The Loft – from our Downtown Dexter Issue (Oct 16)

Photo – Employees at The Loft prepare espresso for a cappuccino

After Jonesboro, Ark., native Brian Crawford retired from Lowe’s, he knew he was too young to sit around and watch paint dry.

Instead, he bought an old building in downtown Dexter and began applying paint himself.

He modeled and remodeled, ordered furniture and dry goods from Europe, coffees and teas from places some folks can’t pronounce, truffles and candies from faraway lands and opened a store perhaps best described by Louis Carroll as “curioser and curioser.”

He called it The Loft.

That was about five years ago, he said. Then, just when the place was a bright star in its infancy, came the dark time.

“We lost the store to fire in 2012,” he said. “It burned to the ground.”

The blaze began adjacent to his store and spread quickly, he said.

Rather than throw in the towel, Crawford rolled up his sleeves and began to rebuild.

He bought the property where the fire started and remodeled it into an outdoor patio where his guests might enjoy their sweets and beverages outdoors.

The store is a wonderland for each of the five senses. “Eclectic,” is Crawford’s single-word description of The Loft.

SEMO TIMES agrees.

Visitors to The Loft better have some time on their hands for shopping. Unless you might be the person on the go who stops in every morning for coffee, or to visit with the latest addition to The Loft’s family, Zeke, a very friendly King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.

From designer jewelry, French truffles and chocolates, custom blended teas and coffees, bric-a-brac and furniture to the store’s own designs – like the stately English front doors and restoration furniture – The Loft defies description and must simply be experienced.

“It is so different,” Crawford said as he surveyed his masterpiece. “We were able to bring so many aspects of other places, other stores, other cities, here to Dexter.

“We are very pleased with that,” he continued. “We have a very nice mix of the old and the new. They interact to create The Loft.”


Written by

Journalist Steve Hankins is the latest addition to the SEMO Times family. Steve is an award-winning writer and a 1999 graduate of Missouri State University at Springfield.He wrote professionally for a number of publications, including The Mississippi Rag, the Nation's Voice for Jazz and Ragtime Music; The Branson Tri-Lakes Daily News; The Jonesboro Arkansas Sun; and the Daily Dunklin Democrat at Kennett, Mo. As a Sun staff writer, Steve was awarded first place by Arkansas Associated Press Managing Editors for a community service series that explored the state's methamphetamine issue. While at Missouri State, Steve earned The Quill and Scroll Award, the sole honor bestowed by the university annually for excellence in journalism. As a student, he served as music editor for The Free Press of the Ozarks, a tabloid newspaper published at Springfield, Mo. Steve earned a bachelor of science in communication with an emphasis in journalism and minored in creative writing while at Missouri State. He is the son of Malden's Lloyd Elmer and Alice Mae Hankins and lives at Malden with wife Angela; nine-year-old twin daughters Emmalee Jane and Alice Ray; and six-year-old daughter Ella Camille.