Pinky Punky Store to Close After Almost 40 Years

by Jan Cottingham  on Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2013 4:35 pm  

Pinky Punky, the women's clothing store known for its fanciful apparel, is closing its doors after almost 40 years in Little Rock and its owners are retiring.

Caroline Cossey, who owns the store with partner Lou New, said the store would shut down on Saturday, June 29. Until then, all merchandise is 50 percent off.

Cossey and New, both of Little Rock, opened the Arrangement in Colony West in about 1973 with partner Nell Cossey, Caroline Cossey's mother and New's sister. Nell Cossey died in 2007. The Arrangement featured upscale women's sportswear.

After Breckenridge Village was developed, the partners opened Pinky Punky there in about 1975 but kept the Arrangement open for 18 months or so until their lease in Colony West expired. Pinky Punky stayed in Breckenridge Village until 2010, when the partners moved the store to Pleasant Ridge.

Pinky Punky was known for "fun" clothing, Cossey said. "We didn't sell anything to wear to work. We didn't sell anything to wear to church," Cossey said. "It was just fun stuff. If you're going on a trip and you wanted something fun. If you were going out that night and you wanted something fun."

"If they were going to Vegas, you can bet that they were coming here," Cossey said of her customers.

The store also sold "short, sassy cocktail dresses" and long evening gowns and was a player in the central Arkansas prom scene, along with charity events and other dress-up occasions.

The store's logo is a pair of shocking pick lips and one radio ad ran, "Pucker up, baby. Pinky Punky is here," Cossey said, adding that the store featured "a big lip sofa." The store's latest tag line was "Every day is a special occasion … so dress for it."

In the summer, the store's slow time, it was staffed just by Cossey, New and one or two other workers, but during prom time Pinky Punky employed four or five other sales assistants.

The store has supported the partners "very, very well," Cossey said, but health issues brought her to the realization that "I could not stand up all day anymore on a concrete floor. So we decided let's retire." The only plans the partners have are to take it easy and to travel.



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