Appletree Gifts and Home Decor is open at Mountebanq Place in downtown Conway (on Oak Street near Michelangelo’s). Debbie Nichols is the owner of the store, which opened Feb. 12, and her daughter, Melissa, is the manager. I visited on one of our recent dreary days, and it gave my spirits quite a lift.

Melissa said one of the best compliments they received from a customer was that the shop is "like Pinterest in a boutique." After looking around for a few minutes, I completely understood why. Anyone who has ever marveled over how hours of her life can simply disappear while she looks at a few handbags or necklaces or scarves on Pinterest will be at home in this store. It is wonderfully girly, and I mean that in the best possible way. I didn’t want to leave.

They have jewelry that does not look like it came out of a giant bag (although we all need some of that), and yet the price tag does not cause cardiac arrest. They have floral-scented soap wrapped with a bow on top, just because sometimes you want pretty soap. If you are more practical-minded, you can look at a line of cosmetics called The Balm or Circle E candles from Fredericksburg, Texas. Or if you need a gift (for someone besides yourself), you’ll find kitchen accessories, baby items and Willow Tree figurines.

Opening soon

I’m happy to announce the wait is over for Cast Iron Skillet, the "second Hole in the Wall," if you will. It opens Monday on Harkrider Street near Walmart. We are going to have to stop referring to it this way, but one last time, so that everyone can find it. It is in the building where Backyard Burgers used to be. Now, everyone go see them and tell your friends so all will know where to find it.

Speaking of being able to find things, here’s a friendly reminder. The Conway Dunkin’ Donuts-Baskin Robbins combo store that could open any minute is on Oak Street in the building where Hardee’s used to be (another expression we’ll have to give up soon). I drove by recently and saw employees inside and an "opening soon" sign on the door. I’ll be amazed if they’re not open by this time next week.


The annual Downtown Spring Open House will be March 10. It is early this year because Easter, and therefore spring, comes early. That’s good news.

(Rachel Parker Dickerson is a freelance columnist/journalist. Send your questions and comments to