There’s been a lot of new activity downtown and more is on the way. Over the past few months, we’ve had several new businesses open their doors and, so far, we’ve only lost one long timer.
Jenny Lynn’s Fabrics, an interior design store with a full second story devoted to fabrics, is currently having a closing sale over on Louisiana Street, on the east side of the square.
Right next door, Fair & Square has opened up selling fair trade imports at very reasonable prices. This is definitely a must-stop spot for the upcoming shopping season and for anyone looking for a unique home decor find. Fair Trade goods are imported from impoverished areas of the world with the understanding the artisans who produced them are getting their fair share of the proceeds. The quality is there so this is really a win-win for everyone involved. They have a lot of decor items, some clothing, and lots of neat little whimsical items. My favorite find here was a serving platter in five separate pieces that fit together inside a tray. It looked like white porcelain with a delicate blue design and, at under $30, would be almost guaranteed to garner a compliment or two at any party you carried it to.
Over on Tennessee Street, across from Laura Moore Fine Art Studio and in the space recently vacated by Shelby-Marilee & Company (when they moved a couple of blocks to Louisiana Street), we’ve got two new additions – designTEN1 Interiors and Just Piddlin’.
I stopped in and chatted with the owner and designer at designTEN1, Jennifer Ackerman, and she’s going to make a great addition to the square. After studying Interior Design in college, she worked for Sutherland before deciding to pursue her passions and go out on her own. Having already established her business contracting as a designer, she opened designTEN1 as a retail extension. She specializes in a style she calls “Modassic”, which merges traditional (“classic”) items with modern design. This lets her clients hold on to the pieces or styles that they have loved over time but still have a modern feel.
designTEN1 is a good stop even if you aren’t necessarily looking for a complete redo. I couldn’t resist a picture of the reindeer bottle toppers (above) and the ceramic deer head mount (below). The ability to exchange out the flora in the deer mount makes this incredibly versatile. designTEN1 is open Tuesdays through Sundays and is closed on Mondays.
Next door, Just Piddlin’, is a Junker’s dream boutique. In addition to unique home decor items and the occasional antique find, they carry a line of stylish clothes and tee shirts with cute references to “Junking”. If you find yourself out of the loop, “junking” is the new buzzword for finding treasures in items that have either been discarded and artisticly recycled or in crafts that have been made to look slightly distressed. Sort of a cross between “antiquing” and “thrifting”, “junking” has an enormous following and is very popular on the square. Many junkers are also creative, artistic types. These tees – with phrases like “Peace, Love, and Junk”, “The road goes on forever but the junking never ends”, and “Going Junkin'” – are the perfect gift for your junking fanatic.
The hours on their door – “Open when we’re here and Closed when we’re not” – suggest that it might be hit or miss to catch them in but we’ve been watching and their hours seem to be consistent with the rest of the shops on the square.
A quick (and very pretty) walk from the square, please welcome McKinney Bed & Breakfast over on Parker Street. I can’t take credit for the photos below. (I lifted them from her web site). It’s actually a running joke that it’s been difficult to get a picture of the front of the house that truly captures its charm. I have not given up, but I’ve run out of time and sunlight to try to get one myself.
Open now for right around five months, McKinney Bed & Breakfast has already received a warm welcome from McKinney brides and traveling B&B’ers. Owners Vicki and Wayne Hill are warm and friendly and invited my husband and I over a few weeks ago to see the house. Built in the 1880’s and added on to in the 1950’s, it’s evident after a quick tour that the house seems to have been designed for entertaining guests. Between the California King beds and the elaborate “soul food” type breakfasts described by Mrs. Hill, I expect we’ll be seeing some rave reviews as more guests pass through.
But there is something beyond beautifully appointed bedrooms and good old-fashioned Southern hospitality to recommend McKinney Bed & Breakfast. It is as if the upstairs specifically had brides in mind when it was designed. With vaulted ceilings and lots of natural light, McKinney Bed & Breakfast has one room that is just perfect for the “donning of the gown” on the bride’s happy day. The room, pictured below, is stunning and the play of light through the windows and on the soft blue walls will make this room a photographer’s best friend. (I know the walls look green in the picture below. You’ll have to trust me on this one.) An enormous private bathroom opens off of the room and the room itself can be accessed from the back yard by a spiral staircase that would, just by itself, present some wonderful bridal vignettes. Across the hall is a large bedroom that easily sleeps 7 to 8 guests, perfect for bridal or birthday sleepovers. Barring some catastrophic event, I think that we’ll be hearing a lot about this B&B in the future and the conversion from “newcomer” to “community pillar” will be swift.
Meanwhile, work continues on the Boyd-Veigel building on Louisiana Street. The McKinney Convention and Visitor’s Bureau will be moving into this space after it is finished and I have heard rumors that there will also be a new Cajun restaurant in the space.
As I passed by the former site of Aparicio’s Saturday morning, I spoke to someone working in the alley. He said that the space is being readied for another new restaurant, the Side Street Cafe. It is my understanding that the owner already has a successful restaurant in West McKinney, possibly Frisco (I’ve forgotten the name or I’d look up the web site). Update: Thanks to a reader, the other restaurant is Cheesecake Amor.
Watch Diggin’ It’s blog and/or the McKinney Courier Gazette for an amazing story about how a local McKinney woman was recently reunited with her birth family after being spotted by a “Search Angel” who read about her jewelry-making class in Diggin’ It’s newsletter. Word is that she is still so shell-shocked (in a good way) that she still hasn’t sat down for an interview yet.
To close an already incredibly long post, here are a couple more events going on downtown this month that I missed on my previous post:
October 13th – Diggin’ It will have a “Little Pumpkin Photography Event”. It will be lending its “groovy” vibe and background for children’s photos amongst haystacks, pumpkins, and the Diggin’ It garden. Register on-line for the packet and time slot of your choice at wholeheartphoto.com .
- According to a flyer available in the Spoons Garage, the 19th will be the “Spoons Spook Show”, billed as a “fright full friendly family night” featuring Main Street Magic, monster meatloaf, ghostly goodies, and to-die-for desserts. The scheduled time is 6PM and tickets are supposed to be available online at spoonscafe.com/spooky. (That link isn’t working for me right now, but maybe it just hasn’t been published yet).
- October 20th at 10PM will be a Spirit Show featuring Main Street Magic also in Spoons Garage and serving Spoons appetizers and desserts. Tickets for this show will also be available online, but at a different web address : spoonscafe.com/spiritshow.
Until next time,