BY JACLYN ROSE –
Mike Gallaway spent his career working for the Department of Corrections in California. Several years before retirement, Gallaway and his wife, Kathy, decided to visit friends who had moved to Mountain Home, Arkansas. During their vacation, they rented a car and drove around the state, they stopped in Mena and ate dinner at The Chopping Block, never dreaming one day they would make this their home. However, the state of Arkansas and town of Mena left a lasting impression on the Gallaways, and as their retirement moved closer they remembered Polk County and decided to buy land in Cove, Arkansas.
While Gallaway enjoyed life as a retiree, he found himself looking for something else to do with his extra time. “I got bored. I was never not going to do anything, and I was good for a while, but I got to the point where I was waiting for pasture to grow so I could mow it,” said Gallaway with a laugh. In March of 2003, Gallaway felt it was time to put in a store, and when property in Historic Downtown Mena became available, they decided to purchase it. Instead of opening a typical antique store, the Gallaway’s chose a more unique route and opened the Cowboy and Indian Trading Post. Located at 515 Sherwood Avenue, across from the Train Depot, Cowboy and Indian Trading Post specializes in American Southwest and Native American Artifacts. Having lived in the western portion of the country for close to 50 years, they were already knowledgeable about the culture, as well as being collectors themselves.
Cowboy and Indian Trading Post has made a name for themselves by carrying unique and quality goods. They have visitors from all over the country and state, as well as, many wonderful local customers. “We carry an inventory of over 2,000 pieces of turquoise jewelry. We continue to visit the Pueblos in New Mexico where we purchase the jewelry, as well as, pottery and Indian artifacts. Each year, even with a poor economy, our sales have continued to increase. We offer a variety of other items, such as purses, rugs, blankets, lamps, cowhides, gift items, civil war items and many museum quality antiques. No junk, just the best quality and the best prices,” explained Gallaway. “It seems like people really wanted this kind of thing, but in Arkansas there just weren’t that many places to find it. We try to keep our prices reasonable, and we also offer layaway, so people can pick out something and pay for it a little at a time.”
Cowboy and Indian Trading Post is open Tuesday through Saturday and can be reached by calling 479.243.9394.
“Mena is probably twenty years behind and that is what I really like about it. When we first moved here, I drove down the road in my pickup and people would wave at me. I asked my wife, ‘are they waving at me?’ and I started waving back. I wasn’t used to that, but it’s a great place and our customers are great people,” said Gallaway.