Blush Boutique

We all have our go-to stores, the places where we know we’ll find something, even when we’re not even sure what we’re looking for.

 

Blush Boutique is one of these stores.

 

Whether I’m looking for a unique gift for someone, or seeking to update my wardrobe with the latest fashion trends, I always leave Blush Boutique with my mission accomplished.

 

blush center of store

Apparently I’m not the only fan of this affordable and hip destination; Blush has attained a solid 5-star rating on Facebook – an impressive feat, especially in the retail industry. This stellar rating reflects the quality of service provided by Julie and Bailey Bollin, the mother-daughter duo that opened their original store in March 2018, in Galena, Kansas.

 

blush bailey and julie

With their shared love of fashion, savvy buying skills, and strong social media presence, these women quickly attracted a strong following for the boutique.

 

blush general

In February 2019, the Bollin ladies relocated their store to downtown Joplin, joining these other locally owned women’s boutiques in offering the latest trends to area shoppers.

 

blush exterior

And if you can’t make it into Blush, you can still do some virtual shopping there. Just go to Blush’s Facebook or Instagram pages, find an item you can’t live without (which is easy to do), leave a comment with your size and contact info, and that item will be reserved for you.

 

blush wall display (1)

Blush carries a variety of brands, and the inventory is constantly changing, so it’s difficult to say which lines will be available at any given time. When I last visited, I saw clothes from brands like Umgee, She & Sky, and Hayden. Whether you’re looking for everyday wear like tees and jeans, or something for a special occasion, you’ll find it at Blush.

 

blush tees

blush jeans

There’s also a section of clothing for curvier figures, a nice find at a boutique.

 

blush curvy girl

No outfit is complete without accessories, and Blush carries an array of jewelry (including stackable Erimish bracelets), scarves, hats, and shoes to add the final touches to your look.

 

blush jewelry

blush shoes

In addition to clothing and accessories, you’ll also find a fun mix of lifestyle items, like home decor, bath products, candles, insulated Swig mugs, and collapsible Que mugs (great for traveling).

 

blush hutch

Oh, and Blush hasn’t forgotten about our four-legged friends, either. Even they need to accessorize.

 

So if you haven’t experienced Blush Boutique yet, head down to Main Street and check it out. I promise that you won’t leave this fashion destination empty-handed.

 

 

Blush Boutique is located at 420 South Main Street. Click here to visit its Facebook page, and click here to follow it on Instagram.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

 

*This post was updated on 3/28/19.

Women’s Boutiques in Joplin

Ladies, where was the last place you shopped for boutique clothes and accessories?

 

Was it in Kansas City? Northwest Arkansas? Tulsa?

 

Or was it right here in Joplin?

 

“What??” you may be thinking. “Joplin doesn’t have trendy boutiques like those you find in big cities!”

 

Well, actually we do.

 

In fact, we have several. 

 

Fun, fresh, and original, Joplin’s women’s boutiques offer fashionable merchandise for every budget.

 

So grab a friend and visit one of following trendsetting stores right here in town.

 

 The Boutiques

 

Be You-Nique Boutique526 South Main Street

Are you looking for something to reflect your individual personality? You’ll find something at this downtown boutique that’s uniquely you, from clothing and accessories to home decor.

 

be younique yellow dress

Favorite finds: Comfy Rubberband Stretch denim in a rainbow of colors, and a homemade vanilla-scented air freshener for my car from Typsy Gypsy Scents.

 

Blue Moon Boutique613 South Main Street

This “modern boutique with a vintage soul” carries trendy clothes, accessories, gifts and home decor. Even if you’re not in the mood to shop (but why wouldn’t you be?), at least take a stroll through the store to see the ever-changing whimsical displays featuring both new and cleverly repurposed items.

 

blue moon canopy

Favorite finds: Boho chic Urban Mango dresses and Good Work(s) Make a Difference leather wrap bracelets. 

 

Blush Boutique420 South Main Street

The racks and shelves at Blush Boutique are teeming with the freshest trends in clothing, accessories, and gifts. Owned by the mother-daughter duo of Julie and Bailey Bollin, Blush Boutique is an affordable and hip fashion destination.

blush tees

Favorite finds: Flowing tops by Umgee, and collapsible water bottles by Que.

 

Lennon’s Boutique, 2722 South Main Street, Suite B

If you’re looking for specialty brands like French Connection and Free People, as well as premium denim from brands like Citizens of Humanity, stop by Lennon’s Boutique. Owner Kirsten Anderson has worked in the northwest Arkansas retail market and is introducing popular and clothing and accessory lines from there to the Joplin market.

 

Favorite finds: Flirty Jeffrey Campbell booties and fun graphic tees from Chaser.

 

Pink Door Boutique1532 W. 32nd Street, First Floor

Would you ever think of going to a medical office building to buy some fashion accessories? Me, neither. But I stumbled across this store after a going to a doctor’s appointment in the building one day, and I’ve since returned to buy items for myself as well as gifts for friends.

 

Pink Door Boutique carries hard-to-find women’s health products, such as items for nursing or for post-mastectomy care (bras, wigs, hats, etc.). But beyond providing essential medical equipment, Pink Door Boutique strives to make its customers feel whole. This is why the store carries trendy shoes and accessories, as well as the Jane Iredale line of cosmetics.

 

boutiques pink hats

Favorite finds: Funky Shreds scarves and adorable shoes from Lindsay Phillips.

 

Sophie531 South Main Street

This “candy store for shoe addicts” has been sustaining my sweet tooth since its opening in 2007. In fact 80% of the footwear in my closet has been purchased here. With brands like Volatile, Naughty Monkey, and Chinese Laundry, Sophie offers the latest footwear fashions at affordable prices.

 

sophie shoes

But Sophie is more than just shoes. In fact, with a wide selection of handbags and accessories plus a boutique clothing section, the store offers everything you need to create an outfit from head to toe.

