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.