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the occasions lady and

The Downtown Vibe
by Audrey Poff, illustration by Brittney Guest

Most downtowns have a unique vibe of their own, and Downtown Jonesboro is no exception.

When we relocated the Occasions Publishing Group office to Downtown Jonesboro more than three years ago, we wanted to be part of a creative community where we could interact with others who have invested in downtown, and also contribute to its growth and revitalization. Some of the things we enjoy most about being downtown are simple things – the ability to walk to lunch and to nearby shops, and knowing our neighbors. Plus, there’s always excitement of some sort nearby, whether it’s watching your new neighbors move a grand piano up a steep staircase into their new loft or seeing a new restaurant come to life.

One thing is certain about downtown; it is fluid. It is constantly changing, pliable and readily reshaped. For that reason, entrepreneurs often land here willing to invest what they have to make a go of it. As we publish our annual downtown issue, I’m excited about businesses that have recently announced plans to locate in Downtown Jonesboro. Here’s a little insight into a few of those that are in the works:

•Art House: Soon after she and her husband relocated to a loft in Downtown Jonesboro, Angie Ford Jones found herself drawn to a nearby vacant building formerly occupied by a vintage resale shop. Although art has been a part of her journey from a young age, life took her in other directions. With the opening of Art House, a gallery, studio and event space at 308 S. Main St., Jones plans to not only focus on her own art, but to showcase local talent, as well. She is currently collaborating with local artists to offer exhibits and classes in the future. Art House is scheduled to open this summer.

•Bamboo Japanese Cuisine: A new Japanese-inspired restaurant is set to open this summer at 300 S. Main St., Suite A. Timothy and Susan Pan, who own other Asian restaurants in Jonesboro and Paragould, plan to offer sushi and hibachi-style dinners (without the hibachi-grill seating) at Bamboo Japanese Cuisine. The restaurant is expected to open mid-summer.

•Civil Axe Throwing: Downtown Jonesboro is the next target for Civil Axe Throwing. The city’s first axe-throwing venue is scheduled to open this summer at 316 S. Main St. The venue will include four lanes that will be available for one-hour axe-throwing sessions, allowing guests to try their hand at hurling dulled hatchets at a wooden bullseye. Scott Brewster, director of marketing and sales for the company, said Jonesboro will be the seventh location for Civil Axe Throwing.

•Ichya Ramen: A new taste of Asian cuisine is coming to 322 S. Main St. Ichya Ramen will feature authentic Asian items such as flavorful ramen noodles and rice bowls. Owner Smu Garry, a native of Indonesia, has resided in Arkansas for the past three years. Garry said he decided to put his first restaurant on Main Street because the Downtown Jonesboro community is now alive and active. Ichya Ramen is slated to open in early June.

•Roots: Creating delicious, homemade country-style foods with an Ecuadorian twist will be the main focus for Roots, a new restaurant in the making at 303 S. Main St. Owners Karl and Paula Lowe are excited to bring their restaurant concept to the downtown area. Karl, a native of Bay, and Paula, a native of Ecuador, will be venturing back to their roots with each of their food creations such as fried chicken infused with Ecuadorian flavors, served with maple peach butter and corn fritters. All of Roots’ menu items will be locally grown and sourced from local farmers. Roots is scheduled to open in August.

•The Parsonage at South Main Market: Loyal patrons of The Parsonage have anxiously been awaiting its reopening since the restaurant moved to its new location at 305 S. Main St. Chef John Myers and his wife, Ramey, brought their farm-to-table concept to Downtown Jonesboro in January 2016. In its new location, The Parsonage will serve as the anchor for South Main Market, a food hall concept planned by Clay Young of Young Investment Company. The Parsonage is scheduled to open on June 1.

•University Lofts at The Stuck: Jetton General Contracting and Cooper Mixon Architects have teamed up to transform a historic Downtown Jonesboro building into a creative urban space. Bridging A-State and Downtown Jonesboro together, University Lofts at The Stuck will offer 60 student living micro-lofts, offices and space for retail business to set up shop. Located at 215 Union Ave., the project is scheduled to open during the first quarter of 2020.

Editor’s note: Occasions staff writer Cody Moore assisted in compiling this list of new businesses.