MANTLE BOUND: Reinder figurine and other holiday items are to be found at Park Hill Home.

With rumors still flying around about a new Cupid’s opening in my neighborhood, I could not have been more relieved last week to see a rather understated, definitely non-neon sign go up in front of a previously vacant storefront at JFK Boulevard and B Street.

Park Hill Home is the name of the new store, a home decor accessories and gifts boutique owned by Todd Smith and Charlie Groppetti. They’re the pair behind the Park Hill Collection, a wholesale home décor line that’s been available in several other local stores but was primarily marketed to professional decorators.


Park Hill Home occupies a house that was converted for retail use, and Groppetti said it’s ideal ¾ the rooms are smaller, like those in other houses in the neighborhood that date as far back as the 1920s, so locals can see the potential for their own homes in how the store’s merchandise is arranged. No giant sectionals, no chairs wide enough for you, both kids and the dog.

Much of the merchandise is what I would call rustic, and what Groppetti and probably others who’re more versed in the lingo call cottage living. Lots of antique-looking birdhouses, pine, and rough clay planters. Boxes of a dozen faux eggs, part of the Park Hill Collection, meant to be used decoratively. Glassware, kitchen linens, a line of candles and bath salts, a selection of gourmet food from Bella Cucina. And Christmas: Half a dozen or more color-themed trees featuring oversized glass ornaments. And my favorite, a reindeer doll/figurine (action figure, if you’re a guy) attired in a natty red velvet frock coat, meticulously patched wool pants and leather boots, with a compass dangling from one hand ($60). He needs to perch on my mantle this Christmas. He really, really does. Groppetti said they’re planning a whole series of similar woodland critters.


Anyway, stop by if you’re in the neighborhood ¾ it’s worth a look around. And you won’t have to worry about who might see your car parked out front.



In other holiday-related news:

· The Junior League of Little Rock’s annual shopping extravaganza, Holiday House, kicks off today, Thursday, Nov. 6, and runs through Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Statehouse Convention Center. General shopping hours are noon to 9 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $7, or $12 for a three-day pass. There’ll be more than 150 merchants selling everything from children’s clothing to antiques to pecans.

· The man himself, Santa Claus, arrives at Park Plaza at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, where he’ll set up camp by the Dillard’s second-floor east entrance (the one by the men’s department). The Diamond State Chorus kicks off the welcoming festivities at 5:30 p.m.

· Speaking of Park Plaza, the mall’s website says Stride Rite, the children’s shoe store, is coming soon.


· Also on the new store front: The owners of the now-closed David Claibourne Ltd. home decor mall on Cantrell Road have reopened under a slightly different name at a new location just down the street. Claybourne’s Fine Furniture and Accessories opened recently at Highway 10 and Taylor Loop, behind Walgreens. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

· Finally: Linens-n-Things is going out of business. (Yes, the entire chain.) The sell-off has begun, with everything in the store marked down 10 percent to 40 percent as of last weekend.


News, tips, etc.?