There was a time when the windows lining the Main Street storefronts of downtown Joplin reflected the latest trends in fashionable clothing.

There were men’s stores, women’s stores, shoe stores, music stores, novelty shops, hardware stores, furniture stores and department stores. Each would advertise its brands by displaying them in the windows at the front of the store. Initially, retailers thought it best to display as many products as possible in the hope that something might catch the eye of potential customers who passed by those windows.

That approach would gradually fall from favor as retailers realized that it was better to emphasize one or two products and do it in a way that would make the product irresistible.

The opening last week of Rosa Bella Bridal and Formal Boutique at the southwest corner of Fifth and Main streets reminds me of the magic that once existed in storefront windows up and down Main Street. In this instance, wedding dresses have been displayed in a solitary way through which the quality of the product speaks for itself.

This new boutique, in the making since November, has been opened by Jami Wilbert-Patterson, of Pittsburg, Kansas. She helps her mother, Shirley Wilbert, run the Rosa Bella Boutique that has existed in Pittsburg for 34 years. These women have lots of experience in the bridal business. Wilbert-Patterson is also a sales representative for a bridal manufacturer and has operated a travel agency for the past 18 years.

“We will carry all of the major lines and custom designs,’’ Wilbert-Patterson said. “We’ll have dresses for mothers and bridesmaids and tuxedos for men.’’

The shop has one of those carpeted platforms on which the bride will be able to model her prospective choices for friends and family. If you have ever seen an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress,’’ you’re familiar with the drama that can unfold on that platform. One episode of that for me was enough to last a lifetime.

The opening of this boutique might create an opportunity for some synergy with other businesses in downtown Joplin that have a connection to the bridal business. There are bridal reception venues, photographers, caterers, gift stores, art shops and jewelers downtown that could benefit from the opening of this shop.

The new Caroline’s

If you are looking for a fun place to take the kids for some ice cream or something sweet, the new Caroline’s in the historic Gryphon Building at 10th and Main streets might be just the place.

The place was hopping with happy children when I visited Caroline’s after its grand opening on June 1. The store has expanded its line of fine chocolates, which are being imported from Asher’s Chocolate Co. in Lewiston, Pennsylvania. It also is selling an award-winning brand of coffee, Onyx. It’s ironic that this coffee has become so popular at Caroline’s because the Gryphon Building in its early days operated a coffee roaster that produced significant sales for the Inter-State Grocery Co.

Like a kid in a candy store, I couldn’t resist two milk chocolate creations that featured large clusters of pecans and cashews. They were a couple of dollars each, but they were worth it.

While you’re in the Gryphon, take some time to check out the Local Color Art Gallery. I found two things that will make perfect birthday gifts.

No word yet on what will fill the space recently vacated by Ye Olde King Pizza. Word on the street has it that a new restaurant will open there in late July or early August. I have heard the restaurant will have a Springfield connection, but don’t hold me to that.

Wally Kennedy is a reporter and columnist for The Joplin Globe.

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