Member Monday: Simply Elegant Flowers

This is a continuing weekly series that highlights members of the Anadarko Chamber of Commerce. You can see last week’s member story by clicking here.

This interview was conducted with Rhonda Bennett who owns Simply Elegant Flowers Etc.

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Rhonda Bennett, owner Simply Elegant Flowers Etc.

How long have you been in business?

We have been open since May of 2008.

Why did you choose Anadarko?

Our business originally started out in the entryway of our home with a sign in the yard! Eventually, we outgrew the home and moved into Petree Plaza where Warrior Nutrition is currently and outgrew that location after two years. We ended up purchasing the location we are at now which was a Carl’s Jr. and renovated it “we had to get rid of the hamburger and french fry smell!”

In your words describe your business:

We offer fresh flowers, plants, and gifts for our customers. We also offer free delivery in Anadarko.

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Any recent updates at your business?

In the last 18 months, we added Merle Norman cosmetics and a lot of people may not know it is here. You can also shop at our store online 24/7, just go to www.anadarkoflowers.com and you can submit your order.

What is your biggest challenge as a business owner?

Making sure we provide quality services that encourage the community to shop locally.

What is the most rewarding part about your job?

To see our customers day-to-day and who have become our friends. Due to the nature of our business, what they experience we experience right along with them. Whether it is a happy occasion or loss of a loved one we are here for them.

If you had a magic wand to fix anything in your business or the city what would you do?

That the community would fall in love with the thought of supporting and growing our community and not let it fail.

What has been the best day of running your business?

Being able to fill our customer’s needs is a great feeling. It is heartwarming to be able to take their thoughts and create floral arrangements that bring their vision to life.

Why is it important to join the Anadarko Chamber?

I am excited to be a member to encourage growth and making sure business owners work together to support each other.

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Anything you would like to share with our audience?

We are so grateful to our community for supporting our business over the years. We look forward to serving our community in the future. Our summer hours are Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. for June and July. We are located at 804 W. Petree Rd, Anadarko, OK 73005. Call 405-247-3863 for more information.

Member Monday: The Ideal Decorating Center

This is a continuing weekly series that highlights members of the Anadarko Chamber of Commerce. You can see last week’s member story by clicking here.

This interview was conducted with Cookie Smith who owns The Ideal Decorating Center.

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Cookie Smith owner of The Ideal Decorating Center

How long have you been in business?

We have been in business for 22 years.

Why did you choose Anadarko?

Anadarko is my home and so I wanted to create a business here.

In your words describe your business:

We are a full decorating store that can help you beautify your home or business. We can provide window coverings, flooring, home decor, gifts, kitchen gadgets and even outdoor items.

What is your biggest challenge or fear as a business owner?

For this store it is difficult to build up a solid customer base, which can be tough to do in an economically depressed area. Many businesses are feeling the effects of the economy being sluggish.

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What is the most rewarding part about your job?

When we are able to provide a quality product that helps make someone’s home beautiful. If it looks good in your home then to us it is perfect.

If you had a magic wand to fix anything in your business or the city what would you do?

A lot of our customers come from out of town and it would be amazing if we could fill every space downtown with retail which will bring more foot traffic. Whenever we create opportunities for tourists to check out our downtown area it helps all of the businesses around here.

What has been the best day of running your business?

We have an annual open house tasting party that has been going on as long as I have been in business. For some they consider it the highlight and social gathering of the year. It is always the first Friday of December at 6:00 p.m.

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Why is it important to join the Anadarko Chamber?

It is important because it shows that you care about the community and the commerce within the town. It shows that you are willing to participate in making things better, and I believe the Chamber can do a lot.

Anything you would like to share with our audience?

We invite you to come look at our always updated inventory of items. This summer we will be closed on Mondays from June until August. Our hours are 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The store is located at 105 W. Broadway in Anadarko. You can call 405.247.2173 for more information.

Member Monday: Relay for Life

This is a continuing weekly series that highlights members of the Anadarko Chamber of Commerce. You can see last week’s member story by clicking here.

This interview was conducted with Cheryl Smith and April Granger who organize Relay for Life – Caddo County.

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Cheryl Smith and April Granger help organize Relay for Life in Caddo County

When did Relay for Life start in Caddo County/how long have you been with the organization?
Relay for Life started here in 1999 and has raised $384,738  since the beginning. Although Hinton had a separate event from 2003-2010 and raised $178,273 during those 7 years. So our county wide total for both event is actually $563,011. The highest amount raised in Anadarko for one event was $30,355 in 2006. Hinton’s highest amount was $29,537 in 2010. Cheryl Smith works for the American Cancer Society and she has been with the organization for 10 years.

