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CROWN SHOP: Everything from Crocs to wine bottle stoppers.
  • CROWN SHOP: Everything from Crocs to wine bottle stoppers.

Usually, I can scrape together some kind of event or theme to hang this column on ¾ thanks, Hallmark, for all those holidays you made up for us ¾ but some weeks, I just got nothin'.

This is one of those weeks, so I just pointed my car in the direction of the Indian grocery in the Market Place Shopping Center, where I was going to look for something I'd never heard of before, and wound up at the Crown Shop (10700 N. Rodney Parham).

This is one of those stores I'm always surprised I don't go to more often. And each time I do stop by, it seems like it's gotten bigger ¾ I expect cards and stationery, but then spend half an hour wandering through the candle room and the Christmas room and the housewares room and oh yeah, the baby gifts. There is probably not a gift need you couldn't fill at this store ¾ there's just a lot packed in there.

So in lieu of any coherent hook this week, I'm just going to ramble about what caught my eye.

• The 60 percent off aisle. OK, so not much actually on the aisle caught my eye, but it's an entire aisle with stuff marked more than half off, so odds are most people would find something interesting. A few pairs of Crocs, desk clocks, flags.

• Speaking of Crocs, there are a lot more that aren't on the 60 percent off aisle, and a good number of them are $10 off: flip-flops and sandals, not the ubiquitous clog model. True to form, now that Crocs sales are tapering off nationwide, I finally bought a pair.

• A line of leather goods by Baekgaard. Brightly colored and well-designed credit card cases, tiny leather notebooks, something called a “cell phone wristlet,” most under $30. I liked the credit card case in particular ¾ it's the perfect size for a couple of cards and a little cash, and it'll slip into your jeans pocket without making you look like you need to have something removed.

• The best find: A rack of classic Little Golden Books, just like the ones my mom used to buy us on our bi-weekly trips to Kroger back in the day ¾ and at $3 each, probably close to the same price. There are some newer titles ¾ “Nemo” and one with a Barbie, I think ¾ but most of them are the classic titles I read, like “The Tawny Scrawny Lion” and “The Pokey Little Puppy.” One I don't remember but is clearly an older title: “Doctor Dan the Bandage Man,” and its companion volume, “Nurse Nancy.” I'll go back for those once my son loses his taste for confetti.

• Also on the baby beat: The largest selection of baby books (the journal/scrapbook kind, not the read-to-them kind) I've seen in Little Rock, and, for the get-a-life crowd, a stroller ($80) and backpack diaper bag ($50) sporting the Razorback logo. 

• In the housewares room, I really liked a display of fused-glass platters and the selection of art-glass wine bottle stoppers, which, at $12 each, are cheaper than I've seen elsewhere locally.

And one other tidbit: I dropped by Pickles and Ice Cream, in the Market Place Shopping Center, while I was in the neighborhood. They've got 60 percent off all spring clothes (pretty picked over by now), and signs in the window advertised a Maclaren sale and closeout pricing on a 2007 model Peg Perego high chair.

New e-mail for tips and such:

arktimesshopping@gmail.com

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