BY MICHAEL REISIG –
What-Knots is Mena’s newest place for just about anything. Owners George and Beky O’Daniel have gathered together a variety of amazing items to satisfy the needs and desires of just about everyone – all under one roof.
George O’Daniel was born in Levelland, Texas, but he has lived all over the world. His father was a Marine, and after O’Daniel graduated from high school, he followed his father’s footsteps and joined The Marine Corps.
“The Marine Corps taught me discipline, and if you’re lucky you internalize that discipline and you maintain it for the rest of your life,” O’Daniel explained. “I was in The Marines for 10 years, then went into the Reserves for two years. Later I served in Vietnam, then as an embassy guard in Bulgaria during the Czechoslovakia invasion. I left the Marines after that and went to college in Las Cruces, New Mexico, graduating from college and receiving my first Masters Degree. Later I moved to Denton, Texas, where I received my second Masters Degree.”
Eventually, O’Daniel moved to Mena in 1983 where he taught at Rich Mountain Community College and joined The National Guard. He met his present wife, Beky, at Dillards in Hot Springs a few years ago.
Beky O’Daniel is originally from Pine Bluff, but she graduated from high school in Warren, Ark., in 1973. She raised a family in Midland, Texas, but was later divorced. She became an integral part of the IHOP Restaurant chain for over 17 years, serving in management throughout Texas. In July of 2007 she came to visit her mother, who was ill in Pine Bluff, and ended up staying. After meeting George in Hot Springs, the couple had a lengthy courtship and were married in October of 2011 and settled in Mena.
Beky O’Daniel explained that she had always loved going to estate sales, garages sales, and auctions.
“George and I began doing this and the idea of a business was born,” she explained. “George is also a certified silver and gold smith and he had worked with sculptures and antiques, which makes him a natural for the business. So in 2011 we began purchasing for the concept of an antique/collectibles store.”
“We wanted to have a business that drew people into Mena, something upscale but affordable,” George said. “Something that would be interesting to visit, an attraction of sorts as well as a business. So we began attending estate sales throughout Arkansas.”
“We carry a wide variety of collectibles and antiques – everything from original Barbie Dolls, old porcelain dolls, Hummel figurines and plates, die cast metal cars, glass from St. Petersburg, Russia, a large collection of Beanie Bea
rs, antique silverware, different collections of antique plates, and portraits,” George added. “ We also have a diverse collection of hardback and paperback books, a good collection of antique and conventional furniture, a large variety of clothes, and over 100 lamps. We’re by no means simply an antique store. We offer modern items as well, and this makes us unique in the community. We also buy antiques. We ask people what they want or what they would like, and then we watch for those items.”
Beky said they also carry clothing, crafts, linens, picture frames, and clocks.
“We have items from around the world, from China and Japan to England and Europe,” she added. “This is a highly unique store with quality items and it’s a great place to visit – you can stroll through history, up to modern day. Everything is priced reasonably, so come out and visit – look at what we have to offer.”