Local couple to restore building’s history

The building in question is actually two storefronts, which at some point in history were combined into one, and no photos can be located of the righthand storefront.

At 250 E. Main Street, the historic building that most recently housed Babb’s Upholstery and at one time was Harris’s, is going through another rebirth in its approximately 100-year life.

Stella’s Brick Oven Pizzeria and Bistro will soon take its place at the location as the newest addition to the ever-growing downtown district.

But first, owners Doug and Laurie Gottschalk are restoring the building to its original design — which, interestingly enough, is a mystery.

The building in question is actually two storefronts, and at some point in history were combined into one. Despite working with state preservation specialists, the local Main Street Batesville organization, and the Old Independence Regional Museum, no photos can be located of the right-hand storefront. Photos are usually readily available of most all downtown properties, but in the few that were located, the right-hand building is obstructed by parade floats, etc., or just out of view of the camera.

An old photo shows the building but is too blurry and obstructed by the parade to inform the construction. Courtesy of OIRM.
A photo of historic Main Street shows the lefthand storefront (circled) but not the righthand storefront. Courtesy OIRM.

The building(s) is currently covered over in aluminum, by means of a ‘slipcover’, a method used mid-century to try to make old buildings look more modern.


The building is suspected to be stucco or brick underneath the slipcover, although stone is a possibility as well, “so removal of the metal slipcover will be imperative to determine what materials exist and what restoration will need to be done,” the Gottschalks informed the city’s Historic District Commission (HDC), the approval authority on any changes to downtown commercial buildings.

The HDC approved the removal of the current metal slipcover to further investigate the situation, and commended the Gottchalks on their thorough research of restoration standards to ensure the building is properly restored to its original state.

“We love Main Street and we want to honor these two separate facades as they are intended to be,” the owner explained of the project, which on the exterior will once again be two separate storefronts, but on the interior, will function as one large space for the pizzeria.

They have also found a supplier of original “vitro lit glass” — a type of decorative tile found on several downtown buildings, including this one. They have ordered replacement glass that will perfectly match the originals, now broken.

The project is being completed by M&A Jones Construction Company.

Once open, the Gottschalks plan to serve Neapolitan style pizza — arguably the first type of pizza made in Italy. Neapolitan style pizza eventually gave rise to American adaptations of the pizza made by Italian immigrants to the United States in the early 20th century.


Also offered will be classic Italian desserts such as pizzelles and a gelato bar.

Work is currently in progress on the building. We will post updates as they unravel!

Local studio offers yoga instructor certification course

The 8-month certification course is the first of its kind in Batesville, with classes beginning in February and meeting one weekend a month.

Locals will soon have the opportunity to become certified yoga instructors, thanks to an upcoming 200-hour course offered by Yoga7, a Batesville studio.

The course is the first of its kind in Batesville, with training sessions beginning in February. It requires one weekend per month for eight months to achieve certification, and will feature master teachers.

All graduates will receive Registered Yoga Teachers (RYT®s) status from the Yoga Alliance.

“There are certain guidelines Yoga Alliance has if you want to be certified through them, and it’s really the best certification because then you can go anywhere in the world and teach — their certification is accepted everywhere,” Roman Plaks, owner of Yoga7, said.

February is coming up. Has there been any interest?

“I thought if we just got five or six people interested, I’d be happy as can be,” he said, and so far there have been 19 potential yoga students reach out.

Of those enrolled, interestingly, the majority are motivated to learn for purposes other than just to teach, Plaks said.

“There are so many different reasons. Yes, I have a couple that do want to teach, but there are other uses [for the certification],” he said.

Some examples: One enrollee works at a high school and hopes to incorporate the knowledge into the physical education curriculum. Another is a physician who wants to use it to help patients. And yet another is a retiree who wants the training to assist with a fitness group.

“And a lot of the people who have gone through yoga teacher training, it’s just for themselves,” said Jordan Tavernor, one of the studio’s instructors. “They may have no intention of teaching or even bringing it into their vocation. They just learn a lot about their own bodies and work on that mind-body connection. So it can be a personal thing instead of a professional investment.”

Enrolling in the course has no prerequisite for any yoga experience, and Tavernor says that’s a good thing.

