EATS & SWEETS
If you’re just starting your day in Searcy, we suggest grabbing a cup of Joe at Kibo Midnight Oil Coffeehouse (801 E Race, 501-268-9014, kibomidnightoil.com). Located at the edge of the Harding University campus, the cozy shop offers specialty lattes, hot drinks, muffins, and bagels. If you decide to hang out and mingle with the local students, they also serve lunch from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. as well as a selection of bakery items.
In downtown Searcy, along the square, you’ll find Daisy’s Lunchbox (311 North Spruce, 501-281-0297). The shop offers a selection of fresh salads—we enjoyed the Candied Pecan Berry Salad—and sandwiches, along with daily specials such as baked ziti and enchiladas. If you’re thinking ahead for dinner, pick up one of their made-fresh casseroles, sides, or soups, available in a variety of sizes to serve a small family or a crowd. Daisy’s was previously located inside The Bee’s Knee’s flea market, but now shares this new location with Sassy Sweets, which offers custom cakes as well as a selection of made-fresh cupcakes and treats inside the store’s bakery case.
When you’re ready to shop downtown, head to Leslie Jewelers (319 North Spruce, 501-268-2340, lesliejewelers.com), located just next door to Daisy’s Lunchbox. Established in 1935, Leslie is a staple in Searcy’s community, having served generations of customers. Today, it is owned by sisters, Amy Maxson and Melanie Purnell. They, along with Master Jeweler Robert Pitard, will warmly greet you when you walk in the front door. In store, you’ll find a huge selection of engagement rings and wedding bands, along with lines such as Kendra Scott and Virgins Saints & Angels. Leslie Jewelers also offers custom designs to help you achieve just the look you want for that special someone in your life.
If home décor and gifts are what you’re looking for, shop The Boutique (112 North Spring Street, 501-268-3434, searcyboutique.com). The spacious, cute-as-can-be shop has a huge selection of gifts for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and any other occasion you can imagine. Brides-to-be should visit the store to register for everyday dishes, linens, and home décor. Brands such as Beatriz Ball, Skyros, Annie Glass, Pine Cone Hill, and Company C abound in this downtown treasure.
MAKE IT HOME
Searcy also boasts a number of design and furniture stores to assist in making your house a home. Interior Creations (1612 West Beebe Capps Expressway, 501-268-2311, searcydesigncenter.com) is a family owned business with a huge selection of fabrics, Hunter Douglas blinds, and accessories. Choose from fabric selections on in-stock bolts or browse their extensive special-order library. What’s more, Interior Creations has an on-site workroom where they make custom bedding, headboards, window treatments, and more.
When it comes to furniture, Searcy’s go-to destination is Sowell’s Furniture (207 West Arch Avenue, 501-268-8100, sowellsfurniture.com). Located on the square in downtown, the family owned-and-operated business has been serving Central Arkansas for more than 70 years. The spacious showroom features a huge selection of styles from casual to contemporary, transitional to traditional. Whether you’re searching for a new sofa or dining set or just need a few accessories to complement your look, Sowell’s can assist you. While you’re there, inquire about their interior design services.
A SEARCY TREASURE: Revive the Rialto
Many Arkansans have fond memories of nights and weekends spent at Searcy’s beloved movie house, the Rialto Theater. Located on Race Avenue along the edge of the town square, it has been a landmark for years. According to Main Street Searcy Executive Director Amy Burton, the building was originally built in the 1920s but received its famous art-deco-style façade during a renovation in the 1940s. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is still in operation today. However, it is in need of repairs to be restored to its former glory.
Currently, a project is underway to fund and complete a full restoration in two phases, the first of which will be exterior repairs including updates to the neon lights, marquee, and the structure itself. This portion of the project is scheduled to begin this spring. The second phase, which will be planned at a later date, will focus on interior updates. “We want to maintain the structure as it is,” Burton says. “It’s important to preserve it because it’s such a big part of our history in Searcy.” Burton notes that the majority of funds have been raised for this initial phase, but they are still in need of donations to cover any unforeseen overages and to start the fundraising for phase two.
The Rialto renovation is one of three downtown beautification projects, which also include a Christmas light display and updated streetscape, currently in the works through a partnership between the Searcy Regional Economic Development Corporation and the Searcy Regional Chamber of Commerce.