Fig Garden Village’s newest store is open and long-awaited changes are finally happening at the shopping center.
Paper Source opened last weekend and local retailers – Aporjon Leather & Luggage, Heart & Sole Comfort Shoes and a Deli Delicious – are settling into their new homes in a different part of the center as they make way for other retailers.
Perhaps the most eagerly awaited new store, Anthropologie, isn’t open yet. The popular women’s clothing store will leave its Fashion Fair location and move to Fig Garden. Neither the center’s owners nor the store will say when, but construction workers are plugging along and say they may be finished with their work relatively soon.
The new Paper Source store is already attracting customers who make a point of checking out the store when they’re in other cities.
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The store sells all kinds of paper goods: Envelopes, custom invitations, personalized stationery, planners, calendars that can be turned into gift tags when the year is done and a wall of greeting cards.
Halloween decor is front and center right now, and the store will carry products for each season.
A corner of the store holds large sheets of paper ranging from classy floral prints to funky ones like a giant skull, the periodic table and rows of beer bottles. The paper can be used as wrapping paper or in card-making. The store also sells poster kits that include a frame for people who want to hang it on a wall.
Paper Source has gifts for kids and others, including a unicorn rescue kit (a stuffed animal unicorn with an adoption certificate) and a book called “Dragons Love Tacos” that comes with a stuffed dinosaur eating a taco.
The store will also host workshops on topics like modern-day calligraphy.
Paper Source feels bigger than its predecessor in the spot, the former Uncle Harry’s New York Bagelry & Coffee House. The kitchen has been turned into sales floor space.
Many Fresnans were saddened and angry to see the locally owned hangout close last spring. Some accused Rouse Properties, the New York-based owner of the center since 2015, of favoring national tenants over local ones.
The center said in a statement then that it takes pride in its “healthy blend of both national brands and those that are owned and operated by business men and women from the area.”
Around the same time, La Boulangerie French Bakery & Cafe got new owners who signed a 10-year lease. The bakery has started selling mimosas and will begin offering weekend breakfasts in a month or two.
But nothing else will change at the bakery, which has a loyal following.
“Why fix it if it’s not broken?” said Taj Rakkar, one of the owners.
Deli Delicious is about to open its new spot any day now. The restaurant left its location near Uncle Harry’s and has moved to the same building as Wayside Noodles, in the northeast corner of the center. It’s been closed for several weeks while work was finished on the new space.
Aporjon and Heart & Sole have also moved into that corner.
Just who are all these stores are making room for? That’s still unknown. The typically tight-lipped center and its owner are keeping quiet about their plans.
In the last few years, the center has brought in new stores, including clothing store Madewell (a sister store to J. Crew), skateboarding and clothing shop Active Ride Shop and high-end workout wear seller lululemon. Ariat, a store for people “who live their lives in boots and jeans,” opened its first brick-and-mortar store ever in the center.
Several empty spaces from retailers that have left the center remain unfilled. Fashion jewelry store Viva La Vault and Top Drawer, which sold Vera Bradley handbags and stationery, both left Fig Garden after expressing frustration at lease negotiations.
Viva La Vault became Viva Boutique after moving to Old Town Clovis. At 453 Pollasky Ave. next to House of JuJu, the store still carries jewelry and sunglasses, but has added clothing and gifts.
Top Drawer (which still has a River Park location) became The Stringer at Top Drawer. It shares space at Palm and Bullard avenues with a tennis-racquet stringing service and carries some tennis-related products.