 

sophie clothing

Favorite finds: Black wedge pumps from Restricted (my favorite pair of shoes – so comfy!) and the roomy hobo handbags from SR Squared.

 

So, did you get some ideas from this list?

 

I know I did. Perhaps one too many…

 

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

 

*Updated 3/28/19

Unique Shops in Joplin

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I love stumbling across new places to see and things to do in the Joplin area.

 

And I get especially excited when I discover new local businesses.

 

Why?

 

First of all, local businesses usually provide a high level of customer service. The owners of these businesses are often visible and accessible, and make an effort to get to know their customers.

 

Second of all, these mom-and-pop shops often sell items that are made in the Joplin area. It’s mind-blowing to me to see the things produced by our neighbors and friends here in our community. This town has some pretty big talent!

 

Beautify Your Nest 

 

Sandstone Gardens2826 Douglas Fir Road

Drivers on I-44 get an unexpected surprise just west of Joplin when they spot the massive European-inspired estate that houses Sandstone Gardens.

 

The interior of this  impressive 50,000 square-foot building contains a wide selection of furniture, home decor, seasonal decor, candles, and boutique accessories, as well as the Bistro restaurant (the desserts there are amazing!).

 

unique sandstone

But the most unique items at Sandstone Gardens are the cast-stone home and garden pieces that are displayed throughout the showroom and the gardens outside.

 

People come from near and far to buy these timeless pieces. I’ve purchased several myself, including flower pots, a bird bath, a garden bench, and some floral arrangements set in cast-stone urns. 

 

Urban Art Gallery511 South Main Street

From photographs to ceramics to jewelry, this gallery features pieces made by local artists, making it a great place to look if you’re shopping for a unique gift.

 

first-thursday-linda-teeterLinda Teeter’s Photography

 

One of my favorite artists sells her work here at Urban Art Gallery. She’s Kristin Girard, the jewelry artist/scientist behind Kristin’s Laboratory

 

 

Attention, Ladies!

Forget driving to a big city to shop for the latest styles of clothing! In fact, Joplin has so many hip and original women’s boutiques that I had to make a post just for them, which you can read right here.

 

blue moon moon starIn addition to selling women’s clothing and accessories, Blue Moon Boutique also sells unique home decor and gift items. Now that’s one-stop shopping!

 

 

Fill Your Belly

 

Candy House Gourmet510 Kentucky Avenue

I fell in love with this place the very first time I visited Joplin, and I’ve been a devoted customer now for twenty years. This handcrafted chocolate is made at the Chocolate Factory downtown, and you can even tour the facility to watch the process in action.

 

Candy House Case

Try a sample of the sea salt caramels (my favorite), the English toffee, the fudge, or anything else – it’s all good. Candy House also sells a variety of sugar-free chocolates, as well as pre-packaged candy assortments that make great gifts.

 

 

Joplin Empire Market, 931 E. 4th Street

For a true slice of the Four State Area, visit the Joplin Empire Market. Open year-round on Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., this market features vendors from a 150-mile radius selling produce, meats, eggs, local products, crafts, and art.

 

joplin-empire-interior

 

Get Active

 

Runaround Running & Lifestyle Co., 422 Main Street

You don’t have to be a runner to benefit from a visit to this store. In fact, more than 50% of the store’s business comes from people who are on their feet all day. But all of these customers have one thing in common: they are seeking the perfect fit.

 

To find it, Runaround uses a computerized system which provides information (high arch, low arch, etc.) that allows the staff to find the optimal shoe for each customer.

 

unique runaround

With a wide selection of performance-related shoes, apparel, and gear, as well as its excellent customer service, it’s easy to see why Runaround earned a place in Competitor magazine’s “50 Best Running Stores in America 2013.” Ranked along with running stores located in big cities across the nation, that’s quite an honor for a Joplin business.

 

We’ve got some great local shops in this town, run by talented people who are passionate about what they do.

 

Take some time to visit these gems and see for yourself.

 

You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

Lennon’s Boutique

Citizens of Humanity, Cupcakes and Cashmere, and French Connection – these are some of the specialty brands that Kirsten Anderson became familiar with while working Masons, a popular boutique in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  When she realized that there weren’t any stores in Joplin carrying brands like these, she decided to make it her mission to bring them here by opening up her own shop.

 

Carla and Kirsten

 

With her buying experience and fashion savvy, along with the help of her parents Tony and Carla, Kirsten opened Lennon’s Boutique in August 2018, and began introducing the latest trends from premium clothing brands to shoppers on Joplin’s Main Street.

 

The shop’s interior is sleek and modern, punctuated with flirty touches, like fluffy flokati-covered benches in soft creams and pinks. But the first thing I noticed was the large portrait of Beatles’ singer John Lennon giving the peace sign.

 

It was at that very moment when I also realized that there was a John Lennon song emanating from the speakers.

 

Someone must be a huge fan.

 

That someone is Carla, Kirsten’s mom. She’d always liked John Lennon and even hoped Kirsten would choose his name for a baby someday. Kirsten did, in a way. She used it to name her retail baby, Lennon’s Boutique. (Smart move, Kirsten – you made your mom happy and now the pressure’s off!)

 

Walking through Lennon’s is like flipping through the pages of Vogue magazine (or scrolling through its Instagram equivalent), with high-fashion brands like Cupcakes and Cashmere (a line by fashion blogger Emily Schumer), the Bohemian brand Free People, French Connection, Lavender Brown, and others.

 

You’ll find chic dress and skirt options for a night out, as well as comfy tees for lounging around, like this one by Chaser.

 

Agolde and Citizens of Humanity are two of the premium denim lines sold at Lennon’s.

 

Lennon’s shoe nook boasts an impressive collection of footwear from Sam Edelman, Dolce Vita, Jeffrey Campbell, Chinese Laundry, and more.

 

No outfit is complete without accessories, and Lennon’s offers ABLE handbags and jewelry to help you add that final touch.

 

ABLE is a company whose mission it is to empower women in Ethiopia, Mexico, and Peru to learn skills, like making jewelry and leather goods, which enable them to earn money and end the cycle of poverty in their communities.

