Best New Shop - 2009
The first time we walked into Smeeks, we weren't sure whether to clap our hands in glee — or cry. We really did tear up a little, after months of hearing about Georganne Bryant's dream to open a candy/novelty shop in the same complex as her wildly successful boutique, Frances. This place is a dream come true.
For us, too. Yes, absolutely, there are retail gems in this town, but let's be honest. They are few and far between. We're frankly sick of going to places like Portland and Los Angeles and lusting after their one-of-a-kind indie businesses.
Now we have this to say to the rest of the world: Eat your heart out, because we've got the candy. Smeeks was Bryant's childhood nickname, and kids are the main targets of this sweet little blue-and-red shop — but we've seen adults drop a good chunk of change, too, on everything from Abba Zabbas to crepe paper nut cups. And it's not just about candy and party goods. From sparklers shaped like numbers, hearts and stars to Japanese stickers to a wide assortment of dart guns, you can find something for anyone with a sense of humor, even if he doesn't have a sweet tooth. Smeeks got us nostalgic for the places of our Phoenix youth — Farrell's, Jutenhoops, Circus in Tempe. As you'd expect, Bryant's spit-shined it all into gleaming, gorgeous submission and presented it to the city on a silver platter — with free gumballs for everyone.
As she's fond of saying herself, we're just glad Bryant likes all that goofy, dumb stuff that we like, too.