Splendid local shops and well-anchored malls form the outer edges of a market that continues to build and to surprise with its bounty and variety of shopping.
Shopping in the Roanoke Region can be both fun and challenging. Fun, because the area has a strong collection of unique spots selling everything from hot fashions to fly fishing tackle and trendy cookware. The challenge comes with finding those places because many are tucked away like hidden treasures.
Shopping destinations reside in two large malls, strip malls (often home to unusual shops) and specialty shops in downtown Roanoke or near neighborhood villages, plus a couple of spots well off the beaten path.
Valley View, near the Blacksburg-Roanoke Regional Airport off I-581, and Tanglewood, on Electric Road where Roanoke and Roanoke County lines meet, are the local/regional malls. Macy’s and Belk anchor Valley View. Here, too, are such national names as Eddie Bauer, Loft, Old Navy and two welcome newcomers, H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) with its European-influenced fashion, and Francesca’s, an accessory and gift boutique.
H&M shoppers are finding different looks at really nice prices. Also important is the shop’s respectable section for larger-size women. Francesca’s purses (and their prices) are especially appealing, and it is a good spot for fun seasonal items.
Belk, a regional chain, is the major presence at Tanglewood Mall, near the Roanoke City-southwest Roanoke County line. Here, too, are TJ Maxx and JCPenney, along with Bath and Body Works. Both malls have Barnes & Noble bookstores.
The Strip Centers
The strip malls houses many of the region’s specialty shops. The largest collection can be found at Towers Shopping Center on Colonial Avenue in Roanoke, one of the oldest centers in the area and now one of its most vibrant.
Christy’s women’s shop with current fashion at modest prices, the Gone Coco haven for flax lovers, A Little Bit Hippy’s throwback charm and the newly renovated Bush Flora Shoes are clustered near Piety, with over-the-top pies. All are locally owned, as is Present Thyme on the center’s outer edge, which combines designer home furnishings, gifts and clothing.
Grand Pavilion, across from Tanglewood Mall, gets its name from its main occupant, Grand Home Furnishings. Here, too, are a second location for Davidson’s menswear, the upscale Frances Kahn women’s boutique, and Provisions and RSVP’s kitchenware and gifts.
Promenade Park, 3550 Electric Road, hosts a variety of stores including Wine Gourmet and Joran’s Interiors.
The Shoppes at West Village and West Village Shopping Center, 3549 and 3565 Electric Road, Roanoke, have retail and restaurants, and are across from Promenade Park.
Towne Square, near Valley View Mall and the airport, houses some of the popular national names – Sam’s Club, Marshalls and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Also on site is Ginger’s Jewelry, owned by local resident Ginger Mumpower.
The Forum, on Starkey Road, has an accumulation of stores ranging from the area’s only furrier, Henri Kessler Furs and Outerwear, to Jos. A Bank, Chico’s and Talbots national names, and the regional and local shops Yarid’s shoes and Blue Mountain Gems Designer Jewelry.
Downtown Roanoke entices shoppers with a variety of spots that include Davidsons for men and La De Da for women. Owner Larry Davidson’s addition of Jacks Men’s Fine Grooming and Valet Services only enhanced his downtown location’s broad offerings of hand-tailored clothes, including dress shirts, as well as off-the-rack top names for men.
With La De Da’s offbeat collection of clothing, shoes, accessories and home items, it’s practically impossible to leave the shop empty-handed. And don’t miss the quirky Appalachia Press on Salem Ave.