BY MICHAEL REISIG –
If you like quality antiques, unusual contemporary items, interesting conversation, and a cozy environment that makes you want to come back, then you need to stop by The Cross-Eyed Cricket.
Owner Donna Wilson is long-time Mena resident but this has long since become home, and she loves it. “Wilson was born and raised in Dallas. She met her husband there when he came into town for business. They met, they fell in love and married, and he eventually took his bride back to his hometown of Mena, 36 years ago.
“It was a culture shock coming here from Dallas, but I love it here now,” Wilson said. “I taught school here for 13 years, then sort of retired, but I became active in the community then. I became a member of the Mena Art Gallery board, and the library board. I became involved in The Master Gardeners, and I worked for my church, but through the years I came to love antiques, and I always wanted to own an antique store.” With a smile Wilson said, “I figured at 74, it was time to do it. So, in February of 2013 I opened The Cross-Eyed Cricket.
“I love the location – right on Mena Street,” she continued. “What I wanted was a genuine antique store, not a flea market, although I do offer a few other things like special dry skin lotions, candles, soaps, refillable travel perfume bottles, and even very exotic cookies. My antiques are very reasonably priced. I want to be affordable – so I can continue to do what I like.”
Wilson also carries artist Tyron Lewis’ paintings, and modern jewelry, and “Shabby Chic” finished furniture, but her emphasis is on quality antique furniture.
“I frequent estate sales and watch for only the finest items,” she added. “Some of the unique antiques I carry are displays of miniature cannons, motorcycle clocks, a lot of fine glassware, and a collection of items from Italy, as well as needlework, unique posters and paintings, table clothes and linens, music boxes, and candlesticks.
“I love this business,” she added. “I love to go out and talk to people about their antiques and then come back and talk to people about my antiques! The thing with antiques is the joy they give you all your life. They’re a pleasure to have and to touch. It’s the excitement of finding something unique – when there’s only one of them. I’d love to have the people of Mena come by and experience this feeling with me. Come by, visit, and look around – see if you aren’t captured by the uniqueness of all this. I even removed the old stucco from the back wall of the building and returned the room to its original brick walls, as it was well over 100 years ago. The cabinets in the store are the original ones that were part of the old Norris Rexall Store from a century ago.”
Wilson loves the feeling of originality and she appreciates preserving the past, so those in the present can experience it. The Cross-Eyed Cricket is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“I have made wonderful friends here and they have supported me and made my life here in Mena a joy,” Wilson added. “I hope the Cross-Eyed Cricket can spread some of that joy.”