LOCK HAVEN - Back in the 1960s and 1970s, there was this unusual, innovative and eclectic rock group called the "Mothers of Invention."
On Main Street in Lock Haven, cutting a ribbon Friday, were three area residents who might well describe themselves by the phrase, were it still available.
No, they aren't going to co-opt or purloin the famous band name, but they have created an unusual, innovative and eclectic business.
Shop owner Fred Park Jr., left, co-owner Gary Cameron II and co-owner Bob McHenry pose for a photo inside the Main Street Consignment and Novelty Shop.
JIM RUNKLE/THE EXPRESS
The three men are Fred Park Jr., of Lock Haven, Gary Cameron II of Renovo and Bob McHenry of Nippenose Valley, who have joined forces to create the "Main Street Consignment and Novelty Shop," located in the Heffner building at 145 E. Main St., in the downtown business district.
As McHenry describes it, the shop is a way to "share individual dreams . We made the shop in pursuit of our ultimate dream ... of creating an invention company."
As to the inventions, the threesome already have a product line in mind, and are focusing on the possibility of an action figure prototype that might lead to customers of all ages, from the toddler to the 50-plus collector.
For now, however, McHenry said, "We are a group of mixed skills, dreams and minds, bringing all of those things to what we're doing."
The actual product remains under wraps and will have to await for some future formal announcement, but the shop sets the stage for creating both the company structure and a physical presence for future endeavors, the men say.
"This is a base for operations," Cameron said. "We are actively looking to create a different business model, one that draws local artists, writers and musicians together."
As a consignment shop, the business owners are seeking creative partners, and will provide a place for the selling of those wares.
Judging from the products already in the shop, the "creative" part is very much in play, with items ranging from an autographed photograph of country Singer Willie Nelson and many other stars from various fields, to a signed poster from the play "Jesus Christ Superstar," to a complete first-run collection of records created by the most popular band ever, The Beatles.
In other sections, on display, you'll find incense, hand-dipped candles, a collection of folding knives, an electric guitar, boxed specialty Barbie dolls, and a vintage barbering or grooming suitcase that appears to have been manufactured in the early 1900s. There's also a collection of collector guitar picks, and "staff" T-shirts from concerts by rock stars and other musicians throughout the United States.
McHenry styles himself as the creative master of "Mixed Minds LLC." Park is an old professional rodeo stage hand, has traveled to 39 states and commands an ability to make connections with a great many people. Cameron is the musician of the group, and in his earlier days, traveled across Pennsylvania with as a member of a number of bands.
McHenry said the focus of the shop right now is to create a mix of merchandise, with 50 percent of the items homemade and hand-crafted, and strong effort to cycle products so repeat visitors see something new every trip. They also hope to offer a wide price range of items, from high collectibles to modest curios.
The three men sought out and received the assistance of the Lock Haven Small Business Development Center to get their business started.
The center provided help for the registration process, business development plan, marketing analysis, financial projections and acquisition of capital.
Most of that came from SBDC consultant Nicholas Lentz, who helped create the collaborative plan.