Downtown’s changing face

So long to Konjo, MCM Vintage; welcome Woodzee

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Phoenix Building Gift Shop shutting its doors. Well, it turns out a couple more downtown businesses are calling it quits. The first holds a special place in my heart, so its absence on Second Street is a particular bummer.

Around 2008, during the height of the Great Recession, my co-workers and I at the CN&R decided to take a temporary pay cut to avoid anyone having to be laid off. It was worth it, of course, but it also made things a little more difficult. So, I bought a sewing machine and some fabric and started making farmers’ market shopping bags and purses. Etsy didn’t really work for me, so I gave Konjo, a brand-new consignment store, a shot. Before long, I was dropping new creations off regularly and making a little extra money off my hobby.

Konjo went through changes over the years—even trying live music at night—and was open inconsistent hours, but every time I went in there I found awesome locally made fashions as well as hand-picked items. Libby Liebenberg and Kirk Johnson, your shop will be missed! Waiting for the silver lining? The prime space (112 W. Second St.) is already spoken for. It will soon be home to Woodzee, a super cool local company that specializes in sustainable, wood-frame sunglasses.

The second downtown closing is MCM Vintage & Wax Museum Records. The shop, opened in August 2015 by Dan and Lorna Lewis, specialized in midcentury modern décor as well as, naturally, vinyl records. In addition to selling their own chosen goods, the Lewises also offered up space to consignors. A note to customers indicates they hope to reopen in a different location. Closing sales already have begun; the store will shut its doors by mid-October.

What’s old becomes new The Chico Mall will be seeing some changes over the next couple of months. First off, local company Coast Board Shop will be opening, offering skateboards and skating equipment and accessories. Second, mall shoppers likely have noticed that Bath & Body Works has temporarily moved. That’s because it’s undergoing a remodel, which includes expanding to make room for White Barn Candle. Now we’ll all have more of a reason to stop and smell the, ahem, rose-scented candles.

Family-style upgrade Chico’s Olive Garden recently got a makeover to make the most of its new logo and updated, modern design scheme. I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, but it gives me a good reason to go eat my all-time favorite food and St. Louis staple, toasted ravioli (the only other place I’ve found them locally is at Celestino’s on East Avenue).

Olive Garden spokeswoman Fernanda Horvath informed me that the remodel includes some fancy-schmancy new video monitors in the lobby, dining-area wine-pouring stations and a new back bar with plugs for cellphone charging. Sounds swanky! What’s more, the eatery donated its old furniture to Chico’s Habitat for Humanity ReStore.