Exceptional customer service:
That’s what the businesses listed on the following pages provide every day, and it’s what earned them the distinction of being Little Rock Soirée Platinum Service award winners.
Last October, thousands of readers voted for the local businesses that provide the best service in 67 categories. Here, we announce the winners and other notable runners-up. Some categories were simply too close to call, so we listed multiple companies.
Again this year, we’ve noted neighborhood gems and local survivors that you’ll definitely want to read more about. To view the complete list, click here to find the digital edition of our January 2014 issue.
Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up, and thank you for serving Little Rock so well!
• RIVERDALE - About Vase
If you think About Vase only specializes in flowers, think again. Originally opened in 2000, Richard Estelita purchased the floral boutique, revamped it and re-opened it in 2012. The shop now offers distinctive floral design and event coordination, as well as 2,400 square feet of retail space that showcases plants and orchids, and new, vintage and antique home accessories and gifts. Offerings range from sculptures by George Sellers to lamps, artwork, bar accessories and even artisan salad dressings. It’s a one-stop-shop, for sure.
• MIDTOWN - Big Orange
We can’t tell you how delighted we were when this burger, fries and shakes joint moseyed its way over to Midtown, a short drive away from Soirée HQ. We’ve never been disappointed by the restaurant’s service, or food. Our favorites include the currant pecan chicken salad, the Petit Jean bacon & avocado burger and the truffle-garlic-herb fries. Don’t miss the rotating menu of drinks, which we hope always includes the New York sour — seriously one of the best libations we’ve ever had.
• DOWNTOWN - Paper, Scissors, Little Rock
We are just smitten with gift shop Paper, Scissors, Little Rock. Located on River Market Avenue, this new shop showcases tons of handmade items and also hosts fun, creative events and classes. Here you’ll find jewelry, apparel, accessories, soaps and bath products and a variety of home décor made by Arkansans and other Southerners. If you’re looking to shop local and handmade, Paper, Scissors, has got you covered.
• THE HEIGHTS - Boulevard Bread Co.
Although Boulevard now has four locations, its flagship location in The Heights remains our favorite. Not only can you purchase a loaf of one of seven delicious breads baked daily, but you can also buy artisan cheese and charcuterie and get a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee and a scratch-made pastry. At lunchtime, take a seat in the intimate dining room with a view of the kitchen and enjoy the daily offerings, which include fresh salads, sandwiches and the most delicious cookies. You must try the sour cherry oatmeal!
• HILLCREST - E.Leigh’s
A mix of on-trend and classic apparel, beautiful baubles, great bags and more ... what’s not to love? Whether we’re looking for an outfit for a cocktail party, a business meeting, a wedding or even for game day, E.Leigh’s delivers every time. Plus, owner Erin Hohnbaum (an Arkansas Business 20 in their 20s alum and Soirée Woman to Watch) is always helpful and sweet.
• WEST LITTLE ROCK - Barefoot Studio
A little yoga in our lives keeps us balanced and centered, especially after the always-hectic holiday season. And now that Breezy Osborne-Wingfield’s Barefoot Studio has another location in west Little Rock, we’re all set. The expansive new location hosts a variety of classes we love, including beginner yoga, hot yoga for runners, sunrise yoga, sunset/candlelit yoga, mommy & me yoga and more. (See more about Barefoot Studio in this issue!)
Classic Little Rock businesses that have thrived for decades
(listed in order of youngest to oldest)
Women’s Clothing / Home Accessories
Melissa Tanner opened Vesta’s in 1998 to offer an upscale clientele luxurious bed linens and unique accessories for the home, along with exceptional service. Some 15 years later, Tanner is still the “goddess of bedding,” and has expanded the store’s unique offerings to include an array of high-end clothing and accessories, including artisan jewelry pieces and the wildly popular Old Gringo Boots.
Catering to You
The staff of Catering to You in The Heights believes that “good taste is more than a flavor of the month; it’s a way of life.” We couldn’t agree more with the catering company, which has been dishing up doses of “good taste” for more than 22 years. The staff is down-to-earth and easy to work with, and the food is always delicious and fresh. If you’ve ever been the recipient of Catering to You’s chicken tetrazzini with rolls, salad and pecan pie bars, you know it cures what ails you. The shop also has a take-away case that is perfect for nights when you just don’t want to cook.
Mr. Wicks – The Gentleman’s Shop
This men’s clothing store in The Heights has been outfitting stylish men in Little Rock since 1960. Family-owned, Mr. Wicks places a high priority on customer service, and their team makes it a point to know and understand the wardrobe needs of each and every customer. The men’s clothier also offers alterations, so you’ll always get the perfect fit.
Bakery / Pastry / Coffee
Established in Little Rock in 1947, Community Bakery has certainly stood the test of time. Whether you’re ordering a cake for a special occasion or popping in to get a dozen breakfast pastries, the service is always fast and friendly. And don’t even get us started on the baked goods. This local shop churns out delicious breads, pies, cakes, cookies and so much more on a daily basis. Don’t miss the Dutch apple pie or the simple, but delicious buttery croissants.
Tipton & Hurst
Tipton & Hurst has been serving Little Rock since 1886, when Howard Hurst’s grandfather established the local floral company. Today, you can order a simple bouquet for delivery online or over the phone, or drop in the location in The Heights to browse the showroom of gifts and home décor (just be sure you have a few hours to kill, as the selection is vast and impressive!)