New Location - the journey and the wait for the perfect space at the perfect time.


Just to bring you up to speed in case you are a fairly new fan/friend of Bella Vita... We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary in November 2018. This date also marked 4 years in our current retail location in the Lafayette Building.

Flash back to December of 2012 when I was listening to the Little Rock NPR station while I was living in Oklahoma. I heard a story about some buildings on Main St. in downtown Little Rock that were soon to be developed and rehabbed in to mixed use buildings. This got me really excited because the whole time we lived in Oklahoma, we knew we would return to Little Rock as soon as possible. I make a few trips to visit to the capitol city to check out these buildings on Main St. Meet with the developer a few times and then finally in March of 2013, I sign a lease on a small studio space in the back of the Arkansas Building on the corner of 6th and Main St.

Matt and I returned to Little Rock the summer of 2013 and I moved Bella Vita in to 3 different temporary spaces (shout out to Julie West, Ellie Roy, and Justin Roberts for housing me when I needed help). Then in October of 2014, the developers of the space I was waiting on offered to let me lease the space in the Lafayette Building, where we are currently, until the studio space next door was ready. I took them up on this offer and set up shop. Work on the Arkansas building next door eventually halted and the project was pretty much abandoned by the original developer. Not sure all the exact details but it sat vacant and mid construction for a really long time. I think there were lawsuits and all sorts of stuff, it was a mess until someone new swooped in and actually finished the project in 2017/2018. 

Here are a few old blog posts I dug up if you have any interest in the time line:
https://bellavitajewelry.blogspot.com/2013/03/arkansas-plans.html
https://bellavitajewelry.blogspot.com/2014/03/main-street-update.html
https://bellavitajewelry.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-new-home-for-bella-vita.html

Fast forward to Mid February 2019 when I get the news that my friend Matt is moving out of his Gallery space at the end of the month. His space is beautiful. South facing windows, full of light, beautiful wood floors, a tiny little loft for my office -- everything I ever dreamed of and imagined for the original space I signed a lease on! Which, to update you on that, it will now be our storage room as it was never finished out with the rest of the building. And the Gallery space is 100% better because it is larger and has a street presence on 6th St. The exact address is 108 W 6th St, Suite A, Little Rock, AR 72201 -- google it if you want. Or better yet, swing by the shop and I'll show you in person because it is right next door to our current location. I signed the lease the day before I left for my India trip and the day after I made a deal with my Grandfather to purchase my Grandmothers antique button collection. To say 2019 has hit me full force, is an understatement. But, I fully believe that all 3 of these huge life events happening at once were meant to happen, and I've never felt so good about the buttons, the India trip, and the 3 year lease I signed. They are the reason I've busted ass for the past 10 years. I can't wait to share the new space with you! We will have so much more room than we currently have. I plan to curate more visiting artists for Pop Up Shops, Workshops, Events, and more. I want it to be more than a shop, I want it to be a community space where everyone is welcome. I also plan to expand our retail offerings and have lots of surprises in store.

We are going to start moving as soon as we can. The walls need to be painted, the windows need a UV treatment, and we need to demo some shelving in the loft... but other than that, its beautiful and move in ready! My goal is to be open in time for 2nd Friday Art Night in April. Thats a lofty goal though :) Will will keep you updated via our email newsletter and social media.

I truly can't believe that my journey for a home for my little shop has come full circle and I'll be a tenant in the building I originally set out to be in. IF you know me at all, you know I've been window shopping for the perfect space in Downtown Little Rock for years. Being downtown is important to me for many reasons, mostly because I am an old soul and I believe there is so much life in these historic buildings. I also believe in reusing what we have already built, and I just love the vibe of the downtown community. 

I hope you will come out and visit us when we get moved and also patronize our amazing new neighbors. We will be next door to the beautiful new Handle Barbershop, and close neighbors to The Rep Theater, Three Fold Noodles, The Arkansas Ballet, Cranford and Co., & the Downtown Partnership.

One last thought, I appreciate everyone that has shopped with us over the years in the Lafayette Building. The space is tiny and I know its gotten cramped at times and I've always appreciated your patience with that. It was the perfect starter space for us and we maximized our opportunity there for 4 1/2 years. It's time for the next step. 

See you downtown!

Matt admiring the new view and the extra tall ceilings and the NATURAL LIGHT!!!

The view from the loft where my office will be.
Coming SOON!!!

 

 

 

 

Read More

Boss Lady - Annabelle Rector

Bella Vita launched a blog titled “Boss Lady” in March 2017 - after years of being inspired by the women that we are friends with, work with, or do business with, that are building their empire doing what they love.  Running a business takes work, and getting started takes courage. At Bella Vita, we wanted to take this opportunity to praise and encourage some of the great female entrepreneurs we have met over the years and we hope to inspire more young women (and men) to follow their instinct/talent/passion and become entrepreneurs.  
My team and I are reaching out to the woman owned businesses that inspire and amaze us on a daily basis.  We will start with a brief background, then dive into the nitty gritty of running a business, what keeps them inspired, and everything else in between.



