By Rachel Parker Dickerson
Kristen Woodard and Rose Cottage recently joined Conway's thriving downtown. The store features seasonal items, home dÃ©cor, gifts, and a bridal registry.
After many years at 813 Oak St. in the shopping center at Oak and Harkrider Streets, Woodard reopened the business at Oak and Chestnut Streets on Oct. 5. She has owned the shop six years of its 20-year history.
"I just wanted to be downtown," Woodard said. "I wanted to be near other stores. I feel like this is its own little community. You can walk to grab something to eat within a minute or two. At night, I've noticed there's traffic coming to all these restaurants. You see people coming to eat lunch. You see people coming to Bob's Grill to eat breakfast. It reminded me of downtown Conway when I grew up. Everyone who has come in had a story about buying shoes at Monday Powell Shoes."
Monday Powell Shoes operated in the storefront where Rose Cottage is now located during the 1960s and 1970s, Woodard said.
She said Kim Williams, director of the Conway Downtown Partnership, was instrumental in her move to downtown.
"Kim Williams is wonderful about recruiting people to downtown," she said, noting that Williams helped her look at properties and helped her paint and move in.
"I think that's something that wouldn't be common in other towns," Woodard said.
The store, which has housed a number of different businesses over the years, required a bit of remodeling, Woodard explained.
"It was definitely a labor of love for my family. I had wonderful family and friends who helped me get in here," she said.
Woodard said of her merchandise, "I'm trying to do more one-of-a-kind things you can't get at the big box stores. I like to carry unique things, and in smaller numbers."
For example, she said, she has Millers Mud Mill pottery and Blenko glass, as well as locally made iron cross wreath holders.
For the holidays, Woodard has decorated six Christmas trees in different themes in an effort to appeal to many different tastes - classic, whimsical, trendy, or 'girly' - she said. The store boasts a variety of Christmas decorations, serving items, platters, and small outdoor decorations. Near the front door, a table is set with a range of Christmas-themed dishes, embroidered napkins, and other serving items. She also has Nativity scenes, teacher gifts, and stocking stuffers, she said.
All year round Rose Cottage has baby gifts and bridal registry. Woodard said she loves dishes and is always happy to advise new brides on their selections. Wedding season is her "fifth season," she noted.
It would seem customers have had no trouble finding Rose Cottage's new location, and Woodard is thrilled to be in downtown Conway.
"I just liked the history and the community," she said. "I like the small town feel that you get when you shop downtown. And the stories. Everyone in Conway has a story. I like that we've made it our own, too. It looks different than it ever has."