BY JACLYN ROSE –
Vickie Smith and Brittanie Willis, a charming grandmother – granddaughter team, have taken on a fun new business venture in the Northside Shopping Center on Highway 71 North in Mena. At the beginning of November, Smith purchased Movie Town and brought over Beatnik’s Boutique, a fun women’s clothing store, run by Willis, which was formerly located on Highway 71 South in Mena.
Willis, a 2012 graduate of Mena High School, has been interested in fashion as long as she can remember. “I’ve always loved fashion since I was a little girl. I loved playing dress up and when I went to market the first time, I knew this was what I wanted to do,” explained Willis. “We currently have a large selection of ladies’ junior clothing and some footwear and we are adding accessories and plan to add plus sizes and little girls clothing. We go to some of the largest markets in the world and try to get things that other people don’t already have. We try to be very unique with our styles and trends,” added Smith.
Smith grew up in the 1970s and has seen a rebirth of the clothing styles she wore in today’s culture. “All of the hippie clothes are back in, so I feel like I have a good knowledge of current fashion because I wore it. We wanted a name for the store that fit that style so that’s where we came up with Beatnik’s and we both really liked it,” explained Smith.
With their previous location being somewhat small in size, Beatnik’s was looking for room to grow. “We were limited in space before and we knew we wanted to move to the Northside Shopping Center and when Movie Town came up for sale we knew there would be room for both. We have done some renovations and have more plans to make some additional changes. We added dressing rooms and relocated the movies so there is plenty of room for both. We have laid new flooring and plan to do some more painting. Our tanning beds are in better shape than ever, we cleaned and serviced them and have plans to decorate each room in a different theme. Hopefully all the renovations will be complete by the first of the year. We have really had a super response already. We are very blessed with all the local support and the good comments we’ve received. We are always ready to listen to suggestions and comments and will do our best to accommodate everyone,” said Smith.
With the addition of Beatnik’s, the movie rental portion of Movie Town will continue as always. “We are planning to keep as many movies as we have always had and we are not going to downsize at all. We are hoping with the improvements we have made and a focus on customer service, that we can grow Movie Town and really rejuvenate movie rentals,” explained Smith.
The grandmother – granddaughter team work very well together. “It’s really easy for us to work together, though it’s not always perfect,” said Willis. “We make a really good team. When we are shopping for clothes, one of us will go through and put our choices in the shopping cart and then the other will go through and put her choices in a cart and we work through it all. If we both like it, it’s a go and if one of us feels very strongly that we should get it, we usually will, but if one doesn’t like the item, we don’t purchase it,” added Smith.
“I really enjoy the people in Polk County and the scenery. It’s home and I’m really proud of it. The lifestyle here is so easy and the people are so friendly and you just don’t get that anywhere. We are so thankful for the opportunity we have been given and we are excited about, and looking forward to, the future,” said Smith.