Feinstein’s is a fashion landmark located in the quaint Heights neighborhood of Little Rock. For almost 60 years, this iconic boutique has specialized in high-end women’s apparel, accessories, and cosmetics. Known for their exceptional service, Feinstein’s sales associates are driven purely by their enthusiasm for providing a relaxed and enjoyable shopping experience.
Feinstein’s opened in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957 as Feinstein’s California Casuals in the newly developed area called Pulaski Heights.
“No one in Little Rock carried ‘California clothes’ because no one went to California to buy!” explains Ann Williams, who now owns the boutique along with her daughter, Jill Ricciardone.
Williams’ father, Howard Feinstein, had worked in the retail industry for years as the merchandise manager at Pfeifer’s when he eventually retired in 1956. But little did he know, he’d be selling dresses again in no time.
“My mother couldn’t stand having him around with nothing to do, so she rented the space,” says Williams.
That space was “destined to become one of Little Rock’s most fashionable ladies’ stores,” according to Carolyn LeMaster’s A History of the Jewish Experience in Arkansas.
In 1969, Ann Feinstein Williams took over the family business after both of her parents passed away within the same month. Williams had “never bought a thing” when she went to market in Los Angeles for the first time.
With a 6-month-old and 3 other children under the age of 10, Williams had no intentions of ever working.
“I didn’t know one woman who worked,” says Williams. “No [woman] worked back then, but I loved it from the very beginning.”
Back then, women came into Feinstein’s with the change of the seasons to buy an entire new wardrobe. Whether they were needing an outfit for bridge at the club, church on Sunday, or accompanying their husbands at business parties, Feinstein’s had what they needed and wanted.
“It was all dresses… We had shorts, bathing suits, but women didn’t wear pants. They were all housewives. It was a whole different world.”
After some time, Williams started attending market in Dallas, and eventually New York; the store became known as simply “Feinstein’s,” as traveling to California was no longer necessary.
A few years after the boutique moved down the street to its current location in the Heights Theater, Williams’ daughter Jill moved home to Little Rock to help with the store. They’ve traveled to market and run the family business together since 1990.
“[My mom] has been very open to updating and changing. We’ve never had a problem,” says Ricciardone.
The mom-daughter duo agrees that if they were to look at a line separately, they would almost always choose to buy the same exact pieces.
“When we find something that appeals to both of us personally, we know we’ve found something that our customers will relate to and really like.”
Today, both Ricciardone and Williams are at the boutique every day helping generations of women—working and non-working—find exactly what they’re lifestyle and wardrobe demands.
“[Our customers] like to come in to the store. Some of them come in every week… Some of them come every other day,” says Williams. “They become our friends.”
After almost 60 years, this family establishment continues to provide Little Rock women with a fashionable and comfortable escape that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.