“It’s actually cool when you get [students with no experience] in the teacher training because if you have everyone in the room that’s super bendy and super advanced in their practice, then sometimes you forget how to teach the basics and the fundamentals from the beginning,” Tavernor said. “It’s better when you have more diversity and people of different backgrounds.”

Throughout the course of the eight months, students will have hands-on classes, four required course resources, teaching practice, and more.

Why does it take eight months?

“It should take a long time,” Plaks said of the length of the class. Breaking it out into one weekend every month makes it more feasible for people, and also allows students time to absorb the material.

“These folks will be able to teach and lead a group, and they’ll be able to compose their sequences properly,” he said. “That’s the important part — in what order do poses go and why.”

More about Yoga7

Yoga7 recently opened as the first full-service yoga studio in Batesville, and offers 44 classes per week, most taught by the owner himself, to fit various schedules and abilities.

Besides traditional classes, the studio hosts special events like Yoga in the Park, Wine & Yoga, and has even conducted sports yoga to help area athletes including football players, wrestlers, and baseball players with balance and flexibility.

Newly added is Office Yoga.

“I do a 30-minute no-mat yoga class where I’ll go to the business and work with their employees,” Tavernor explained.

“It’s just 30 minutes, you can wear regular clothes. You don’t have to have a mat or anything, and everybody feels super good the rest of the day.”

Upcoming specialty workshops include a knee and shoulder workshop on January 26, and two others in February addressing hip and thoracic spine issues.

To learn more about how to become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT®) without having to leave Independence County, click here. Or email Roman at roman.yoga7@gmail.com.

To see a quick overview of Yoga7’s prices, click here.

Organizer turns talents into a new local business

In less than two months, Beka McCormick has seen her professional organizing and home cleaning business, McCormick Maid, take off.

As Beka sits in the cookware-strewn floor and goes through the deepest reaches of the bottom kitchen cabinets for a client, she asks thoughtful questions:

“How often do you use this?”

“You have another one of these — do you need them both?’

“Are you attached to this?”

The answers to those questions determine where the object in question will go — within easy reach, out of sight on a higher shelf, or in one of the two big trash bags beside her: one for “give away” and the other for “throw way”.

As she makes her way through the kitchen, she is attentive the client’s lifestyle and everyday needs.

It’s all part of her process so that when the culling part is over, she knows exactly how to put the whole thing back together in the most efficient and functional way.

In fewer than two months, Beka McCormick has seen her professional organizing and home cleaning business, McCormick Maid, take off.

She’s always love organization, even as a teenager, she recalls.

“I’ve been doing this for myself and family about 5ish years but I just started doing it for people outside of family last month,” she explains. “I’ve had so many people asked me to come the more before and after pictures that I show.”

The pictures are admittedly gratifying. She posts photos of piled-high closets turned into perfect rows of clothes and bare floors.

“I would say people’s biggest problem areas are closets and cabinets, because that’s just a catch-all. It’s easy when you’re cleaning to just throw stuff in and not look at it.”

Beka, the mother of a 6-year old, a toddler, and a baby, is no stranger to just how quickly a house can become out of control. But she offers her main tips to keep things in check:

  • Pick up as you go
  • Clean things as you notice them. “If you open and a cabinet and you realize there are crumbs or dust, clean it right then instead of thinking you’ll come back later.” (“You won’t,” she advises.)
  • If you haven’t used it in the past year, get rid of it.
  • Eliminate duplicates. “Some things, I get it: you might need two large pots if you’re cooking a lot of food at once. But most things are unnecessary. You don’t need two sets of measuring cups. You don’t need two mixers.”
  • Keep things off the floor, and off the counters. “It makes the house look so much cleaner just to have those bare.”


“Most people just want me to do a de-clutter of their whole house, and we just work room by room,” she says of her process, adding that she also offers house cleaning. “But I enjoy the de-cluttering and organizing part way more than the cleaning part. So I’m trying to promote that more. This is definitely my zone.”

She says either way, it’s satisfying work to look back on the difference.

“It makes people happy and it helps people,” she said.

McCormick Maid is on both Facebook and Instagram and offers online bookings.



Shopping local for Christmas: BirdCage Vintage Market

Sunday afternoon I needed to “run errands”…

birdcage vintage.jpg In November of 2018, Paul and Dorajo McDonald opened The Birdcage Vintage Market, which has more than 10,000 square feet of goods for sale. Though vintage is in the name, they also have new home decor, boutique clothing, and handcrafted items, offered by more than 75 vendors.