 

And no trip to Lennon’s is complete without saying hi to Bella, the shop dog.

 

She even has her portrait hanging on the wall, painted by Arkansas-based Soulsby Art (who also did the John Lennon painting).

 

Seeing Bella’s sweet face will bring a smile to yours – that’s a treasure you’ll find exclusively at Lennon’s.

 

Lennon’s Boutique is located at 2722 South Main Street, Suite B. Click here to visit its Facebook page.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

Be You-Nique Boutique

Unique clothing.

 

Unique accessories.

 

Unique home decor.

 

The unique items at this store cater to the savvy shopper who is searching for pieces which reflect one’s individuality.

 

This is Be You-Nique Boutique.

 

be younique storefront

Okay, now that I got the word unique out of my system, let me tell you more about the newest women’s store to plant its roots on Main Street. In 2018, Dawn Sasser opened the doors to this boutique, which is housed in the historic former First National Bank of Joplin building.

 

be younique interior

The twinkling row of chandeliers, wooden ceiling beams, and exposed brick walls add to the charm of its interior.

 

Located in the heart of downtown, Be You-Nique’s presence reflects the desire for locals to have access to big-city style in a smaller urban area.

 

be younique yellow dress

Whether you’re looking for a new sweater to pair with your favorite jeans, a chic dress for a night out, or a one-of-a-kind gift for someone, you’d be hard-pressed not to find something at Be You-Nique.

 

be younique sweater and stars

Let’s start with the clothing. Be You-Nique offers brands that reflect a variety of styles: Umgee and PPLA Clothing (contemporary); Vocal (modern with a vintage twist); Band of Gypsies (Bohemian); and Voice of California (Western), just to name a few.

 

Be You-Nique also carries a selection of the popular Rock Revival jeans, as well as many yummy colors of the fashionable – and uber comfortable – Rubberband Stretch denim jeans.

 

be younique stretch denim

If you’re looking to sass up a casual outfit, browse through the selection of graphic tees on the t-shirt wall to find one that sports a statement that suits your distinct (I didn’t say unique!) personality.

 

be younique tees

Check out the assortment of purses (like this skull purse from Montana West)…

 

be younique skull purse

…shoes…

 

be younique shoes

…and jewelry and find something to add pizzazz to your look, too.

 

be younique jewelry

In addition to wearables, Be You-Nique sells unordinary (yes, that’s a legitimate word) pieces of home decor…

 

be younique decor

…and luggage!

 

be younique luggage

Think of how easy these pieces would be to spot on a luggage carousel.

 

One of my favorite finds at Be You-Nique is the line of Typsy Gypsy Scents: high-end, homemade car fresheners and sprays.

 

be younique typsy gypsy display

I’m always looking for ways to reodorize (okay, I did make up that word) the air in my minivan, which is contaminated – I mean scented – by my active, sweaty kids.

 

be younique tpysy gypsy vanilla

Finding these yummy scents from Typsy Gypsy to freshen up the air in this small space is a godsend.

 

What extraordinary items will you discover? Head downtown to Be You-Nique Boutique and find out!

 

Be You-Nique is located at 526 South Main Street. Click here to visit its Facebook page.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

 

Joplin Empire Market

It’s Friday night, and I pull my minivan up to the ATM. I’m as fired up as a high schooler getting cash before heading out on a big date. I do have a date of sorts – with my daughter. The following morning we are going to Joplin Empire Market.

 

Yes, I’m fired up about a market. But this isn’t just a place to pick up a few produce items; Joplin Empire Market is a weekly event that showcases local products and local talent, and fosters a sense of connection in our community.

 

joplin empire interior

I know that I will see some vendors whose storefront businesses I’ve visited and written about before, and I’ll also discover new vendors, as they rotate each week at the market. I know I’ll also get to visit with the ever-present market coordinator Ivy Hagedorn, as well as Lori Haun, Executive Director of Downtown Joplin Alliance, an organization created to foster the revitalization in the heart of our city. Joplin Empire Market is the result of this organization’s latest effort to do just that – and it’s off to a great start in its debut season.

 

 

Where It’s At

When you see the oversized yellow rocking chair on 4th Street, you’ll know you’ve arrived.

 

joplin empire market chair1

Housed in a 1907 building that was donated to Downtown Joplin Alliance by Empire District Electric Company, this enclosed, year-round market features vendors from a 150-mile radius selling produce, meats, eggs, local products, crafts, and art. There’s a huge parking lot on the east side of the building, so you always know that you’ll find a spot nearby.

 

The market’s open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Can I just take a second here to say how much I love these hours? I can still sleep in and get my market fix.

 

joplin empire market outsideA market report is posted on Joplin Empire Market’s Facebook page each week listing the vendors that will be attending that Saturday, which I find  helpful for formulating a game plan before I hit the market. To follow the market’s Facebook page, click here. If you want an overview of the market experience, keep on reading.

 

 

Plants and Produce

When I see the variety of plants and produce offered at the market, I often think, “They grew that around here?” I tried growing a garden one year and it yielded just one cucumber and a handful of strawberries, so I have a great respect for those who cultivate gardens which produce bountifully, like Green’s Greenhouse & Garden, Our Little Piece of Heaven, OakWoods Farm, Joplin Greenhouse & Garden Center, and Robertson Family Farm (you can also visit this farm to pick your own blueberries during the season; click here to read more about it).

 

joplin empire oakwoodsjoplin empire joplin greenhouse

If you’re hankering for seasonal items like berries and tomatoes, make sure to arrive at the opening of the market, as they sell out quickly.

 

 

Meat, Eggs, and Baked Goods

If you’re a conscientious carnivore, you can buy eggs, pork, and grass-fed beef at Black Cat Barnyard, “a family farm that focuses on raising pastured animals that lead happy lives.” Fleetwood Farmette also sells eggs as well as baked goods, including cheesy bread and sweet bread.

