Hidden treasures, health products & whole lot more found inside The Crow’s Nest

Published 12:33 am Friday, August 13, 2021

PORT NECHES — As Cheryl Tarver, of Nederland, discussed bee pollen at The Crow’s Nest, business owner Donna Manuel explained the benefit of the “super food.”

“Don’t forget to refrigerate it and slowly work your way up,” Tarver told the Nederland woman and her husband. “You can stop at half a teaspoon if you want. If you take other vitamins, there’s no need to. The only thing this does not have in it is (Vitamin D).”

Tarver asked if the couple should stop taking their vitamins.

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“It’s not going to hurt but there’s no need to because this has everything you need,” Manuel said. “It’s got your amino acids, your minerals, your vitamins — it’s got everything.”

Donna Manuel, owner of The Crow’s Nest, talks to Cheryl Tarver of Nederland about bee pollen. (Monique Batson/The News)

The explanation was so convincing, especially during the current COVID surge, that a journalist visiting the shop for an article purchased some, too.

“We have honey — it comes from all over the world — and honey products,” Manuel explained. “The bath and body products are from Savannah Bee and they have the royal jelly and the propolis in it so they’re great for your skin. We have room sprays, candles and melting wax. And we have collectibles.”

It was the latter combined with a love for history that prompted Manuel to open the store, which is celebrating its fifth year on the corner of Port Neches Avenue and Dallas Street.

The retired refinery worker was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Port Arthur. But it was during a move north from her 5th to 8th grade years that she fell in love with the past.

“Then we moved back here, but my love of history stayed with me,” she said. “And I think after I retired from the refinery…I just love primitive antiques and my house is filled with them.”

Unbeknownst to her years ago, collecting antiques would ultimately lead to a successful shop in the heart of Port Neches.

“This was kind of short sighted,” Manuel explained. “It was like, ‘The pieces I’m willing to part with — I’m always finding others that I like — I could sell those pieces and more. That’s what it started out to be — a place for me to go ahead and sell some of the pieces I was willing to part with. And it just turned into something completely different.”

Like most businesses, last year proved to be a challenge.

“COVID came and I shut down for 2.5 months,” Manuel said. “I wondered if I would survive that, just like everybody else. But when I opened back up, the customers were ready. They came back, and it made it easier. It was hard but without them I wouldn’t have made it.”

The Crow’s Nest features a gardening area behind the shop. (Monique Batson/The News)

Inside the Nest

The Crow’s Nest offers a variety of antiques, health and beauty products, religious and spiritual jewelry, bed sprays, wax melts, candles and other items to turn any house into a true home.

Handmade wreaths are unique as each is handmade using local vines instead of store-bought bases. And during the fall, the store carries Bethany Lowe pieces.

“They will make these pieces for a few years and discontinue them so they increase in value,” Manuel said.

There is also a garden center behind the shop with windchimes, planters, rain chains and other items to dress up the outdoors.

“There’s a lot of things that are unique,” Manuel said. “I try hard not to carry anything that you can just go to Hobby Lobby and find. It’s a great little gift shop if someone is wanting to find something special or different.”

The Crow’s Nest is located on the corner of Port Neches Avenue and Dallas Street. (Monique Batson/The News)