Dorajo commented she has been grateful for the local support she has experienced and the help she continues to get from her family and church friends.

IMG_3022Sunday afternoon I needed to “run errands”…

My phrase for: I need to get out of the house but not spend any money.  I’m just going to look.

My husband’s phrase for: she will undoubtedly come back with bags in hand.

I “ran errands” at The BirdCage Vintage Market, and well, I came back with bags full of ornaments and a piece of furniture in the back of the SUV.

Before I could even get in the house door I was yelling warnings like, “These ornaments were too cheap and too sweet not to get!  Christmas memories, right?!”

Husband:  What is that in the back of the car? Me: Silence… “I love Christmas! Here, just LOOK at these ornaments.”

CHRISTMAS ITEMS

IMG_3033IMG_3032

Someone grab this vintage beauty!

Then put on your finest garb, grab your gloves and strike a pose like these anonymous legends:

These women know how to do Christmas!

I feel like this was the era where the woman had to be photographed by her tree and man had to be photographed by his car.

So many great Christmas ornaments and decorations.

EVERY DAY ITEMS

I would put every one of these items in my home.  I’m drawn to anything that looks like it would pair well with a cigar or pipe.

And you might need to know, they have a great selection of brass!

I carried home a large collection of brass candlestick holders that included the candle sticks that our household now lights every night for the Advent season.

This booth has the cutest handcrafted, wooden toys.

This is the booth where my youngest son shops, and with the variety of flavors of taffy and his struggle to make decisions,  I can walk through the whole market and find him still not ready to check out.

If you have yet to make it out to The BirdCage Vintage Market, then seriously, grab a friend and go “run errands”.

The BirdCage Vintage Market: a community of vendors who specialize in old & new, home decor, fashion, handmade goods, & much more.  Located 3 miles north of Batesville, AR on Hwy 167, at 3470 N. Saint Louis St.

Tomahawk Chop opens on Main Street

Tomahawk Chop Company is the newest business downtown, adding another entertainment activity to the growing district — and a somewhat unusual one at that.

“It’s an ax throwing entertainment center,” owner Mike Moss described of the new business, located next to door to the Main Attire boutique and The Royal on Main, downtown’s new luxury hotel.

He said Batesville is overdue for more activity-based businesses.

“You can go to the movies and you can go bowling or you can go to a bar… but there’s not much for people to do so we decided to do this,” Moss said, adding that his son Drew is involved in the undertaking as well, handling marketing and IT. Both have enjoyed ax throwing as a personal hobby.

“It’s gaining a lot of interest. It started in Canada, and has come down through the Northeast and is making its way across the United States,” Moss said. “It will garner enough interest to be popular for quite a while I think, because it’s easy to do and you don’t have to be great at it to have fun.” 

Moss said the fact that everyone can do it is one of the reasons he chose the building downtown: it has a wheelchair ramp and he wanted that accessibility.

“We looked around town at different locations… There were a couple on Harrison Street, and we thought about high traffic areas. But parking lots can be kind of hard to get in and out of, and this is kind of an eclectic activity, so downtown kind of made sense… People that come down here come for a purpose, and it’s growing here — you’ve got The Melba, several stores, 109 that’s about to be opened back up, The Pinto, Big’s… It fits with the vibe.”

The space is currently being built out with lanes, each one 10 feet wide and built according to regulation for the leagues associated with the sport:  World Axe Throwing League, International Axe Throwing Federation, and National Axe Throwing Federation. The center will offer about 5 lanes, plus a seating area and a snack bar. Patrons will pay for an hour of play, with the second hour discounted. Admission to the center will be limited to ages 14 and up, with all participants required to sign a waiver.

“You’ll go through a 10-minute safety orientation with one of our staff. They’ll show you how to do it, how not to do it, and make sure you have all the proper attire like closed-toed shoes and no loose jewelry,” Moss explained. “The axes weight between 1.8 and 2.4 pounds each, so it’s a little bit of a workout. You’ll use both hands most of the time, but we’ll have some little axes you can throw with one hand.”

Tomahawk Chop Company is detailing their progress on their Facebook page which has already garnered over 1,000 followers prior to even opening. 

Moss says he gets frequent calls from people anticipating their first visit.