In your words describe your organization:
It is a community event bringing together individuals, families and businesses to raise awareness to people for the American Cancer Society’s education, programs, services, and research.

Any updates at your organization or what’s new?
We want to educate the public on where the money raised goes. We want survivors and caregivers to know the services and programs that help people locally in Caddo County. As long as they come to us we can help them, whether that means helping them get a wig or a ride to the hospital. Everyone receives the same services and the same opportunities. Last year our organization raised $3.8 million statewide. We have a big focus on research and $2.3 million of the money raised went to OU’s Health Science Center for research. Our supporters have told us that they really appreciate the money that goes to research because it will have the biggest impact to help everyone.

Why did you choose Anadarko to locate your organization?
It’s a county wide relay and this is the county seat. The reason why it got started in Caddo County because a group of people decided they wanted to make a difference.

What is your biggest challenge?
Participation from the community and getting people involved. Participation from the county as a whole to bring all of the smaller communities together to the county seat.

What is the most rewarding part about organizing this event?
Helping a cancer survivor through their journey and being able to see them another year. Helping them get to remission. Bringing more awareness and throughout the years seeing the different groups get involved such as youth involvement. Hearing the success stories of people we helped through their journey.

If you had a magic wand to improve something in your organization or in the City of Anadarko what would it be?
Education of the public of what the American Cancer Society can do for survivors/caregivers and educate about the risks that are out there that can lead to cancer such as smoking and tanning. We also want to promote eating healthy and active lifestyles.

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Describe your organization’s best day?
Every year during the Relay event survivors take an opening lap and celebrate another year of fighting cancer. It is a reunion celebrating life.

Why is it important for you to be a Chamber member?
So we can help educate the Chamber members and everyone about how the money benefits the county. We appreciate that the Chamber can help spread the word. Most likely people won’t know ACS staff, but they know the local stories of people being involved with relay.

Anything you would like to share with our audience?
Relay for Life will be on June 3rd, 2016 at the Anadarko High School Track starting at 7:00 p.m. You may go to www.cancer.org to find out more about programs services clinical trials or call 1-800-ACS-2345.

Go to relay for life facebook page or www.relayforlife.org/caddoOK or contact ACS Staff Cheryl Smith 580-302-1799 for more information

Member Monday: Edward Jones Financial Advisor – Brandon Allee

This is a continuing weekly series that highlights members of the Anadarko Chamber of Commerce. You can see last week’s member story by clicking here.

This interview was conducted with Brandon Allee who is a financial advisor with Edward Jones.

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Brandon Allee – Financial Advisor with Edward Jones

How long have you been in business?

I first came to Anadarko in April of 2014, and I have been with Edward Jones since July of 2013. We added a second Edward Jones location in Anadarko because we wanted to give our clients the best possible level of service.

Why did you choose Anadarko?

The opportunity was here geographically to expand our business, and I was able to come into an established office and work with an experienced person like Darrell Cofer who served as a mentor to me.

In your words describe your business:

If someone has a financial goal then we can help you put a plan in place to reach it and track your progress along the way. This type of planning can be done for education, retirement, planning for unexpected or even transferring wealth to the next generation. Anyone can have a financial goal and it does not matter if you make a lot of money or not to start financial planning.

What is your biggest challenge or fear as a business owner?

My biggest challenge would be educating people, particularly younger people, that everyone regardless of income can have a financial goal and that they need to focus on their finances.

What is the most rewarding part about your job?

Being able to interact with people and building relationships. I’ve been here for two years and during that time people become more than clients, they become friends.

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Building Relationships

 

If you had a magic wand to fix anything in your business or the city what would you do?

I would bring manufacturing and good jobs to the community.

Why is it important to join the Anadarko Chamber?

I joined because I need to give back to the community and to be involved with business leaders. Together we can all benefit the community and each other.

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Ask about the Coca-Cola machine!

Anything you would like to share with our audience?

Our doors are open for people to come in and we will talk with anyone who is interested in financial planning. It doesn’t cost anything to walk in the doors, and we can talk about your options. Our office is located at 1503 S. Mission St, Suite 5 in Anadarko. We are open from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. or by appointment. You can call our office at 405.247.1120 for more information.

Member Monday: Caddo County Computer

This is a continuing weekly series that highlights members of the Anadarko Chamber of Commerce. You can see last week’s member story by clicking here.

This interview was conducted with Steve Murdock who is the owner of Caddo County Computer in Anadarko, OK.

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Steve Murdock, owner

When did you start your business?

We first opened here in May of 2015.

In your words describe your business:

We work on laptop and tower computer repairs. We perform virus checks, maintenance upgrades, software installation, and marketing through social media. We work with businesses and individuals and are available for training and consultation.

