“We’re pretty proud of our little block,” said Crestwood Flowers owner Ruth Ann Swearingin as she leaned on the counter, watching the rain fall outside through the stems of orchids in the window.
Crestwood Flowers is the oldest business on the block of Crestwood Shops on 55th Street, from Oak Street to Brookside Boulevard, and Swearingin has owned it for 38 years.
The block was J.C. Nichols’ first shopping center and was originally far more utilitarian, meeting the needs of stay-at-home moms who didn’t have a car. There were grocery stores and hair salons and a hardware store, explained Swearingin.
The shops have have become far more elegant in the passing years. But still, not only are the shops all locally owned, the properties themselves are owned by a group of the shop proprietors, so they can keep control of the spaces and curate a one of a kind shopping experience.
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“Best oysters in the city,” said Robert Paradise, who was enjoying dinner with wife Julie on the Aixois patio recently. “We love it.”
The block is a celebration of the finer things in life. From the elegant men’s and women’s clothing of Hudson & Jane to the vast selection of well-chosen wines from Underdog Wine Co. to farm-to-table food from Cafe Europa, the Crestwood Shops offer sophisticated gifts and food and drink with a hyper-local focus.