Curiouser & Curiouser: An Oddities Shop Opens in Downtown Fort Smith

by: J.B. Weisenfels

Oddity shops have a long and storied tradition dating back to renaissance Europe, when people collected artifacts belonging to the disciplines of natural history, geology, archaeology, art, and antiquities and put them all in large rooms called Cabinets of Curiosity. The effect of this sort of collection in a real, modern store is stunning. Here there is the skull of an animal, over there is an antique chemist’s scale. An oddities shop becomes something new—part store, part museum. A place full of mystery, fun, and enchantment. A combination of retail and attraction.

Fans of the dark, the different, and the undeniably unique will be glad to hear that a new store opened yesterday in Brunwick Place. Timeless Oddities & Curiosities contains all the charms of the Cabinet of Curiosity—but it also contains some items that will appeal to fans of modern franchises. You’ll find Star Trek merchandise placed lovingly near figurines made in occupied Japan. A necklace bearing the TARDIS from Doctor Who lays near jewelry in the style of old Hollywood.

Part of the appeal of antique stores is that they cater to nostalgia, and Timeless Oddities & Curiosities does that as well. A game emblazoned with “you have died of dysentery” is placed near items shipped to Fort Smith from around the world. Oregon Trail shares a shelf with a jade mandala. The collection of items is diverse— window displays include a beautifully-crafted scale model of a Viking ship and a large fairy with her dragon, respectively.

The shop also has an interesting approach to its grand opening week, which began on January 17th and will run until January 23rd. Every day shoppers can expect a special offer and the opportunity to participate in a prize drawing. The special offers range from handwriting analysis while you shop to a free ostrich plume with every purchase, the perfect way to introduce a place that is unique in this area.

Owner Candise Montemayor (you’ve read her work in BSavvy) has put together a selection of items unlike anything else in the River Valley. She hopes that in the future she will be able to hold events that will appeal to the shop’s fan base, that the store can become a place where paranormal enthusiasts, amateur cryptozoologists, and fans of the dark, the strange, and the nerdy can meet up to talk about common interests.

She’s excited about the location of her shop, declaring, “Brunwick Place is coming to life. Soon this whole building will be at full capacity.” Timeless Oddities & Curiosities is located next door to Frozen-Over Hell on the Border, a shaved ice shop, across a lovely arboretum from White Sage New Age Shoppe and Zhou Rong Acupuncture Clinic. A new bookstore will open soon in Brunwick Place as well, rounding out the experience for shoppers who prefer that their afternoons of exploration include a little quirk.  The brick buildings, the brick-paved path shoppers will tread on to visit these shops—they add atmosphere to the experience. It’s as if you’re stepping back in time, but also into a new age of whimsy, wonder, and windows bedecked with mystery.

Montemayor wants her shop to be a place where people can find treasures they never knew they needed and gifts for those especially hard-to-buy-for friends and relatives. She says, “We’ve got specialty items, antiques, and treasures. We even have some more whimsical items for those with senses of humor. There is a gift for everyone in here.”

Candise’s greatest hope is that her shop becomes an attraction. In her own words, “It isn’t just a store, it’s a thing to do.” She’s right about that—Timeless Oddities & Curiosities is so fully stocked that every time you visit, you’re sure to find some hidden wonder that will take your breath away.

You can find more information about Timeless Oddities & Curiosities, including the daily specials and prize offerings available during their week-long grand opening, at this link.

J.B. Weisenfels

J.B. Weisenfels is a lifelong resident of the River Valley who serves as Editorial Curator for BSavvy Magazine. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from Spalding University and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, where she received the Academic Excellence Award for the 2013/2014 academic year. When she is not writing or editing, she enjoys reading, writing, and having long conversations with her two children and all her very excellent friends and family members.