Culture Club: Let’s Go Shopping

“Times are hard…times are hard…” That’s a line from one of my favorite songs from Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd.” The truth is, times are hard. With the money draining out of check books faster and faster, this would seem like an odd time for me to encourage you to get out there and go shopping. However, now more than ever, our local businesses need your support.

Whether it be supporting local restaurants like Little Bread or Hjem, or supporting local retailers like V.S. Mobley’s or Grey Dog, our businesses need us to walk through their doors and help out the local economy.

Despite the current hardships plaguing people, three new businesses have opened within the last few weeks that deserve some attention. Therefore, I thought I would take a few moments to suggest some places to spend a few bucks in support. Each of these businesses are exciting additions to the Fayetteville area (in no particular order).

Mustache Goods and Wears

15 S. Block Avenue, Fayetteville

I (and just about every friend of mine) have spent about three years drooling over Brian Bailey at the Visitor’s Bureau. Besides him being adorable, he’s a sweetheart with a big heart and has a great eye for style. It seemed like a natural fit that Brian and his lovely wife would open a wonderful new store in Fayetteville.

In the space previously occupied by Corazon, Mustache Goods and Wears showcases a great variety of novelties, and hard to find (in the area) clothing and shoes. Brian has decided to target the young and hip market that might enjoy national brands like Urban Outfitters or Anthropology since Fayetteville hasn’t been blessed with either of these retailers.

The Mustache has a great supply of novelty products and games, but it’s the premium brands it carries which are really outstanding. From PF Flyer shoes to American Apparel shirts, Mustache is nicely filling a big hole in Fayetteville.

Some of my favorite items include the previously mentioned Flyers and the new line of locally made Lauren Embree men’s jewelry. I purchased one of the great Embree/Matt Miller spiral necklaces at Mustache, and started getting two or three compliments a day on it.

Briar Rose Bakery

28 E. Main Street, Farmington

Years ago (10 EEEK), I worked at Walt Disney World in Epcot Center. One thing that always amazes me about Disney is their attention to detail and theming. Each trash can, each table, each wall is painted to match whatever area of the park they exist in. Entire crews of staff work around the clock to make sure that every area of the park(s) presents the perfect vision of whatever idealized fantasy they are to represent.

I have never seen such a level of attention paid outside of Disney. Furthermore, I am not sure that I would want to. It can be a bit overwhelming.

However, a new bakery has opened in Northwest Arkansas that comes pretty damn close. I can just imagine what it would be like to be a child walking through the doors of Briar Rose. From their rounded doors to their cream colored walls, each inch of Briar Rose takes you to an English Cottage or castle that you would have never thought possible in NWA.

The fact that Briar Rose is in Farmington (on the Fayetteville side)…is shocking. It is almost like stepping into another world, each time you walk through the doors of this tiny castle that sits on the side of Martin Luther King Blvd.

Décor aside, Briar Rose has a gorgeous display of pastries, bagels, cakes, sandwiches, and gourmet treats. They will offer stiff competition to the likes of Rick’s with their beautiful products.

It’s the little differences that separate Briar Rose from the pack. Whipped cream cheese (to make it easier to spread), English tea mugs, and proper French names for pastries are a welcome addition to the are.

Perhaps their greatest invention is the coffee buffet line. That’s right, a coffee buffet. After you select your variety of premium coffee, you walk past tubs of fresh-made infused whipped creams. REAL WHIPPED CREAMS infused with cinnamon, hazelnuts, chocolate, or whatever other flavors there are. It’s a genius idea that, frankly, I had never heard of. I would recommend that you take it easy on the cream for your waistline, but this is a fantastic Sunday brunch spot.

Little Bread still rules the local bakery scene, but Briar Rose is a different experience altogether, and truly rivals anything Rick’s or Harps has to offer. (As a bonus, try to get a seat next to the cake decorating window, to see true professionals at work on their mini masterpieces).

Vintage Foundations

121 W. South Street, Fayetteville

I am a huge fan of Precious Cargo resale in South Fayetteville. In fact, I am a big fan of flea markets and resale stores in general. They can be very hit or miss, though. Lately, it seems like they miss a lot more than they hit. Precious Cargo, however, rarely disappoints with its great selection of furniture.

Whereas Precious Cargo highlights great furniture and wears from all decades, Vintage Foundations has decided to stick to mostly the sixties and seventies. It is a paradise of “Mad Men” era furniture and Danish modern delights. Shop keeper Jay Ward opened the store on the corner of Archibald Yell about two months ago and it instantly became the finest resale shop in the area (including Tulsa and Fort Smith). Ward has a meticulous eye and has done the editing work for you which means there’s no picking through “the crap” like you typically have to do at resale stores. He has presented simply the best in funky, modern, and timeless pieces.

Much like Cargo, Foundations is also extremely reasonable. Many of the pieces are less than $30 and have been meticulously cared for or repaired. It is truly a wonderful surprise in Fayetteville. I would advocate that anyone looking for a special piece for their home or apartment, visit (and visit often, as inventory changes quickly).

Wayne Bell is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. He moved to Fayetteville in 2003 for his Master’s Degree and you can almost always catch him at Little Bread Co. or Hammontree’s. For more of Wayne’s contributions, visit his author page.