Pop-up prom in downtown Lawrence; south Iowa street retail development begins to open

I don’t know what you think of when you hear the phrase “pop-up prom,” but it causes me to grab the powder blue tux from the closet and the hair growth formula from the medicine cabinet. (I no longer can produce a mullet on demand.) A pair of downtown businesswomen, though, have a different idea. They’ve opened a “pop-up” prom store that specializes in formal dresses and accessories.

The Prom Haus has opened at 716 1/2 Massachusetts St. That’s the space where Euphoria tobacco shop used to be. If you are still confused about the location, its entrance is off the walkway that runs between Signs of Life and Eccentricity. Morgan Fellars, owner of Eccentricity, and Jena Dick, owner of J. Lynn Bridal, have teamed up to open the pop-up business, which is a type of store designed to be open only seasonally.

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“I have been mulling this over every prom season,” Dick said. “I knew I needed to do something to capitalize off of prom, but I didn’t have the space and I didn’t want to take on all of the expense. I like the idea of a pop-up store. It is like the Halloween stores. Those were my inspiration.”

What a coincidence. People tell me that my tuxedo reminds them of Halloween. You won’t have to worry about any of that type of nonsense, though. For one, the store doesn’t rent tuxedos. It sends the men to the tuxedo shop at J. Lynn Bridal. And on the dress front, Dick and Fellars think the store’s sense of style will set it apart.

“With me being in the dress world every day, I think I understand what people are looking for,” Dick said.

One of the things in demand is a variety of sizes. Dick said the store has “several hundred” dresses in stock ranging in size from 0 to 26. Too many stores stock only the average sizes, she said.

“Everybody needs a dress,” she said.

And, as Dick says, “every dress needs a nice pair of shoes.” The store sells shoes, jewelry and a few other pieces of prom accessories. While the shop is geared toward prom attire, Dick said she thinks the store also will attract business from other women who are attending some of the adult spring and summer formal events in Lawrence.

“Morgan and I are both in our 30s, so we like some mature styles, and we have brought some of them into the shop,” Dick said.

The store has been open for a couple of weeks and plans to remain open through mid-May. In case you are wondering, the first prom in the area is April 14 and the last one is May 5.

“We’ll definitely be open through then, and then we’ll probably do a big sale,” Dick said.

In other news and notes from around town:

• It definitely is not a pop-up store, but it is big news on the Lawrence store front. Hobby Lobby has opened its new store on south Iowa Street. Hobby Lobby has officially moved from its longtime home near 23rd and Ousdahl into the former J.C. Penney building at 33rd and Iowa streets.

The new store checks in at about 51,000 square feet, which is about 3,000 square feet larger than the old store. The project involved a complete remodeling and facelift for the old JC Penney store. The new Hobby Lobby includes a variety of arts and crafts departments, including floral, fabric, needle art, custom framing, home accents, jewelry making, scrapbooking and several others.

When the project is complete, the old J.C. Penney building will house three retailers. In addition to Hobby Lobby, work is underway on a 21,000 square foot HomeGoods store, which is part of the same chain as TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Five Below, a discount retailer that sells items for less than $5, is the third store. Look for the store, which says it caters to teens, pre-teens and their parents, to open any day. The company’s website lists March 9 as the grand opening date for the Lawrence store.

No word yet on a tenant for Hobby Lobby’s old space on 23rd Street.

• Do not panic. You again will be able to make a mess with peanut shells and eat entire paper sacks full of french fries. I had heard from some readers worried that Five Guys, a hamburger joint also known for its free peanuts and huge fry servings, had closed its south Lawrence location. It hasn’t. The restaurant at 2040 W. 31st St. is temporarily closed for remodeling. I checked, and the building permit already has been issued by the city, so get back on your cholesterol medicine ASAP. I’ll let you know if I hear of a reopening date or more details about the remodel.