 

On my first trip to the market, I arrived around 11 a.m. and Marty Yates, the Bearded Baker, was standing behind his empty booth, since all of his artisan bread loaves were already sold out. So the following week, I got to the market earlier and was able to snag one of his Nonie loaves, which we ate with dinner that night. Who am I kidding? After eating half of that dense and hearty loaf myself, that bread was my dinner that night!

 

joplin empire bearded

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, check out the artisan cookies at All Mixed Up Bakery. For people who enjoy sweets but have special dietary needs, stop by Sugar Creek Bakery, which offers sugar-free and gluten-free baked goods.

 

joplin empire all mixed up

This fishie from All Mixed up Bakery is too cute to eat!

 

 

Unique Area Products

Finding local items that I can gift to my out-of-town friends and family is one way that I like to introduce people to life in the Ozarks, and there are several vendors at Joplin Empire Market that help me out in this endeavor. On a recent trip to visit my parents in Chicago, I brought them a bottle of Savory Sauce (great for marinades and salads), and a shaker of salt from SmokeLicked Salts (hardwood-smoked Atlantic sea salt sold in a variety of flavors – I’m obsessed with the Adobo, which is now a staple in my kitchen).

 

joplin empire savory

The ladies behind Savory Sauce – literally and figuratively 😉

joplin empire salt

Other great local food products include honey from Robertson Family Farm (the blueberry people), and no-sugar-added fruit leathers from Fleetwood Farmette. My daughter loves to eat these and I’m feel good about giving them to her because they’re wholesome snacks.

 

joplin empire robertson

Local honey from Robertson Family Farm

joplin empire fleetwood

Fruit leathers from Fleetwood Farmette

Handmade local products make fun gifts, too. If there’s a man in your life with a beard, Artisan Beardworks can help him keep it neatly groomed with their selection of balm, oil, beard wash, and combs. They also sell boxed sets, which makes gift-giving easy.

 

joplin empire bearded product

 

Artisan Creations

There are vendors at Joplin Empire Market that create unique, non-consumable products, too. These artisans and craftspeople bring an added layer to the market’s offerings. Let’s start with Martha Goldman. In addition selling her art at the market, Martha is also the creative force behind the market’s mural, which was inspired by Joplin’s natural beauty: the bluffs near Shoal Creek, the wondrous (and now-closed) Crystal Cave, wild blackberries, coneflowers, purple-tailed skinks.

 

joplin empire mural

There’s also Stone House Merchant, selling jewelry made from crystals, beads, and rocks, like these stunning wire-wrapped stones featuring the tree of life.

 

joplin empire stone house

The Market Artisans is a group of five woman who rotate selling their goods (jewelry, textiles, pottery, etc.) at the market. One member of this group, Kristin Girard, is a jewelry artist whose work I’ve been a fan of for years, and you can read more about her here.

 

joplin empire market artisans

Fairy Gardens at The Market Artisans booth

 

You can bring home a piece of yesteryear from White Buffalo Sign Company, which creates high resolution scans of original vintage Joplin signs, then applies them to 24-gauge metal.

 

joplin empire white buffalo (1)

 

Market Dining

You don’t have to wait until you bring your edible goodies home from Joplin Empire Market before you indulge. The market features a different food truck each week. Past vendors include The Sweet Truck (gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches), Blondies Woodfired Wheelhouse (pizza), Cochinita Mexican Street Food (their Mexican corn is a must-try), and Take a Stand (featuring smoothies and fresh-pressed juices).

 

If you need a little lift to power through your Saturday, grab a cup of joe from the market’s coffee vendor (Bearded Lady Roasters and Cottage Small Coffee Roasters have been at the market).

 

 

Music and Special Events

The market is more than just a place to buy local produce and goods; it’s a place to connect with the community and to cultivate your own creativity. With live music playing in the background, it’s easy to find inspiration while crafting your own piece of art at special events like Markers at the Market.

 

joplin empire music

My daughter was thrilled when WellSpring Acres brought their sweet alpacas to the market for people to meet.

 

joplin empire wellspring alpaca

Not only was it fun to pet the alpacas, but when we went inside the to the farm’s booth, we found it interesting to see all of the products made from the alpacas’ wool.

 

joplin empire wellspring

Wool dryer balls make an environmentally friendly alternative to paper sheets.

 

The lively, dynamic atmosphere at Joplin Empire Market energizes me each time I go. I leave there not only with bags filled with locally produced items, but with a sense of connection to my community, a community that continues to grow and thrive.

 

 

Ways to Pay for Your Goodies

In addition to good, old-fashioned cash, the market accepts other forms of payment:

 

Debit tokens. If plastic is the only thing you’re carrying in your wallet, you can purchase with your credit card to use at any vendor booth at the market. Vendors can give you cash back, too, so you won’t be stuck with unused tokens.

 

joplin empire market tokens

SNAP/EBT. The market now accepts Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which allows those who qualify to have access to fresh, local fruits, vegetables, breads, meats, and dairy products – basically any food at the market that’s not intended for consumption on site.

 

joplin empire market double bucks

Plus, the Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program doubles the value of tokens that recipients spend on fruits and vegetables at the market.

 

 

Market info: The market is open year-round on Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is located at 931 E. 4th Street. Click here to find the weekly market reports on Facebook, and click here to visit the market’s website.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

 

Shopping in Downtown Joplin

I’m overwhelmed by the choices presented before me in seemingly endless rows: waffle cutout sandals with a sculpted heel, sassy fringed booties, dainty ballet slippers, plus sleek and sophisticated heels, all representing stylish footwear brands like Naughty Monkey, Chinese Laundry, Volatile, and Jessica Simpson.

 

sophie shoes

wish I were an octopus.

 

To my right, there’s a flurry of fringe and rivets, interspersed with bright patterns and sparkles from the selection of handbags made by hip companies like Big Buddha, Steve Madden, and Urban Expressions.

