Baton Rouge isa completely different city to shop in than it was in 2005. Over the years, dozens of boutiques have opened, some shops closed their doors, and others expanded.
And over the last decade, we’ve really seen the “makers movement,” with local creatives turning their jewelry- and clothes-making hobbies into businesses all over town. This has led to the creation of pop-ups like Mid City Makers Market, Scotland Saturdays and continued growth of shopping-driven events such as Hollydays and White Light Night.
Meanwhile, boutiques have increasingly turned to social media as an additional platform to sell their wares. And while Baton Rouge still has an incredible variety of brick-and-mortar shops, it is also now proof that you don’t have to have a storefront to run a successful business.
Here’s a look back at some of the biggest moments that made the local shopping scene what it is today.
1. Time Warp expands, fueling fashionistas’ obsession with all things retro. (2005)
When the vintage store moved into a larger spot on Government Street, it went from being a small Mid City shop to Louisiana’s largest vintage clothing store. Today, it is the go-to spot for tourists, movie stylists, creatives and vintage enthusiasts.
2. Perkins Rowe helps introduce us to mixed-use shopping attractions. (2007)
Towne Center changed Corporate Boulevard back in 2005, and Perkins Rowe has had a similar effect on the Perkins Road and Bluebonnet Boulevard intersection. The mixed-use development is home to restaurants, a movie theater, boutiques, an open green space, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks and residential spaces. Tenants have come and gone, but there always seems to be at least one exciting new shop to visit. In recent years, mixed-use developments have continued springing up everywhere from downtown to Gonzales.
3. Mimosa Handcrafted launches, eventually proving how a BR jewelry business can make it nationally. (2008)
In just over a decade, the business went from solely selling at markets to also being sold at local boutiques and to online customers across the country—and has even collaborated with the likes of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry. Other brands, such as million-dollar sweatshirt company Woolly Threads, have taken their products across the country.
4. Boutiques turn to social media—while keeping their storefronts alive, too. (2011-now)
The stylish sneaker boutique Sneaker Politics is a perfect example. The Lafayette-based shoe store opened its Baton Rouge shop in 2012, specializing in the hottest new sneaker releases and streetwear. And with more than 280,000 followers on Instagram, it has found success in both digital and retail spaces.
5. Record shops make a comeback. (2011-now)
Kerry Berry’s Atomic Pop Shop opened in 2011. It quickly became the hangout spot for music lovers, vinyl collectors and hipsters. After it was sold to new owners, Pop Shop Records moved to Mid City Ballroom in 2019. Another spot, Capital City Records opened on Perkins Road in 2014, giving locals more chances for crate digging.
6. The second stand-alone Lululemon in Louisiana opens in Baton Rouge. (2015)
Would it be fair to say the city has gotten even better at working out as it’s added more options for stylish workout gear? The wildly popular yoga apparel brand is set to expand its footprint this winter when it moves next door into the former space occupied by Provisions on Perkins and Galatoire’s Bistro.
Friends Paul Claxton, Justin Lemoine and Mimosa Handcrafted’s Dawson and Madeline Ellis wanted to create a community where visitors of all ages could experience and shop creations by local artists, makers, bakers, painters and creators. It’s since encouraged similar markets to pop up on monthly or annual schedules.
After popping up around Louisiana and the South and eventually transforming a van into a mobile boutique, store owner Abby Bullock made a permanent home on Perkins Road. Her store is a celebration of local designers like Krafty Kravingz, Strother Co. Apothecary and Abba + Nim, formerly known as Elohim + Nim—giving small businesses without a storefront a chance to showcase their work.
9. The first succulent boutique opens its doors. (2018)
Before it was an Instagram-worthy plant shop, Baton Rouge Succulent Co. started as a pop-up plant stand at local markets. Local nurseries have long drawn plant lovers, but this well-lit space packed with unique finds became the city’s first plant supplier with a highly curated style and selection. Last December, the design-driven Plant Studio at Outside Stimuli opened downtown. We hope this trend continues.
10. Baton Rouge designer takes New York Fashion Week. (2019)
Beneath the Bark jewelry designer Molly Taylor showcased her jewelry at the epicenter of New York fashion, helping put her on the radar of editors at magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair. Taylor uses reclaimed wood from pecan, sycamore, cherry, Louisiana sinker cypress and walnut trees to make her creations. She also uses other materials like stainless steel to create handmade necklaces, bracelets, earrings and cufflinks.
Local creatives Tyronecia Moore, Meghan Daniel and Gabby Murphy launched an event series for locals to sell secondhand clothing from their closets. It’s one example of a growing movement to make our wardrobes less wasteful.
13. Cortana Mall closes for good. (2019)
This mall, one of the city’s original mega shopping centers, opened in 1976. Over the years, business declined, the Mall of Louisiana opened in the ’90s, and Cortana became a ghost town before officially shutting down. Amazon nearly took over the space earlier this year, with plans to convert it into a 1 million-square-foot regional distribution center. But interestingly enough, it appears the still-open Dillard’s Clearance Center was the final holdout that killed the deal.
14. Sweet Baton Rouge opens the first retail shop in the new mixed-use venue Electric Depot. (2020)
The former T-shirt company went from selling locally inspired T-shirts to adding game-day wear, accessories, gifts and other Louisiana-inspired goods. It’s already been part of shopping pop-ups held at the venue, including a football style event this past September.
15. Vintage home decor shops draw younger shoppers. (Ongoing)
The 2016 opening of the mural-adorned Pink Elephant Antiques brought more than 35 dealers of vintage and eclectic home, clothing and gift items to Mid City. The same year, then-21-year-old Garrett Kemp bought The Market at Circa 1857, revamping the store’s layout, upping its social media presence and collaborating with nearby businesses on events. Both openings seemed to draw a new kind of shopper to the antique world: millennials and Gen Z’ers.