KNWA vacancy clears way for new retail space on the Fayetteville square

Three local businesses plan to set up shop inside the soon-to-be-vacant TV news studios on the Fayetteville downtown square.

Staff photo

With the announcement that local TV news stations KNWA and KFTA were moving from the Fayetteville square to Dickson Street, a lot of prime downtown real estate was suddenly up for grabs.

Soon, nearly all 10,000 square feet the TV stations leave behind will be filled with retail.

Established natural parenting store Terra Tots plans to relocate to the square from their Mill District location, and will split the street-level space with a new men’s store called The Independent Denim & Essentials. Also, local boutique Riffraff plans to expand into the 3,000-square-foot basement area as part of a new online sales venture.

Riffraff will likely move into the new space first. “We won’t have to do a buildout in the basement, so we should be able to move in sometime in late December,” said store owner Kirsten Blowers.

Blowers said she’ll use the space for offices, as well as extra storage for merchandise for a new website set to launch on Monday at

Construction of the two retail stores will begin just after the first of the year. Once the new stores are open, nearly the entire Block Avenue side of the square will be lined with retail storefronts.

“That’s one of the things that were attractive to us,” said Terra Tots owner Rebekah Champagne. “We feel like the square has come to life as a really cool, walkable, retail district. We’re also very excited to be a part of things like the Farmers’ Market, and the (Block Street) Block Party.”

Champagne said that the move will allow her to add a more diverse range of products to her store.

“We’ll be able to carry more clothes and more toys, because there’s more foot traffic down there,” she said. “We’ll also have plenty of room for our free classes like our local chapter of La Leche League, our post-partum depression support group, and our prenatal yoga classes.”

The Independent Denim & Essentials is affiliated with similar upscale men’s stores in Little Rock and Rogers, but the Fayetteville location will aim for a different demographic.

“We’ll have a younger look,” said managing partner Judson Lee. “It’s a college town, so we definitely want to have things for the college guy, and for guys just out of school.”

The store, he said, will focus on denim, button up shirts, polos, and t-shirts, as well as some suits and sportswear.

Lee also said he’s eager to be a part of the retail resurgence on the square lately.

“Obviously, we’re excited to be next to Riffraff, we think guys will come over while the girls shop there. We know The Mustache has been a success,” he said.

If all goes according to plan, both Terra Tots and The Independent should open sometime in early Spring 2013.