 

sophie handbags

 

My desire to possess multiple appendages continues. How else could I possibly wear all of the shoes and handbags I see here?

 

This is my typical experience each time I visit Sophie (531 South Main Street). Originally known as the “candy store for shoe addicts,” Sophie has added handbags, accessories, and even clothing to its offerings, including dresses, outerwear, and quality denim, making it a candy store for overall fashionistas.

 

sophie clothing

 

While Sophie offers big-city style, you won’t find big-city price tags here. At Sophie, fashion is affordable. Between reasonable everyday prices and hard-to-pass-up seasonal sales, this boutique has become my go-to place when I need to update my closet.

 

Expect to spend some time here, especially if you come with friends. Chances are, each of you will be trying on something at some point, making a visit to Sophie turn into a mini fashion show. This is exactly what happened when my friends and I recently spent the afternoon shopping downtown.

 

Were we exhausted after our trip to Sophie?

 

Yes!

 

Were we finished with our shopping trip?

 

Heck, no! We were just getting started.

 

We walked a block south on Main Street to Blue Moon Boutique (613 South Main Street), a “modern boutique with a vintage soul.” I actually consider this store more of a market, because in addition to apparel and accessories, there’s also furniture and home decor.

 

blue moon moon star

 

Blue Moon’s clothing section is located in the rear of the store, meaning that we had to first walk through the store’s home decor/gift section. Thanks to this brilliant store layout, I found something that reminded me of my mother and mentioned this to my friends.

 

blue moon pig

 

“How does this remind you of your mother?” asked my appalled friend Carrie.

 

“Because my mother collects pigs,” I explained, much to her relief.

 

And isn’t that pig painting cute? I’d found the perfect gift for my mom, and before our trip to Blue Moon, I’d never even known it existed!

 

blue moon jewelry

 

I got sidetracked a couple more times as I meandered my way back to the apparel section. First I looked at the jewelry from the international company Lokai (my daughter collects these beaded bracelets), and then the handcrafted, one-of-a-kind jewelry from local Dalissa Designs.

 

 

blue moon paint

 

Then I saw the rows of Junk Gypsy paints cleverly displayed on brightly-colored repurposed furniture (which is also for sale). I’m currently repainting anything that doesn’t move in my house, so knowing that Junk Gypsy paints are available at Blue Moon may be a bit dangerous for me.

 

blue moon canopy

 

We finally made it to the back of the store and browsed through clothing from brands like Black Swan and Z-Supply. We even tried on more shoes, which is hard to believe after our trip to Sophie. But Blue Moon carries Yellow Box flip flops and, come on, who doesn’t love a pretty, jazzed-up flip flop?

 

Our next stop was Urban Art Gallery (511 South Main Street), which features pieces made by local artists. If you are shopping for a unique gift, this is another great place to look. When I see something here that I like, I usually send a photo of it to my family so that they have an idea of what to get me when my birthday rolls around.

 

I’m helpful like that.

 

Despite my efforts, I still keep waiting to open the package that contains this cute “Fairy Dog Mother” by artist Kim Guthrie that I thought, for sure, my family would present to me on Mother’s Day:

 

first-thursday-kim-guthrie

 

Oh, well. My half-birthday is coming up.

 

Another artist that sells her work at Urban Art Gallery is Kristin Girard, the jewelry artist/scientist behind Kristin’s Laboratory, and one of my favorite local artisans.  Nearly every time I walk into the gallery, I’m wearing a piece that she has made.

 

kristins-lab-compass

One of my favorite works of hers is a necklace with this pendant, an antique compass that she found locally.

 

Urban Art Gallery changes its displays often, so there’s always something new, fresh, and local to be found here.

 

The next stop on our shopping trip was Newton’s Jewelers (428 South Main Street) where we had a fun time looking at and trying on glimmering vintage and estate jewelry pieces.

 

Since 1914, this family-owned and operated Joplin institution has been providing its customers with fine jewelry and watches. Don’t think you have to have three months of paychecks saved up before you visit Newton’s; we saw several affordable pieces, and Carrie came so very close to bringing home some vintage bling.

 

When we finished our shopping adventure, we stopped at downtown’s Spiva Park (Main and Fourth Streets) to take advantage of the warm, sunny day and to chat a while longer while we let our feet rest.

 

spiva park
This was a well-spent afternoon.

 

*While you’re downtown, check out Be You-Nique Boutique, Blush Boutique, and Runaround Running & Lifestyle Co., too!

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

 

*Updated 3/29/19

Route 66

Thousands of tourists travel historic Route 66 through Joplin each year.

 

Are you one of them?

 

I wasn’t.

 

Sure, over the years I’d utilized Route 66 at some point nearly every single day as I’d take my kids to activities and run errands, occasionally noticing the historic road’s signage when stopped at a red light (which, by the way, seemed to be posted on multiple roads and therefore perplexed me – more about that in a minute).

 

But I’d never really explored Joplin’s portion of the Mother Road through the unadulterated eyes of a tourist, who travels the highway in order to experience an important part of America’s history.

 

Me? I’d been using Route 66 as an efficient way to get across town to Target. I finally realized that it was time to rectify that, so I decided to travel Route 66 through Joplin like a tourist.

 

route-66-general-sign

Three Alignments

 

Remember how I mentioned that I saw Route 66 signage on multiple streets and how that confused me? I did some research and learned that Route 66 was realigned twice after the original construction of the road (click here for more about the history of Route 66 in Joplin).

 

Here’s a brief summary of the three alignments, coming from Webb City’s Broadway Street and heading west toward Joplin (you can see a map of this by clicking here):

 

1926: Broadway (Webb City) to Madison/North Range Line to Zora to Florida to Utica to Euclid to St. Louis to Broadway (Joplin) to Main to 7th. This is the portion of the Route that I only recently discovered, and it winds through the Royal Heights neighborhood to Broadway Street (which used to be Main Street when Joplin was known as Joplin City a loooooong time ago).

 

1937: Broadway (Webb City) to 171 to North Main Street to 7th.

