Mountain Home’s booming economy continues to grow as two new businesses, Wow Extraordinary Gifts and Conquer Fitness, celebrate their grand opening at North Town Plaza on Highway 5 North this Holiday season.
Wow Extraordinary Gifts celebrated its launch with the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 9 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“Since the grand opening, it’s been pretty good,” said David Plahm, owner of Wow Extraordinary Gifts. “We did a fundraiser for Warriors2Us for the first weekend we were open. We donated 30% of our gross profits to that organization.”
Wow Extraordinary Gifts
David Plahm is no stranger to the Mountain Home area.
He first came to the city in 2009 to take care of his father before moving to Illinois and Ohio to work on his construction business. While his company kept him up north, Plahm frequently visited the area before returning permanently in 2019 to be with his father.
After returning, he moved SIP Resources, a construction company focused on building residential homes and commercial buildings. SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) consist of panels created through sandwiching an insulated foam core between two oriented strand boards to Mountain Home.
“I got involved in construction, surveying and designing subdivisions. It was about 2009,” Plahm said. “SIPs is what you use for building walls, floors, and roofs instead of using 2×4’s. It’s extremely tight, so there is no air infiltration, and it cuts your HVAC costs by 50%.”
When his father passed in Jan. 2020, Plahm inherited an extensive collection of goods from his father. Instead of throwing them out, he used his father’s collection to jump-start Wow Gifts.
A resale store by design, Wow Gifts sells a wide selection of pottery, clocks, table sets, blue and white china and more. The store also sells homemade soaps and goat cheese.
And while the store is still filled with some of his father’s collection, Plahm and his store manager Danielle Cogburn have begun visiting auctions to expand their store’s selections of goods.
“In the process of taking care of my dad’s stuff, Danielle learned how to appraise items and how to research them and do background work,” Plahm said. “So, a little over a year ago, she started going to auctions and buying more stuff. I rented this unit a year ago, and we figured out really fast that it wasn’t going to be enough room, so we rented out the next unit.”
Cogburn’s connection to Plahm is a close one. She was hired to help Plahm organize his father’s collection after he passed in 2020.
A recovering addict, Cogburn had moved to Mountain Home for a fresh start in life in 2019. She would find that fresh start after impressing Plahm with her work ethic.
“I came here three and a half years ago looking for something different,” Cogburn said. “Working with Dave has been a blessing. I was scared and I didn’t know what I was going to do, and somehow along the way, I found me. I’ve never met anybody as nice as the people here in Mountain Home. God lifted a weight off my shoulders, and if I can do anything to give back that’s what I want to do.”
And giving back is something that both Plahm and Cogburn are devoted to. In honor of their grand opening, Phalm dedicated 30% of his first weekend gross profits to Warriors2Us.
Founded by Donna Nasr, Warriors2Us is a recreational camp aimed at helping veterans transition back to civilian life. The camp is located in Hardinville, MO, and rests on 183 acres of land.
Warriors2Us also sells its own line of goods to support its operations. The veterans camp currently has its handmade goods on display in Wow Gifts.
Plahm said Wow Gifts would be working with other charities like the Gamma House and the Buford Fire Department to raise funds in the future.
“It’s kind of a learning process for us because it’s something new,” Plahm said. “It’s unusual because we’re a for-profit business trying to support nonprofit businesses. This is not something I need to make a lot of money on, so I think it’s well within our resources to try and help other people.”
Wow Gifts is open Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Wow Gifts is located at 625 Highway 5 North in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
Wow Gifts isn’t the only new business to come to North Town Plaza. Debbie Blanke’s Conquer Fitness has also moved in and set up shop after Plahm offered her a space in the back of his location.
A boutique fitness studio, Conquer Fitness focuses on strength training, endurance and nutrition.
“The body is so spectacular,” said Debbie Blanke. “It wants to heal. It wants to be strong. It wants to recover from injuries and provide everything we need, but we have to care for it. The body will only grow through challenge.”
Sitting at the back of Wow Gifts, Conquer Fitness features a full locker room and shower, along with a full kitchen for healthy meals, usually served by Blanke after a workout.
The gym section features rowing machines, a stair master and everything needed for bench presses, deadlifts, and squats. Blanke also offers a suspension yoga class for those interested in challenging themselves.
“There’s a misconception with strength training that everybody thinks it’s bodybuilding and bodybuilding comes with the connotation that they’re going to be too muscular,” Blanke said. “That’s not what it is at all. Our skeleton requires dense, healthy muscle to function. Our tendons and ligaments require good, strong muscles to perform. Joints need strong muscles so they can be happy, and with that comes balance and flexibility. So that’s my philosophy of fitness. This is not about losing weight. This is about empowering your life.”
Blanke is a credentialed fitness trainer through the International Sports Science Association and focuses on strength training and nutrition.
Originally hailing from the Chicago area, Blanke began her journey into fitness and health in 2002 after falling in love with endurance, yoga and nutrition.
“I was very addicted to Bikram Yoga, which is hot yoga,” Blanke said. “There’s nothing like it. And then, I discovered suspension yoga. I consider it a gift for the community because our community is on the older side, and it helps you get into those more difficult poses easier, but the body still benefits.”
Conquer Fitness is open to anyone regardless of age, with classes running for one hour. All sessions are private. For more information on Conquer Fitness, contact Blanke at 860-800-3322.