Arkansas Loving Provisions Company
Adds Eclectic Flair to Hot Springs Retail
by Josh Williams
photography by Amanda Shelley Ledbetter
Did you get what you asked for this
Holiday season? Do you feel like you nailed the difficult, maybe even impossible, task of giving the perfect gift to everyone? Holiday shopping has taken on a different face in the last few years, and it’s not very attractive. If you want to get that laser gun/jetpack for Jimmy, you almost need a real laser beam to create a protective force field around it to ward off the hordes of retail adversaries until you can scoop it up. Some people out there don’t even leave their house to shop for the holidays; They type their credit card numbers into some store’s website, hoping that whoever has access to their protected financial information is honest, and praying that their order arrives in time so their kids don’t “hate them.” Retail has moved to be dominated by big-box retailers and an impersonalized shopping experience.
One business in the Ouachita mountains aims to change this and is the perfect reprieve after these Holiday trials. And maybe, just maybe, to find something to reward yourself for making it through.
State and Pride Provisions Company is nestled in the heart of downtown Hot Springs on Central Avenue across from historic Bathhouse Row. The proprietors, Paul and Jill Lynch, met in Fayetteville at the University of Arkansas. After obtaining law degrees, they moved to Dallas where they had two kids, but eventually, they realized their heart was still in the Natural State. “Believe it or not, it was really hard to build a community in Dallas,” Jill said. “For one, it’s not very pretty and there aren’t many outdoor activities for a family of four. There’s no hiking or camping, and there just wasn’t any personality when it came to shopping.”
The Lynches caught wind of the revitalization of downtown Hot Springs, and they decided to come back to Jill’s childhood home. On July 29, 2015, they opened the store of their dreams— their own.
“We were following the redevelopment of downtown Hot Springs and saw real growth—an opportunity to invest,” Jill said. “I had never seen so much energy and work going in to the downtown area, so we went for it.” It seems like a smart business plan, not only considering the renewed energy of the town, but also considering the fact that most of their inventory is sourced locally, further strengthening the economy of their customer base. “We want to do everything we can to improve the local economy,” Jill proclaimed. “We do business with companies that give backto their community, and many of our products are manufactured right here in our great state. We have a responsibility to help our local economy, we feel that’s very important in the business world.”
There aren’t many places one can walk into and find the variety of products and styles that State and Pride offers: There are heirloom organic cotton baby swaddles; blankets stitched from vintage saris; padded canvas iPad cases; locally made leather goods; dinner napkins printed with love letters from Keats, Joyce and Shakespeare; coffee table photography books from local picture-takers; trinket stone jewelry; mason jar liquid dispensers, and the list goes on.
“We want to highlight what’s unique about Arkansas,” Jill said. “Our idea was to be as eclectic as possible. We have a unique combination of items from rustic to modern—you could say we are ‘ farm chic.’ It would be hard to find any other place that has what we offer under one roof.” Not only does State and Pride offer a unique variety of gifts that are sourced locally, but Jill and Paul also issue a challenge, so to speak. “I dare anyone to come in here and not have a good time,” Jill said. “Our main objective is to be different—to be the only store in the world to have the variety of gifts we have. When somebody walks in here, they are going to laugh and smile and have fun. I guarantee it.”
It may sound like beating a dead horse, reiterating how important it is to strengthen the local economy by sourcing your store with Larkmartin soaps made from Hot Springs water, beeswax lip balm made by beekeepers in Fayetteville, t-shirts made by The Home T (who donates a minimum of 10% of profits to multiple sclerosis) and by constantly donating portions of proceeds to local charities like Books for Arkansas and Arkansas Food Bank, but that is what’s right about our town, our state, our nation. “We believe in this community,” Jill said. “Hot Springs is a gem. I’ve been everywhere, and not one place I have visited has the charm, the natural beauty and the history that my hometown has and we are so glad to be back home.”
State and Pride Provisions Company is located at 518 Central Avenue in downtown Hot Springs. Closed on Mondays. Call 501-627-0759 or visit them on Facebook to learn more.