 

1958: Broadway (Webb City) to Madison/North Range Line to 7th.

 

Attractions Along – and Slightly Off – the Route

 

There are some attractions located a block or two off the Route that I think are important to point out.

 

Joe Becker Stadium (1301 East 3rd Street)

Built in 1913, Joe Becker Stadium is two blocks south of Broadway Street (Route 66), and was once home to baseball great Mickey Mantle when he played for the Joplin Miners in 1950.

 

Bookhouse Cinema  (715 East Broadway Street)

Located on historic Route 66, this entertainment complex features Joplin’s only independent movie theater, as well as a kitchen and pub. Local brews and local foods are featured on the menu here, with items for vegans and carnivores, and everyone in between.

 

bookhouse theater seats

 

George A. Spiva Center for the Arts (222 W. Third Street)

With national and regional exhibits, art classes and workshops, and a gift shop with one-of-a-kind items, this center is abuzz with creativity and talent.

 Spiva-princess

And there’s a bonus: admission is free! Go see for yourself why Spiva Center for the Arts is the visual arts hub of the Four States.

 

Murphysburg Historic District (Sergeant Street, from 1st to 7th Streets; and Moffet Street, from 4th to 7th Streets) 

The founding fathers of the Joplin built their elegant homes just blocks from Main Street in an area known as Murphysburg. This historic residential district’s tree-lined streets are filled with many houses that represent Queen Anne and Colonial Revival architectural styles.

 

Tour Snapp

Park your car, stretch your legs, and take a stroll through this quaint neighborhood. Here’s a walking tour that you can follow.

 

Downtown Joplin (Main Street, A to 10th Streets)

Joplin boomed during the mining days of the late 1800s and early 1900s, and many of the brick buildings on Main Street were built during that time. Decades later, this area became part of Route 66, ushering in the energetic Mother Road culture.

 

Third Thursday sunset

Today, these buildings house a variety of restaurants, shops, art galleries, and businesses whose owners invite visitors to explore their historic piece of the city.

 

blue moon canopy

Once a month, from March through October, the community comes together in downtown Joplin on Third Thursday, celebrating in the streets with music, art, food, and fun.

 

third thursday 2016

 

Joplin City Hall (Newman Building, 602 South Main Street)

I think this is one of the prettiest buildings in Joplin, and I wonder what it must have been like to shop here over a century ago when it was a high-rise department store. Today, the building houses Joplin’s municipal offices, as well as its Convention and Visitors Bureau, which serves as a great resource for tourists (and residents) who are looking for things to do in the city and surrounding area.

 murals-gude

As a Mother Road traveler, be sure to stop in the lobby of the Newman Building to look at the incredible painting “Route 66, Joplin, Missouri” by world-renowned artist Thomas Hart Benton, which offers a snapshot of life in Joplin during the height of the Mother Road era.

 

Route 66 Mural Park (619 South Main Street)

Located across the street from City Hall, this park pays tribute to Joplin’s contribution to the Route 66 culture. With two murals plus an oversized 45 record imprint of “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66,” this park provides an ideal backdrop for photos of Route 66 sojourners.

 

route-66-joplin-mural-park

Other murals painted on buildings downtown capture bits and pieces of the history and character of our city. If you’re up for it, take a walking tour to get to know Joplin through its public art.

 

Candy House Gourmet (510 South Kentucky)

This confectionery beckons those with a sweet tooth with its original-recipe toffee, caramel pecan treats (turtles), brittle, fudge, pecan logs, and sea salt caramels to tempt the taste buds.

 

candy house interior

 

Arrange to take a tour of the factory to see how the candy is made, then stop at candy shop’s Route 66 gift section to take home a delicious souvenir from Joplin.

 

Restaurants on the Route

 

Soul food, gyros, pasta, veggie dogs, and doughnut burgers – did you know that you can try all of these on the Route in downtown Joplin?

 

You can! Maybe not all of them on one day, though…

 

If you have a hankering for some made-from-scratch food that comforts your soul, visit MEs Place (1203 Broadway), owned by former Joplin Mayor Melodee Kean.

 

MEs-sides

If you’re craving Greek food, stop at M & M Bistro (612 South Main Street), which serves fresh, flavorful Mediterranean delights, like gyros and hummus.

 

For some great local pizza (the Buffalo Chicken is my favorite), try JBs Downtown. (112 South Main Street).

 

If wings are your thing, definitely try some of Missouri’s best at Hackett Hot Wings (520 South Main Street), where you can choose from 13 signature flavors.

 

karma-donut

Both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike achieve sweet bliss after eating at Instant Karma (527 South Main). Here, you can order inventive dishes like the Bio Diesel (a veggie dog served with homemade bleu cheese coleslaw) or the Heavenly Donut (a hamburger served with a glazed doughnut as the bun). Round out your meal with one of the many craft beers on the menu.

 

Need some something sweet after your meal? Try a scoop of Bear Claw or Red Velvet Cake ice cream from Caroline’s(1027 South Main). Located three blocks off the Route in the historic Gryphon Building, this old-fashioned ice cream shop is worth the slight detour.

 

 

Last Stop Before Kansas!

Schifferdecker Park (7th and Schifferdecker)

Named after Joplin businessman and philanthropist Charles Schifferdecker, this park is the last stop on historic Route 66 before the Kansas state line. In addition to being a wonderful place to have a picnic or to let the kids run around on the playground, there are several other activities that you can do here that you just might not know about.

 

Schiff-golf-water

For instance, you can float on a lazy river at the Joplin Aquatic Center, play 18 holes of golf at Schifferdecker Golf Course, catch a performance at Joplin Little Theatre (the longest continuously running community theatre west of the Mississippi), and see a necklace found in Bonnie and Clyde’s Joplin hideout at the Joplin Museum Complex (where you’ll also learn that Schifferdecker Park was once called Electric Park and had a huge roller coaster in it!).

