Dolly's Trading Company
Owner: Kimberly Dhaiti
Business Address: 501 Garrison Avenue
Years in Business: Opened December 5, 2022
What do you do? Dolly's Trading Company is named for my Nana, Dolly Young. Her given name was Mona Christene Young. She and my Grandpa, Floyd, were married for 51 years. He passed away in 2012 and she passed away in 2013. When we started this venture as a family last year, we wanted to represent her every day. The logo is an image of her when she was about 14. Around 1947ish. Everything we do reflects her every day. We have unique gifts as well as handmade in the store crafts, t-shirts, signs, home decor, etc. Lots more!
Why did you choose this field? I was in the trucking industry for 20 years. I was burned out. My family decided to buy some pallets and sell the items online. That evolved into a brick and mortar store. No more pallets, just beautiful, unique items for every one and every occasion. I love losing myself in my next project and creating something beautiful and meaningful for someone.
What inspires you about your customers and clients? I know no strangers. I love asking them where they are from, telling them about the history of my building and the city in general. I am a HUGE history nut and LOVE to share with anyone who will listen. I love to find out what they are looking for and find a way to create whatever that is.
What inspires you about being downtown? Oh man...what DOESN'T inspire me would be the shorter answer. I love our history. The way this small area of downtown was the beginning for not only our little town but our lawmen, our judges, city leaders and citizens literally changed the U.S. This was the central location of everything for the western district. Something like 96,000 square miles or something like that at one time. And Judge Parker at the center of it all. Downtown is where this city began.
What advice do you have for those planning to open a business downtown? Know that it will be slow through the week. That is, depending on the type of business you own. There is not a lot of foot traffic through the week. Walk up and down the avenue and peer into similar businesses to your own. See what they are doing that you can incorporate or improve on in your own store. Embrace the history and promote it far and wide!
What would you like to see more of downtown? More events! When I was a kid, we had street dances like once a quarter or so. Maybe more. They would put a flatbed trailer at 5th & Garrison with another at 10th & Garrison. These not only blocked traffic but served as stages for local bands and talent! CARRIE UNDERWOOD PLAYED AT OUR STREET DANCES FOR PETE'S SAKE! How many people in this town actually KNOW that? I know COVID changed a lot but there is absolutely ZERO reason why we aren't having regular events downtown. Fort Smith is so diverse, we could have quite a few different themes to play off of throughout the year. We have not and are not promoting our history or, and most importantly, not ENGAGING the community!!! If businesses are going to thrive downtown, we MUST find a way to engage the community and bring them downtown.
The Fort Smith Downtown Business Association (FSDBA) meets most months on the second Wednesday from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM. The location varies so please check our calendar of events for location information. Visitors welcome!