A lifetime fascination of antiques and vintage treasures has landed Angela Sortor right where she belongs, in her sunny new shop in the heart of Little Rock’s historic SoMa neighborhood.
The Punch Bowl, named for Sortor’s love of vintage partyware and entertaining pieces, is only a piece in the puzzle of her lifelong evolution. With a formal education in historic building preservation, French and a master’s degree in political science, Sortor knows everything has a story. Now, she uses that knowledge and her curator’s eye to grow her small business and help others find special pieces they will love forever.
Sortor has been hunting, collecting and curating for much of her life, but has dealt in antiques professionally for six years. It started in one booth at Midtown Vintage Market and has grown into the passion project that is now The Punch Bowl.
When searching for a storefront to house her collection, Sortor was set on SoMa.
“I love how supportive everyone is of each other,” she says of the area. “It’s a perfect environment for me where a win for one person is a win for everyone. I feel that in my heart. I just wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Just as each antique has a history, so do the very walls in which The Punch Bowl is housed. The back corner of the building at 1501 S. Main St. was a veritable dungeon before renovations. There were no windows, the ceilings were low and an old bank vault sat in the center between the shop and Boswell Mourot Fine Art next door.
It took 11 months to renovate the building, but the final product far exceeded her expectations. Sortor painted it all white and added windows, a new door, a landing and steps. The impressive wood beams and bank vault remain, but those now add to the character and charm of the space.
Upon entering, it feels as though you’ve walked through the looking glass into a perfectly decorated home in the French countryside. Before you begin your search through the high-end French furnishings, chandeliers, printed silks, Persian rugs, copper pots, books and whatever else you can dream of, you step down onto a sunken floor that invites you into a warm, open space with calming music.
To the right is a wall of shelves with treasures patiently waiting for someone to rediscover them. Larger furniture takes up the middle of the space, though without feeling cumbersome or cluttered. And of course, there’s plenty of vintage decor and one-of-a-kind items to be found in every nook and cranny.
Many pieces are imported from France, specifically Lyon and surrounding areas. Sortor’s mother resides in France and plays a large role in the business by helping organize logistics and forge valuable relationships with nearby sellers.
“I find things and she figures out how to get them here,” Sortor says.
But not all her pieces are from across the pond. Sortor sources her finds from central Arkansas to northern Michigan, Dallas, Birmingham and anywhere in between. Together, she and her mother have curated a selection of goods that emphasizes quality over quantity, the trademark of any antique shop worth its salt.
The Punch Bowl officially opened in February 2023 and is already ever changing. There’s just one constant: Sortor only buys what she loves.