 JLT-interior

So, my Joplin friends, how many of these places have you been to? If you’ve visited them all, then I applaud you.

 

If not, here’s your challenge: For one day, be a tourist.

 

Start at North Range Line Road and trace historic Route 66 solely for the purpose of pleasure and discovery, rather than as a means of getting from point A to point B.

 

You might even play “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” to get you in an adventurous mood.

 

If you ever plan to motor west,

Travel my way, take the highway that is best.

Get your kicks on Route 66.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

 

*This post was updated on 3/11/19.

The Hip Handmade Market

I’m a pinner.

 

I love scrolling through Pinterest, my eyes feasting on the buffet of mindblowingly creative ideas for practically every area of my life.

 

I pin inspirational ideas onto my boards hoping that someday I’ll handcraft my daughter’s birthday party invitations, I’ll make that beaded necklace, and I’ll refinish that wooden dresser that was damaged in the tornado.

 

But I never do.

 

At this point in my life, I lack the time, patience, and skills for these super hip DIY projects

 

Alas, I never move beyond pinning.

 

Except for the dresser – I did do that project and, by golly, it actually turned out well.

 

Yet I yearn to surround myself with one-of-a-kind, handmade items; I want a DIY lifestyle without doing it myself.

 

A bit problematic, right?

 

Luckily, there’s an event in Joplin that provides a solution to my Pinterest conundrum: the Hip Handmade Market (or HHM, as the chic people say).

 

hhm info

With booth after booth filled with contemporary arts and crafts, walking through the HHM is like seeing Pinterest boards come to life.

 

Therefore, in my mind, when I buy something unique from one of the craftspeople at the HHM, it’s like I’ve virtually completed a project on Pinterest.

 

I know, I know – I’m stretching it. But the HHM really is the next best thing to “doing it yourself.”

 What is the HHM?

The HHM is the brainchild of Emma Ball. A few years ago, this creative and vivacious ball of energy (pun intended) wanted to introduce a new kind of arts and crafts show to Joplin.

 

And we are ever so grateful that she did.

 

hhm e and cThe amazing Miss Emma 

 

Held twice each year, the HHM’s popularity has skyrocketed since it debuted in spring 2014. But a successful market doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a huge number of vendors. Emma’s goal is to provide an ample number of vendors without compromising the quality of the products, so competition to participate in the HHM is pretty fierce.

 

Vendor applications are carefully reviewed by a selection committee. While some vendors travel from other states, the committee’s goal is to choose as many local artisans as possible.

 

Thanks for supporting our local talent, Emma!

 

At the spring 2015 HHM, there were 52 booths (including one that I’ve been obsessed with since the first HHM: Kristin’s Laboratory).

 

Here’s a glimpse of some of the items I saw (including vendor names and where they’re from).

 

hhm charlie 7 bagsFun fabric handbags (Charlie 7 – Joplin)

 

hhm old books lightLanterns made from recycled book pages (Old Books, New Stories – Joplin)

 

hhm sweet peaArtwork made from dried flowers (Sweet Pea Paintings – Joplin)

 

hhm hookedNail and string art (Hooked – Webb City)

 

hhm little landscapesNaturescapes (Little Landscapes – Carthage/Webb City)

 

hhm odd duckYummy toast? Nope! Handmade soap (Odd Duck Soaps – Webb City)

 

hhm lady threadShark pillow (The Lady in Thread – Ozark, MO)

 

hhm needle feltAdorable felt collectibles (Needle & Felt – Kasson, MN, formerly of Joplin)

It was difficult trying to limit my shopping at the HHM because I wanted to buy most everything. Here are some goodies that did make it home with me:

 

hhm joy elizabethLooks like a wooden spoon, but it’s actually ceramic. (Joy Elizabeth Ceramics – Rogers, AR)

 

hhm elegant ammoRepurposed ammunition is the centerpiece of this bracelet (Elegant Ammo – Carthage)

These are just a few of the uncommon finds at the HHM. Browse the complete list of super hip vendors right here.

 

So how did Emma manage to attract so much talent to Joplin? Because she’s a natural magnet for creativity. Check out these decorations that she made for the HHM – by hand, I might add.

 

hhm cascadeEmma’s color cascade

 

hhm backdropMy daughter hams it up in front of Emma’s whimsical backdrop.

Art Feeds Joplin, the HHM’s partner, highlighted Emma’s good-naturedness with a playful craft at the HHM: the Flat Emma. Kids of all ages were invited to decorate a likeness of the lady in charge.

 

hhm flat emma

 

hhm flat emma doneHere’s a decorated Flat Emma.

Are you itching to shop at the HHM? Then click on this link to get info on upcoming markets.

 

 To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

Shopping in Joplin

Shop ‘til you drop at boutiques, antiques and specialty shops alongside big box stores

by Christine Smith

 

“What in the world is THAT?”

 

My sister’s eyes were as wide as saucers as she stared out of the car window in disbelief.

 

Her reaction brought a satisfied smile to my face. We’d barely reached the city limits of Joplin and already my worldly sibling from the Windy City was impressed.

 

I’d picked Karen up this morning from the Tulsa Airport. After hopping on I-44, we chatted continuously, passing mile after mile of expansive grassy pastures when—BAM!—there it was.

 

A stately French chateau surrounded by sprawling, well-manicured gardens.

sandstone exteriorSandstone Gardens

 

She couldn’t have been more surprised had she seen a giant jack-in-the-box spring forth from the pastoral southwest Missouri terrain.

 

“That’s Sandstone Gardens,” I told her. “And you can shop there.”

 

I couldn’t wait to show her that shopping in Joplin was more than just stocking up on basic goods at the big-box stores that are visible from I-44.

 

Shopping at Joplin’s local stores offers an authentic and surprisingly sophisticated experience for anyone, even those who have access to the best stores in the world, like my sister.

 

I couldn’t wait to prove it to her.

 

Sandstone Gardens

Our shopping adventure began here. On the outdoor patio, we wandered past tiered lion’s head fountains, classical statues, and decorative cast-stone garden benches, and imagined that we were the ladies of Downton Abbey getting ready to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea in the garden.

