, of course, stuff for sale. • Summer sales abound. I was going to list the ones I knew about, but it’s just easier to say that wherever you like to shop, chances are they’ve got at least some current-season clothes marked down. It’s too hot to be clever. shoppingchick@arktimes.com

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