Oh, the irony. I chose a week of three-digit temperatures to write about The Snow Bear.
McKenzie O’Grady opened the shop at 111 Westgate Parkway, Suite B, to showcase clothing and accessories from lines she noticed in her travels.
The Amarillo native spent her teen years living and training as a figure skater.
“I trained in Colorado Springs with a wonderful world-champion figure skating coach,” O’Grady said. “As a perfectionist who doesn’t handle pressure very well, that scene was a little excruciating for me.
“I later had an opportunity to skate in shows and help choreograph and coach at Vail. The pressure dissolved and I just got to skate.”
O’Grady opted, ultimately, to return to Amarillo, where her family carved 1,500 square feet out of the family business, Irish Springs Pools and Spas, to make room for The Snow Bear.
The two businesses have separate entrances. The Snow Bear’s storefront boasts white shutters and hanging baskets of plants, she said.
“I have brands from Australia and new York City, and a Parisian designer that crafts exquisite jewelry,” she said.
The Snow Bear operates from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. it can be found online at www.facebook.com/thesnow bear, with a blog at www.thesnowbearrocks.tumblr.com.
The family footprint also is evident in another new Amarillo retailer, Abundantly Blessed at 2411 S. Western St., between Western Plaza Drive and Olsen Boulevard.
Kim Eggert and daughters Jordan Diaz and Keisha Griego partnered to open the women’s apparel shop that carries sizes from 0 to 6X, Eggert said.
“We really are trying to cater to the curvy girls,” she said. “I was going to different boutiques and nothing would fit me, so I prayed about it. … Our mission statement is ‘Those who bless are abundantly blessed,’ Proverbs 11:25.”
Diaz, a hairstylist, operates a salon in the store. Eggert calls Griego “the fashionista. She does a lot of our purchasing, and she can put clothes together like nobody’s business.”
Store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
J.C. Penney continues its retail evolution. The Amarillo store at Westgate Mall and hundreds of others now contain “shops.” Sound obvious?
Well, the retailer claims these shops will be transformative. They include a Levi’s Denim Bar, i jeans by Buffalo and the Original Arizona Jean co.
The denim bar in the men’s department, for example, features the largest assortment of Levi’s denim ever stocked at J.C. Penney, with 11 fits and 88 washes. Customers can access iPads to check sizes and styles, trained fit “specialists” are also supposed to be on hand, and you can use mobile checkout, rather than stand in line, according to information from the company.
Expect to see more stores within stores from J.C. Penney in the future.
Hastings Entertainment will open its newest Hardback Coffee Cafe on Friday in remodeled space at the store at 4301 S.W. 45th Ave. The chain plans special offers for the first two weeks of business.
Hastings opted to go with its inhouse coffee brand rather than renew a lease for Roasters Coffee & Tea co. That coffee business ended its 10-year run there July 31.
Hardback also operates inside Hastings stores at 2020 S. Georgia St. and 5512 Gem Lake Road.
Amarillo-based Merrick Pet Care Inc. is calling its latest offering a “revolution in a dog bowl,” a dramatic reference to a new line of 11 dog food recipes made from regional farm-fresh ingredients.
“Our intention is to create the most nutritionally superior products available because dogs want what we want: real whole food, worthy of a fork,” Merrick Marketing Vice President Carolyn Hanigan said when the brand was announced last week.
The company has created a Merrick Food Revolution page on Facebook where consumers can get updates about the products and post photos of their pets.
The recipes will be available at Petco, independent pet specialty stores and at some online retailers via www.merrickpetcare.com.
An apparent closing to note: It’s So Bananas, an eclectic gift shop, no longer occupies space at 2010 Soncy Road.
Interact with Karen Smith Welch at email@example.com, facebook.com/karensmithwelch or @karen_welch on Twitter. Welch also blogs retail and city government news at amarillo.com.