Aug 15, 2023

Rocking Oak Woodworks brings one of a kind shopping experience to downtown

A business unlike any other in revitalized downtown Brownwood is set to welcome to the public Thursday as Rocking Oak Woodworks holds its soft opening.

Located at 101 Fisk Avenue – the former Texas Fun Co. building, where the Providencia Mexican Restaurant will soon open as well – Rocking Oak Woodworks will offer furniture, home décor and art created by local artists.

Krista Womack and her father, David Mainka, share a passion for woodworking that began during Womack’s childhood.

“I grew up in the woodworking shop with my dad and he taught me everything, and that’s how we spent time together,” she said. “When I was 17 years old he bought me a lathe for my birthday and he taught me how to make pins and how to turn stuff and then he’d go to the different shows with me and we kept growing from there. But I’m married now with kids in soccer and gymnastics and we don’t have time on the weekends to go to shows and travel anymore.”

Mainka retired two years ago and at the time presented Womack with the idea of opening a store in place of traveling to shows.

“Before we fully decided on this place we went downtown and carried a laptop and a couple of things in our hands and went store to store to see if anyone would sell our stuff,” Womack said. “Nobody has anything like we have, so we thought we might have a good chance.”

Their plan didn’t work out, however, which further fueled the fire to create their own business.

“We felt like we had to do something because there’s so many local artists around here,” she said. “We do artisan markets twice a month but we need more of that. We know we can’t fill a store with just woodworking, you have to decorate so we’ve got seven vendors in with us and they’ll be bringing in all their stuff. We’re trying to include as much local talent as we can.”

Other items for sale will include piography, or wood burning, along with 3D printing, epoxy tables, and a variety of paintings, just to name a few.

“We want to be able to get other artists in the area to bring their stuff into the store, too,” Mainka said. “Like us, they don’t have many places to take their art.”

As for the woodworking aspect, Mainka said, “We’ll do custom orders, anything you want. We refinish furniture, I recently carved an address in stone which I had never done before. I like to try new things.”

Womack added, “We’re not real big into repeat items, and every piece of wood you get is different so that makes it fun for us.”

Perhaps the specialty of Mainka is creating rocking animals.

“They’re not just rocking horses because they’re all different animals,” Womack said. “We literally have a zoo. My kids also have a Batmobile cradle that was converted into a Batmobile rocking car. My dad made the Hogwarts Express that started as a cradle and now is a toy box. My niece has a boat and a dinosaur. I have a stegosaurus he made me when I was a kid that is now in my son’s room. I have five rocking animals, and I made a deer while I was pregnant with my first child. Trying to lug those around to shows, they’re heavy, so that’s why we had to find a stationary place.”

Thursday marks the soft opening for the store with the grand opening set for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Free popcorn, sodas and a lemonade stand run my Womack’s children will be among the weekend highlights. Womack’s husband, Bobby, and her mother, Rebecca Mainka, are also involved with the store.

Initial hours are slated for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Those hours could change in the future, however.

As for the chosen location, Womack said, “Back in February we were downtown looking at vacant buildings and looking to find ‘for rent’ signs. We got a Realtor and she helped us search a few places. We didn’t really find anything we liked and one day I drove by here and saw ‘for rent’ in the window and called them up. They jumped on it and are super excited to have us in here. They went through our website, saw all our stuff and wanted the high-end quality woodworking next to their restaurant.”

And the name, Rocking Oak Woodworks?

Womack said, “My parents’ ranch is called Rock Oak and we just expanded off that. Nobody had anything like that and we thought it was kind of catchy.”