Fashion designer Brittany Davidson’s career choice just may trace its roots to a favorite outfit she wore as a 6-year-old – a jumper with a crab appliqué and matching hair bow. That outfit and others from the Chocolate Soup line had Kansas City area kids decked out in style. The line was once designed and manufactured in Lee’s Summit and sold in several Chocolate Soup stores in the Midwest and South, including one in Waldo that operated for more than a quarter of a century before closing. Now Davidson is a partner in the company and is planning its comeback.
In 2009, she started her own clothing design company for men and women, BMDesigns LLC, headquartered in Overland Park. Then in March 2010, Davidson and her parents, Colin and Julie Davidson, purchased the Chocolate Soup line and its remaining stores.
They recently opened a new Chocolate Soup store in The Fountains shopping center, at 6421 W. 119th St., Overland Park. The store sells several lines including Jelly the Pug, Hartstrings, Twirls & Twigs, and Mallory May — dresses with butterflies, shirts with a football flying over a goal, and tops with colorful bandana wrapped around a pirate skull.
And perhaps in tribute to one of Davidson’s favorite childhood dresses, a top with crab appliqué.
Seasonal items are sold throughout the store including a checkered pumpkin on black corduroy overalls, neon green shirt with black and purple spiders crawling across the chest and black and white striped sleeves, monster and scarecrow bows — all to get in the spirit before Halloween — along with quilted pink jackets and hats with bunny faces and floppy ears for chilly fall days. The store has sections for infant-to-24 months, ages 2-to-4 and ages 4-to-7.
The family also is slowly bringing back the Chocolate Soup line, which it is still manufactured locally. And for every product bought from the line’s “Hearts for Haiti” the company will send a piece to a Haiti orphanage.
Chocolate Soup stores also are in St. Louis and Germantown, Tenn., but the Davidson family has closed the stores in Atlanta, Dallas and Charlotte, S.C., to concentrate on the Kansas City market. They hope to open a store in Westport or Brookside within a year.
“I ‘inherited’ the locations when we bought the company and now we want to bring it back locally,” said Brittany Davidson. “It’s a huge difference being able to come into the store every day and hear customers’ feedback directly without going through a manager. If someone tells me they are looking for something I can order it that day.”
A new restaurant and movie theater operation called Standees — The Entertaining Eatery was announced last week for The Village shopping center in Prairie Village. It would open in a space that includes Einstein Bros. Bagels at 3939 W. 69th Terrace, and part of the former Macy’s home store.
A spokeswoman for Einstein Bros. Bagels said the company is in negotiations to relocate in the center.
- Farmstead Nuts and Treats has opened its seasonal store in its plant at 2920 Merriam Lane, Kansas City, Kan. Vicki Riffle and her son, Rodney Riffle, purchased the business in fall 2011. The company, which is now celebrating its 32nd year in business, sells nuts and candies to the public, as well as to groups for fundraising and companies to send as holiday gifts. Products include Arizona pecans, Missouri black walnuts, Turkish apricots, and a variety of chocolate covered nuts and fruits such as new item chocolate covered blueberries.
The store is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
QuikTrip and Jack in the Box are now open at Johnson Drive and Eby Avenue, just east of Interstate 35, in Merriam.
Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza has opened at 4986 Roe Blvd., Roeland Park. The operations make the pizza to order for customers to take home and bake. The Roeland Park store is the 31st in the metro.
Several Spirit Halloween seasonal stores are popping up in Johnson County: the Town Center Plaza, 4853 W. 117th St., Leawood; and Metcalf South Shopping Center, 9605 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, are open. Locations also will open in Pinnacle Village, 7701 W. 119th St., Overland Park, and at Westchester Square, 13360 W. 87th St. Parkway, Lenexa.