By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Roland Lohmann knows stories.
Perhaps it’s a gift of his heritage, a culture rich in history and story-telling. It’s no wonder, then, that every item in his diverse store, Lohmann’s Good Things, tells a story. The store’s eclectic mix of unique products seems too diverse to be connected, but every item has one thing in common with every other item in the store — Lohmann thought someone might want it.
Finding that unique thing someone might want is an idea formed early in his professional career. Lohmann worked for Neuman’s Music Center in Alva, Okla. from 1966 until 1968.
“It was the happiest two years of my life,” he said. “In the music store, my boss always let me order any sheet music I wanted. He said, ‘Roland, you can always sell one of anything.’”
When Lohmann decided to open up shop in Norman, he wanted to recreate the Neuman years. He duplicated the black and white checkerboard floors and put red accents on the countertops, just like the music store.
Lohmann’s Good Things opened at 710 W. Main St. next to Old School Bagel Cafe on Nov. 28. The store is cram jam full of a number of wonderful things.
“It seems like we have a knack for picking out things people want,” Lohmann said. “When you bring in some off-the-wall, eclectic thing, someone’s going to need it.’
Lohmann said most stores sell things everyone wants — he focuses on the unique.
“It has to be artistic in some way to be here,” he said, demonstrating a pocket kite he described as innovative, and artistic.
One specialty Lohmann’s carries is Judaica products.
“We have the things here that a Jewish person needs to live a Jewish life,” he said.
After living for a time in New York City, Lohmann also has an appreciation for other cultures. The store sells children’s blocks in various languages. The blocks are nostalgic in style, another element Lohmann values, artistically done and represent diverse cultures.
The full line of Watkins products available at Lohmann’s also induce the nostalgia of earlier days when household products were sold door to door. Lohmann started selling Watkins products at the Norman Farm Market in 2007 and likes the products and the company history. Watkins was established in 1868 and markets health and beauty aids as well as pantry items.
Candy, decorative gift bags, greeting cards, whole bean coffee, and health foods are among the items that Lohmann sells and can talk about.
“Pecan oil is flavorless, it takes on the flavor of the foods or spices you’re cooking,” he said. “It’s one of the high heat oils.”
Lohmann points out that pecan oil has a much higher smoke point than olive oil.
Interested in raw honey? Lohmann can tell you which apiaries his products are from and what the pollen zone for Oklahoma is.
For those looking for an unusual gift, Lohmann’s may have that one unique item you need. But don’t think you have to buy something to stop by and just browse the wares. If you get lucky enough to stop in when owner Roland Lohmann is there, feel free to ask about any product. The merchandise comes with a price tag, but the stories are free.