The new year is starting off strong as Springfield welcomes some new shops and businesses to town. 

Sweet Emotion – 322 South Avenue, Springfield

There’s a new sweet treat in downtown Springfield: oat milk-based ice cream. It’s a smidge unusual; it’s vegan and dairy-free, and it comes in some unusual colors. The ice creams at Sweet Emotions, which opened up in November, are black if you order chocolate and red if you get vanilla. These moody shades of deliciousness are a nod to the walk-up shop’s emo inspiration, and the music-themed names of the new weekly flavors are inspired by the adjacent music venue, the Outland Ballroom. If you want something with a little more excitement in your cup or cone, be sure to follow Sweet Emotions on Facebook to see what new flavors and topping combinations drop each week. Past delights have included a Reese’s Peanut Butter x Chocolate ice cream and ice cream sandwiches, plus they have fruit-forward Dream Whips that you can mix into a float.

Retro Metro – 2150 W. Republic Road, Springfield

For those who have long enjoyed Springfield’s restaurant scene, some of the menu items at Retro Metro will sound familiar. That’s because Retro Metro is essentially the sister restaurant of another Springfield mainstay—Metropolitan Grill. Retro Metro opened in December and features some of the best selling dishes that have graced the menu at Metropolitan Grill. Of course, the Flash Fried Spinach can be ordered, but so can other hits including the Cotter Calamari with its flour-dusted squid tossed in citrus and Parmesan. And for those diners who enjoy a bit of nostalgia, take note. Each dish features the month and year that item showed up on the menu at Metropolitan Grill.

Fleur Floral Studio1423 E. Cherry Street, Suite 101, Springfield

A new neighbor is getting ready to open on the corner of Cherry Street and Pickwick Avenue in Springfield: Fleur Floral Studio. The creator of this corner shop is Rose Hazel Cochran, owner and lead designer at Fleur Floral Studio. Cochran is moving back to Springfield from Bentonville to open the shop and says the location in the Rountree neighborhood was a no-brainer. 

“In college, my husband and I dated long distance, and every time he would come to visit, we would always finish our dates with a walk through the Rountree neighborhood,” she says. “It’s always been an area that’s special to us.”

Fleur will offer custom floral arrangements for events big and small, and of course, weddings. Cochran also says she plans on hosting classes and will have a signature bloom bar where customers can swing by and pick out individual stems the shop will then arrange. The grand opening is scheduled for February 6, and Rose will start taking Valentine’s Day pre-sales on January 21.

Collective Kitchen

If there was one big winner in 2020, it was sourdough. Home bakers of all skill levels spent much of last year trying out their own sourdough starters. And that includes Alex Maurer who decided to launch a cottage sourdough operation in the Rountree neighborhood called Collective Kitchen. Deliveries and pickups are contactless, and Alex gathers orders by email each week from her subscription list. 

“Loaves take about thirty hours to make,” she says. That’s partly why she limits the number of loaves she makes each week. If you’re craving sourdough, you can get on her email list by emailing [email protected]

The Collective Kitchen concept actually started long before the pandemic hit, when Alex helped host regular yoga retreats. Attendees loved her catering so much that she decided to start Collective Kitchen as a side business. She and her business partner Ingrid Chiles catered popup picnics and a few select events with plans to open their own storefront. Then COVID hit, and the two had to put their big plans on hold. But that hasn’t stopped Alex from mixing up fresh sourdough each week. In fact, the loaves have been so popular that Collective Kitchen will now partner with the local farm Urban Roots to be the bread supplier for CSA subscribers.