 

unique sandstone_thumb_thumb

Sandstone Gardens

Venturing inside the 50,000-square-foot showroom, the sweet scent of honeysuckle potpourri greeted us, beckoning us down a long, narrow hallway lined with candles and richly-scented lotions, and leading us to the grand, two-story atrium where dramatic silk floral arrangements and stately home décor pieces vied for our attention.

 

After shopping for a while, I knew I needed to get some sustenance in her to fuel up for the next store, so I led her to the Bistro.

 

This cozy restaurant is conveniently located in a corner of Sandstone Gardens. My sister ordered a great-looking salad and I ordered the Reuben sandwich (the best in town!) We each ordered cake for dessert: moist German chocolate for her, and tart lemon-berry for me.

 

Boutiques
Bellies full, we were ready to do some clothes shopping. In addition to being a savvy shopper, Karen also studied fashion design, so she has a keen eye when it comes to clothing and accessories.

I knew exactly where to take her: the chic boutiques on Joplin’s historic Main Street.

I went straight for her Achilles heel (sorry for the pun) by taking her to Sophie, the “candy store for shoe addicts.” I gave her some space as she paid reverence to the offering of footwear presented before her: rhinestone-studded cowboy boots, flirty ankle boots, daring stilettos, comfortable wedges, playful flats – you name it.

 

While she tried on pair after pair, I browsed through the rest of the store and was suddenly faced with a dilemma: Did I dare show my sister Sophie’s wide selection of fashion jewelry and scarves, as well the boutique clothing section? If so, we might never leave. If not, she’d miss out on some unique finds.

 

I chose to be a good sister (or enabler—however you look at it) and led her to roam freely.

 

Once I was able to corral her, we crossed Main Street and stopped at Upstairs Boutique. Because it’s a designated Brighton Heart Store, Upstairs Boutique carries an expanded selection of the brand’s items, from jewelry to luggage, so it was the ideal place for Karen to look for a new charm to add to her Brighton bracelet.

 

Our next stop was Blue Moon Boutique, “a modern boutique with a vintage soul.”

 

Cleverly-placed vintage door frames and signs on the exposed brick walls create a whimsical backdrop for the merchandise here. On the floor, trendy necklaces and bracelets hang like ornaments from home décor pieces that are displayed on vintage dressers and tables—which you can buy, too!

 
“How fun is this place?” Karen asked as we worked our way to the boutique clothing section. By that point, even my hands were filled with wonderful treasures, like a smooth leather wrap bracelet and an antiqued metal sign sporting a sassy saying that I know my friend will love.

 

Next door at the equally playful Six Eleven Boutique,  Karen immediately noticed the brightly-colored umbrellas dangling from the antique copper ceiling and said, “You’ve got some pretty funky stores here in Joplin.”

 

In her world, that’s a colossal compliment. As a seeker of cutting-edge clothing and accessories, my sister had just put her stamp of approval on Joplin as a shopping destination.

 

That was huge.

 

As I tried on a flirty, ruffled tunic dress from Lazy Noiz I could hear her talking excitedly with the salesperson, but the only word I could make out was “Oprah.” When I came out of the dressing room, I walked over to the display where she was slathering some lotion on her hands.

 

boutiques blue moon mix_thumb

Blue Moon Market

“These are on Oprah’s list,” Karen said, excitedly pointing to the bottles of Farmhouse Fresh products in front of us. “This is the only place in Joplin that carries them.”

 

It was fun watching how quickly my sister became an ambassador of the Joplin boutique scene.

Next stop, a treat for the palate.


Local Flavor

We drove just a few blocks to Candy House Gourmet. Inside, the air was infused with the scent of sweet cocoa, causing us to practically drool as we painstakingly looked through the selection of handmade chocolates. Karen finally chose a chocolate toffee while I savored a decadent sea salt caramel.

 

I told Karen that we’d have to come back to Candy House Gourmet to take a tour of the factory when we had more time. Then, we’d be able to watch the candy-making process in action (and try some samples!).

 

Driving back to my house, Karen asked if there were places in Joplin that sold healthy food (we strive for a balanced diet, and the more healthy food we can eat, the more chocolate we can savor). I assured her that there several.

 

If she was craving a bite of what’s in season, we’d check out the local fruits, vegetables, honey, and other edibles at the Joplin Empire Market or the Webb City Farmers Market.


Vintage Finds

On our next shopping outing, we’ll explore Joplin’s vintage shops and flea markets for more uncommon finds. I know Karen will swoon over the chic, repurposed items sold at Simply Vintage (like an orange-painted distressed vintage phonograph cabinet), and she’ll certainly get a kick out of the primitives at Country Pickins Antique Mall (like a lampshade crafted from an old stovetop toaster).

 

Candy-House-Case_thumb

Candy House Gourmet

For a hefty dose of thriftiness and quirkiness, we can scour through rows of booths at traditional flea markets like Fancy Flamingo Flea Market and  Rangeline Antique Mall. Items I’ve found in the past at these places include superhero collectibles, milk glass pieces and a peculiar bust of Elvis Presley (which I just can’t get out of my mind).

 

Northpark Mall
Of course, if Karen wants to shop at more familiar stores, we can stop at Northpark Mall, where there are more than 100 retailers, including Macy’s, Sears, J.C. Penney, and T.J. Maxx, or at other national chains located near the mall, like Pier One Imports, Kohl’s, and Target (with a fresh grocery section and a Starbucks inside).

 

But right now, I’m going to get some rest.

 

Because I know that my early-bird sister will wake me at dawn tomorrow, anxious to discover more local treasures.

 

And that makes me feel so proud of my little city and the people who have chosen to open up their businesses here. Because of their originality, character, and friendliness, our local stores impress even the savviest of shoppers.

 

I can attest to that.

 

Check out Joplin shops for inspiration on your next shopping outing!

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.