COMING SOONISH: The first stores at the Promenade at Chenal will open late next month.

NOOOO, I don’t know when DSW is going to open.

Yes, I’m aware that’s probably all anyone reading this column wants to know, but apparently opening new retail stores isn’t the most exact of sciences, so I can tell you no more than what the Promenade at Chenal people told me at a media open house last week, and that is that DSW and a few other stores will be opening “soon.” More specifically, late August. Probably.


For the uninitiated, DSW stands for Designer Shoe Warehouse. It’s exactly what it sounds like: A big ol’ honkin’ shoe store with bargain prices. Hitherto located no closer than Germantown, Tenn.

Shoes aren’t my thing, but I’m led to believe women will be screaming in the streets like it’s Elvis’ own blue suedes on the shelves. Enjoy, ladies. I’ll wave at you from my table at Maggie Moo’s, set to serve up its first ice cream cone July 10.


Back to that media open house. A gaggle of us got to stroll down “Main Street,” as they’re calling the Promenade’s central stretch of storefronts. Like Midtowne and the Pleasant Ridge Town Center, the Promenade, locates at Chenal Parkway and Rahling Road, is a lifestyle center — an outdoor mall, basically, dressed up with nicer landscaping and architectural details. The Promenade is aiming for an upscale appearanc, with touches like copper roof accents and a large combination water feature/fire pit. The layout has an old-timey downtown feel, with a central “street” and several smaller offshoots. I’ll be eager to see what it looks like at Christmas.

About half the 60 or so spaces are leased so far, mostly to familiar national chains that already have locations at Park Plaza or Midtowne. New to the city are J. Crew, a Lucky Brand Jeans store, bebe, DSW and — sort-of new — a combination Mimi/Motherhood maternity store. This is a bit like combining Target and Ann Taylor price-point-wise, but if it’ll save weary pregnant legs having to troop around two separate malls like they have to now — Mimi Maternity is in Park Plaza, Motherhood in McCain Mall — then I’m all for it. The center’s general manager, Ken Huge, said they’re hoping to fill a good number of the unleased spaces with non-duplicate retailers.


The first group of stores will open around the end of August, with more opening in dribs and drabs in September and October. The first major public event is scheduled for Oct. 18 — there’ll be a day-long series of family-oriented activities, including the building of a Habitat for Humanity House in the parking lot. (Yes, it will be moved after it’s finished.) Most of the work will be provided by the construction companies that are building the Promenade, but volunteers are welcome (call 379-1583).


In other news:

Just too late for my last column on Little Rock’s two independent kitchen stores came news that Krebs Bros., the restaurant supply store that’s been in business on 12th Street for 75 years, would be opening a new location on Landers Road in North Little Rock on June 30. The company has always had a small non-commercial client base, and the new store is actively seeking to expand it. Krebs Bros. is still the place to go if you need three dozen of those little melamine bowls that sit by the soft-serve machine at buffet restaurants or stainless steel chafing dishes or vast quantities of plastic tumblers. But it’s also a fun place to go looking for basic kitchen tools — nowhere will you find a larger selection of basics like spatulas and ladles. Need to cook gumbo for 200? Krebs Bros. has a stock pot that’s big enough, plus an oar-sized spatula to stir it with. (There’s also a giganto potato masher, which I almost bought just because I’m certain there’s something fun to be done with it.) Also cookie sheets, cleaning supplies, commercial appliances, cookware, knives, and a small selection of gourmet foods that I’m told will be growing as more inventory comes in. It’s a fun place to browse, and the prices are right: I picked up a new pastry cutter (with nice rigid tines that won’t get bent out of shape like the one I have) and a small cookie sheet for under $10. To get to the store, take the McCain Boulevard East exit from Hwy. 67/167, turn left onto Landers Road, and look for the store just past the Harley-Davidson dealership.