Monday, June 30, 2014

Discover Dallas' Best New Shopping Destination: Henderson Avenue

The Knox-Henderson district has been a popular destination for dining, nightlife and shopping for many years, but much like the relationship between Dallas and Fort Worth, Henderson has always been the less flashy side of the strip featuring mom-and-pop restaurants, bars and boutique shops that couldn't afford the pricer rents on the tonier Knox St. side of the highway. The difference is very clear: From Central Exp/Hwy 75, head west down Knox St. and you'll find offerings from such retail juggernauts as Kate Spade, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Steven Alan and Lululemon Athletica. Hungry? You can grab a bite at Chili's, Chuy's or one of Lombardi Concepts many venues.

Want a more relaxed and local feel? Cross east over Central Exp/Hwy. 75 to the Henderson Ave. side of the road and you'll find more unique mom-and-pop boutiques and independent dining establishments. The problem that Henderson Ave. faces is that it's a much longer stretch of road than Knox St. and changes from commercial to residential and then back to commercial again. This choppy divide makes it impossible to meander the entire stretch on foot, unlike Knox St.  But in the past couple of years, this caterpillar has turned into a beautiful butterfly and made valiant strides to step up its game. Their differences play off of each other giving the entire area something for everyone. If you haven't been down Henderson Ave in a while, let me tell you what you are missing. This is not a complete list of retail offerings, just a few highlights:

For the ladies...

Vintage Martini, 2923 N. Henderson Ave.

Since 2007, Ken Weber has been offering vintage and consignment shoppers the best in high-end designer offerings. How amazing is his stash? Good enough that shoppers have been driving to CARROLLTON for his wares! Well, no longer do fashionistas have to cross 635 to get their fix of vintage handbags, shoes, gowns and sportswear.

Vintage Martini has just relocated to 2923 N. Henderson (just across the road from Gypsy Wagon). You'll find over 2,000 square feet of amazing labels from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s... up to last year's fabulous trends. Merchandise is grouped by decade with more recent "fashion edge" frocks at the front. There's a Martini Man room for the gentlemen and if bling is more your thing, you'll fall in love with Erik Yang's collection of antique and couture baubles.

Photo: Gypsy Wagon from Facebook
Gypsy Wagon, 2928 N. Henderson Ave. 

When Carley Seale opened Gypsy Wagon a few years ago, she had no idea she was starting a cultural revolution. She just wanted a place to sell bohemian, country-chic goods. The Gypsy Wagon strives to carry gifts and home items that are handmade, that are produced with recycled or sustainable materials, and that are made by people and companies who care.

Owners, Johnny and Carley Seale, are an adorable married couple with two young sons who run the business as a team. D Magazine readers voted them Best Women's Boutique and Best Gift Store in 2012 and Fashion Group International of Dallas has recognized Gypsy Wagon with a Rising Star Award for Retail and I can't think of a better example of an independent retailer to represent Dallas.

Photo: Milk & Honey from Facebook
Milk & Honey Boutique, 1906 N. Henderson Ave.

D Magazine says, "We get why Brittany York named her shop Milk & Honey. This is a promised land if we've ever seen one. You’ll fall in love with the shop’s decor when you walk in. It is a bit Anthropologie-esque, but York has her own thing going on, too. Patches of greenery decorate the walls, shabby chic furniture stores handbags, Archipelago beauty products, and jewelry, and chalkboard-painted dressing room doors let attendants organize fittings.

Get excited to flip over some price tags. You won't find more than a piece or two priced over $100. Find chunky knits, vests, blouses and dresses for work and play, and a fun collection of jewelry and shoes. Don't miss the sale room, which offers merchandise for as low as $18."

For the men...

Trunk Club, 3010 N. Henderson Ave.

Trunk Club is "a place that typically curates a bunch of dapper clothes (for men) and ships them to you via trunks. Hence the name." says Urban Daddy. "Anyway, they’ve set up an actual shop in a wood-and-brick warehouse on Henderson. (They also) serve drinks. There’s even in-house consultants who’ll help you comb through racks of Jack Spade shirts and J. Press jeans. Helpful when you’re preoccupied with whiskey."

Since my husband hates shopping, plying him with whiskey first seems like a smart sales tactic...

Photo courtesy of Bonobos
Bonobos, 1901 Henderson

The largest online men’s clothing brand in the United States brought their fresh take on retail to Dallas last month with the launch of their Guideshop on Henderson Avenue. Bonobos Guideshop is an ecommerce showroom designed as Bonobos’ answer to the traditional retail experience.

The Bonobos Guideshop Dallas is a physical 1,200 square-foot space serving as a highly personal extension of Bonobos’ comprehensive customer service for those who want to see and try on the clothing in person before placing an order on the popular retail website.

For everyone...

Photo: Warby Parker from Facebook
Warby Parker, 2008 N. Henderson Ave.

One of eyewear's trendiest brand has just opened a "Classroom" on Henderson Ave., establishing a permanent showroom space in Dallas for the first time.

According to Racked, "Previously available at trunk shows and during the New York-based brand's 2013 cross-country Class Trip, the "Classroom" line (glasses are under $100 with a prescription!) does most of its business online. Before now, the closest classroom you could visit was in, curiously, Oklahoma City. Open every day of the week, from 11 am-7 pm.

All that shopping will work up an appetite, so if you need to re-energize check out Fireside Pies, The Porch, Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar, Mesero Miguel or Gemma.  Just want a cocktail? Hit up Gingerman, Barcadia or Capitol Pub. According to the Knox Henderson website, you should look for a new Knox Street development that will be completed in September of 2015 and will include apartments, shops and yes, even a Trader Joe’s. Black Forest Biergarten is under construction next to The Slip Inn and the soon-to-be Houndstooth Coffee. I am very excited by all of this new development and even happier to see that this growth has not taken away from the charm of the area - but has only added to it!