Toni Crowder

photo courtesy of Toni Crowder
photo courtesy of Toni Crowder

Toni Crowder, designer for some of Atlanta’s top musicians, athletes, and CEO’s was born and raised in Texarkana, Texas.

Her love of design ignited while touring the world with her high school sweetheart and musician-husband, David Crowder. She graduated from O’More College of Architecture and Design, Belmont University.

The interior-architectural focus of the program awakened her appreciation of structural detail and weaponized her ability to detail space.

With a career spanning commercial, residential, and hospitality design, her exclusive client list keeps her busy with multiple homes, offices, procurement of artwork, and events.

See TXK Roots @Home to view Toni’s home.

What is your favorite Texarkana memory?

So many family memories—meeting and dating my husband, funny work situations, but I think the most uniquely bizarre memory was when I won the Dr. Pepper go-cart at the Four States Fair and Rodeo in the early 80s.

It was quite the prize, and I felt like I won the lottery. It was so cool! After a while, my parents decided it was too dangerous, and we sold it for $900 and bought our very first VCR for $900!

Where was your favorite place to eat in Texarkana?

I worked at Cattleman’s, Cash’s, and Woody’s in high school and early college and loved those places so much. I didn’t experience much “fancy” food before working there, so that all felt very special. However, if I had to pick one meal from the past, it would be from Rawleigh’s on New Boston Road. It was close to my grandparents’ house, so nostalgia is all mixed in with that salty cheeseburger and steak fries with the ketchup you could dip in. We would sit in the station wagon, and they would bring the food out to the car and clip the tray on the window. Amazing.

What was the teen hangout when you lived here?

I was always a workaholic, so I didn’t “hang out” much even as a teen, but I worked at Movies 8 and would show up there with friends even when I wasn’t working. The Northridge Country Club pool was the place to be in the summer. On the 4th of July, that place would go to another level. Contests for prizes—best dive from the high dive, racing the length of the pool, who can hold your breath the longest, first to secure an oiled-up watermelon from the deep end. Golden!

Where was your favorite place to shop in Texarkana?

“The Mall” was the backdrop of 80s culture in America, and Texarkana was not denied this indulgence. I have so many great memories of Central Mall... fashion shows, choir recitals, Silverball arcade, T-shirts Plus pressing glitter images picked from the bins on baseball shirts. I took a class called “White Gloves and Party Manners” inside Dillard’s for goodness sake. My $3.25 an hour was usually set aside until I could purchase the latest Dooney and Bourke purse.

Were you a Hawk, Leopard, Razorback, or Tiger?

I was a Hawk and on the golf team, so I got to leave school early. I felt like I was winning with that maneuver.

How do you describe Texarkana to your friends?

It’s twice as nice. There is something bubbling below the surface. There is a real “Friday Night Lights” energy, and everybody knows everybody.

What do you love about Texarkana?

Most of my family still lives in Texarkana, and I miss seeing them every day.

What would you change about Texarkana?

Add a direct flight to Atlanta, GA!

What words do you live by?

“Make it look easy.”

Anything we haven’t asked about that you would like to share?

I feel really blessed to have grown up in Texarkana when I did. We went out on our bikes in the morning, drank out of water hoses when we were thirsty, and came home at dark—no cell phones, not a lot of rules. We were kings. I still visit these moments when I feel like life isn’t “easy,” transported by the smell of honeysuckle, or fresh bread, or by the sound of a bicycle bell, or tornado siren.

TXK Roots is Texarkana Magazine’s forum to highlight and honor Texarkana natives who have accomplished big things in the world. These folks may have relocated, but they took the values, education, work ethic and creativity instilled in them by growing up in this unique border city and used these qualities to blaze extraordinary trails. We asked them to share their thoughts about growing up here. No matter how far from Texarkana they may find themselves, we will always consider them our neighbors and we are proud to claim them as forever members of our extended Texarkana community. After all, “everyone is famous in their hometown!”

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