Any updates at your business?

We moved into this space downtown which some people may remember as the old post office barbershop. People knew it as that for decades and after some renovations it is the perfect place for my computer shop.

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Renovated Shop in Downtown Anadarko

Why did you choose Anadarko to locate your business?

Well, I live near Fort Cobb and I wanted to find a location that was central to serving all of Caddo County. We’re here for anyone who does not want to hassle with going all the way to Oklahoma City for their computer needs.

What is your biggest challenge as a business owner?

The primary challenge has just been getting the word out about my business throughout the community. Potential customers may use us but they have to know we are here first.

What is the most rewarding part about running this business?

Being located downtown I’ve been able to have great conversations with people who walk in to my business. A young man came by the other day and he was interested in learning computer programming. I’m not certified to teach computer programming but I was able to direct him to some great resources and those conversations are really great because I’ve been able to help someone.

If you had a magic wand to improve something in your business or in the City of Anadarko what would it be?

I would like to have a magic wand that would help us find a way for small businesses like mine to advertise and effectively reach people in the community.

What has been the best day of having this business?

An opportunity came up to work with a local tribe to help on a project that will preserve their language and educational resources onto digital media. I would say that is one of the coolest projects I’ve been able to work on and for a great purpose.

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Why is it important for you to be a Chamber member?

I’ve supported chambers in the towns I’ve lived in ever since I started my first small business. The Chamber provides networking which translates to word-of-mouth communication and that becomes your best form of advertising.

Anything you would like to share with our audience?

After doing this type of work for 25 years, I can help a lot of people and businesses with all kinds of computer problems and issues. We are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am – 5:0o p.m. and feel free to call 405-638-0028 if we can help you.

Member Monday: Oakridge Christian Camp and Retreat Center

This is a continuing weekly series that highlights members of the Anadarko Chamber of Commerce. You can see last week’s member story by clicking here.

We are highlighting Oakridge Christian Camp and Retreat Center this week which is owned by the Ball family. The camp is located just west of Anadarko on highway 281. This interview was conducted with owner Brian Ball and his daughter Jaime.

Oakridge_1 Jaime and Brian Ball 

When was the camp founded and when did you take ownership?

Our family took ownership in 2000, it was a Nazarene camp previously who named it Oakridge and we kept the name. The campgrounds have been around a long time and the first camps were held in approximately 1948–so almost 70 years of camp history out here.

In your words describe what you do at Oakridge:

We provide recreation and overnight accommodations, meals, and meeting room facilities so that people may connect with each other. We hope our guests are able to rest, experience new things and connect with God.

Why did you choose to work in Anadarko?

We were in the market for a camp, specifically to buy. We also put offers on 4 other camps in other states, but eventually we found out about this one in Oklahoma and after an initial visit made an offer and the rest is history.

You continually upgrade this facility with new renovations, any recently completed projects that you would like to highlight?

For our overnight guests we have purchased 250 new mattresses, which are not your typical camp mattress, that are 20 inch tempur pedic memory foam. We also have added a new activity called arrow tag which is similar to lazer tag, but with foam tipped arrows. Plus, within the last two years we completed construction of one of the largest high element structures in Oklahoma called Goliath.

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Goliath-one of the largest high element challenges in Oklahoma.

What keeps you up at night as a business owner?

From a business standpoint we really want to make sure we are able to give each of our guests an amazing individual experience, which can be challenging while hosting large events. Our facility on average hosts 250 campers per week during the summer and we can house up to 500 people total.

If you had a magic wand to improve something at your business or in the city of Anadarko, what would it be and why?

Everyone wins when we all work together and so we would ideally want everyone to have strong relationships throughout the city and unity within the community.

What is something our audience may not realize about Oakridge?

There are a lot of things that we are able to offer for kids and adults. Our biggest markets for campers actually travel in from Oklahoma City and Dallas. Each week we have a food bank that serves approximately 100 families in Caddo County.

What is your biggest challenge you must overcome in running the camp?

Our biggest obstacle in life is ourselves. We all can realize that we can BE better and DO better.

What is the most rewarding part about running the camp?

Not many people get to work with their family, but it is an incredible joy to be able to work with our family and extended family (staff). Right now we employ 16 staff members and then during the summer months we will increase that amount by 20 or more.

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Oakridge has a pool and hot tub!

Why do you think it is important to be a Chamber member?

We do value the awareness and connection. We want to show that we support Anadarko and the Chamber itself which connects people in the community. We want to do our part.

Opportunity to say anything to our audience?

We want to encourage everyone to figure out their part in making our community a better place. If you have any questions, you may contact Oakridge at 405.247.5433. Our website is oakridgecamp.com and climbgoliath.com