I was born and raised here in Little Rock, but moved around for a while before settling back home. I went to college in Fulton, MO at Westminster College so got to spend some time in St Louis and Kansas City. That made me want to know what it was like to live in a big city, so I took the chance and did a sustainability immersion summer program in Chicago back in 2012. Then I got the chance to move to New Orleans. And then on to Portland, OR. All that moving made me realize how much I need to be around my family. Everyone in my family lives in Little Rock except my twin, Molly, who lives in Fayetteville and runs the Open Mouth Reading Series!

  1. Give us your elevator pitch. Reinvented Vintage is a vintage furniture store that carries two furniture paint lines, home decor and local art/goods. We also hold classes on the two paint lines with local artists and on the benefits of essential oils and a natural home. Once we get more settled in our new SoMa location, the “classroom” area will be open for others to use as well!

  2. When did you start your business?  I actually purchased it! I’ve been running Reinvented Vintage for two and  half years now. It has flown by! But the shop has been around for 5 years in the Breckenridge Village location. I can’t wait to see how things change and grow now that we are down in SoMa!

  3. What inspired you to make the leap?  In large part my dad. Daddy knew how unhappy I was where I was working. I am strong willed and opinionated. When he learned through a friend that Reinvented Vintage was up for sale he convinced me to at least look into it and see if running a vintage furniture shop would be something I would like doing. Here we are two and a half years later!



  4. What helps you get started each morning? Coffee, diet coke, 10 mile jog, meditation??  I’d love to say it was any of those, but really it is the knowledge that I have way too much to do to stay home and sleep the day away! I’m learning to be a morning person, or at least less of a night owl. :D

  5. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business.  It varies so much! Just about everyday involves painting and working on our custom painting for others. The best parts of the day are when customers come in and I get to have a good conversation and/or help them pick out the perfect combo of paint and wax colors for their projects.

  6. What keeps you motivated?  The shop is great because it keeps me on my toes. Everyday there is an opportunity to learn more, to grow. Before you take on a business you don’t really know all that goes into it. So I am constantly learning new things to help the business run smoother and grow more. Getting to make changes as I see they need to be made is amazing. Not to say that it is easy! Being the one responsible for everything means there are always at least three plates in the air. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I never get bored.

    The other amazing aspect about the shop that keeps me happy going in every day is the people I get to meet and work with. I love talking with people, learning about what they have going on, why they are interested in vintage furniture or reviving a piece with a new color/style .



  7. Describe your dream day.  Any day with a good combination of getting things accomplished and getting to interact with our amazing customers is a dream day. I would love to be able to do more on the “picking” side of things, but Daddy does a great job of finding things to keep the shop full!

  8. What is your greatest strength/super power?  My fam would say how big of a heart I have and how much I care about others. So I’m going to go with that! :D

  9. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat?  Instagram for visuals and Facebook for information. I still don’t understand Snapchat… Anyone that wants to give me a run down, let me know!

  10. What do you do in your free time? (ha! What is free time?!)  Either hanging with family or relaxing at home scrapbooking or reading a book, usually on essential oils or a romance.



  11. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it?  Create an additional classroom/workshop space! Something that would be a great gathering place for community events.

  12. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go?  Toss up between buying the shop (but let’s be honest, I’m too stubborn to let it fail) or taking a summer off to move from New Orleans to Portland and camping the whole way there. I’d say both have had pretty great outcomes.

  13. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable?  Paperwork. You don’t realize how much goes on behind the scenes of a retail business to make it run. Everything from figuring out the marketing to the books to pricing. It has to be done, so I just power through it. Sometimes I get in a groove and three hours have passed, those are the great days! The best thing about being the boss is, if I don’t feel like doing something that day I will hold off until mentally I am in the space to do it. Learning to give myself the grace of understanding my own needs.



  14. How do you handle discouragement?  Talking with family or friends. Daddy, Mommy & Aunt Christy are all the pillars that hold me up when I’m down. Each has a way of helping me to work through different aspects of discouragement and doubt.

  15. Which iconic person inspires you?  I wouldn’t say that any one person inspires me, more that individual acts will spark an idea or a desire to be and do better.

  16. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote?  "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Williamson



  17. If you could choose anyone to pick as a mentor, who would you choose?  My family collectively.

  18. Who are you in your next life?  Not sure, hopefully still someone that understands the importance of community and connecting with others.

  19. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business?  Ha! Working 60+ hours a week. Putting processes in place so that things can get done smoothly is important, working to get more of those! To-do lists. I always have at least two, if not three or more, going. Each one covers a different topic: painting, paperwork/calls, essential oils, etc.

  20. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs?  Know going in that you can do it. Yes, there will be frustrations and blocks, but if you are committed and work hard you can accomplish anything. Remember to ask for help. That is a big one for me. Help isn’t a bad word, and more people than you think want to do what they can to help you.


Visit Reinvented Vintage in person
at 1222 South Main Street, Little Rock, AR 72202
Or
on social media:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
All Photos By: Saira Khan
Read More