A Salute to the Businesses

Running a business is hard work.  Those of you who have or have had your own business know just what I’m talking about.  The more I get to know our friendly business owners around town, the more I understand just how many hours they put into their careers.

As the public, we expect them to be open when we need something.  We demand they provide products for us and expect a bargain every time.  What the public doesn’t think about, is how much it costs to rent a building, provide electricity throughout the day, pay staff members and on top of that purchase product and equipment in advance with the hope that it will be paid for after a certain amount of time.

All of these things are factors of businesses, but especially small businesses within our community.  How many hours do you think Greg Henry puts in a week?  How about the owners of Tong’s, or Beth Kinder at Something Special?  I see these business men and women parked in front of their shops nearly 24/7 it seems.  The amount of work they put into each dollar earned is remarkable.

I think as customers of the businesses in Frederick we have to respect the behind the scenes work of the products we buy.  Perhaps shopping local does cost a few more bucks upfront, but you are supporting the friends and neighbors that make this community the wonderful town that it is.  After all, the amount of time and gas money spent on going out of town to shop really isn’t worth it if you aren’t getting the personal touch you would at home.  Also, who wants Frederick to shrink?  No one.  So your opportunity awaits you.  Be a blessing to the businesses in front of you.  These people work hard to serve our community and often times they are not thanked near enough.

Speaking of thanks, the Frederick Chamber would like to give a huge thank you to all of the businesses who were open on special hours last Sunday for our Oklahoma Freewheel and Abernathy Day Celebration.  Lots of out of town visitors were very pleased with our selection of services!  Keep it up, business people.  You are the foundation of our town.

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Tourism in Frederick, Oklahoma

A few weeks ago I had the joy of going to the Oklahoma Governor’s Conference on Tourism.  The day was jam packed with informative sessions on how to improve our tourism in the state of Oklahoma.

Several keynote speakers and sessions were very helpful to attend but the most influential for my job (which is to help Frederick grow) was a breakout session titled, “7 Things Every Tourism Organization Should Be Doing on a Small Budget.”  Jennifer Kalkman was the speaker and she has worked with the Oklahoma Tourism Department for many years.  I loved that she was so empathetic towards one man crews and microscopic offices.  Most cities have chambers and Convention and Visitors Bureaus with several members on both staffs.

What Kalkman made clear was that success and professionalism were possible on a small staff and a tight budget.  She gave us lots of tricks on how to implement social media better and she also taught us how to better reach potential visitors to our town.

I left the conference with pages and pages of notes.  I heard some amazing ideas and I plan on implementing them soon.  Unfortunately when I came back to work I had to focus on Freewheel and so I am just now getting to dig my notes back out and think through some of these awesome ideas.

The good news is, after seeing how our community pulled together to welcome 500 biciclysts a few weeks ago, I am amazed at our hospitality and encouraged to bring in more visitors to our town.  Frederick is such a special little place.  I feel as though we are always welcoming visitors with open arms.  We love to brag about our Abernathy Boys, our museums, exhibits and culture.  Props to you all for being wonderful hosts, not just for Freewheel, but always and forever.  You are the fuel that keeps our tourism efforts going.

Freewheel is (Almost) Here!

This is the weekend!  Oklahoma Freewheel will be invading our town in less than 72 hours!  Are you ready for 500 cyclists from all over the state (and beyond) to crash our Courthouse lawn with fun and excitement?

The cyclists will scatter into the area some time in between 9am and 1pm.  They are coming from Hollis so I have a feeling they will welcome shade trees, water and new scenery! We’ll give them a few hours to set up their camp, rehydrate and possibly even shower.  Then at 3:30 we’re going to kick things off with a good old-fashioned Frederick parade!  If you aren’t signed up you need to drag out our bike, horse or motorcycle and join in all the fun!

After the parade we will have lots going on.  The Crawford Collection will be open until 5pm and their will be an Indian Motorcycle exhibit south of the Courthouse!  If you follow their required guidelines you can even test drive some of the new models!

Native American dancers will entertain us around 4 o’clock or so and afterwards we can enjoy the famous Abernathy dinner than we all know and love.  Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children under 12.  The price will include our after dinner entertainment which will consist of the Abernathy Storytellers!

Lots of businesses around town are excited about Freewheel coming!  Many have set special hours to accommodate the crowds and these hours are being posted and distributed around town and on the Chamber media sites.  Be sure and scope out your favorite restaurant ahead of time so you’ll know when they will be open!

Also, there a few hours left if you want to get your decorated bike set up downtown!  The more the merrier.  Can’t wait for the fun to begin.  See you Sunday, June 7th at the Courthouse!

Frederick has a Place in the World

Last week a group of friends (all from Frederick) and I went on vacation to Orange Beach, Alabama.  The drive took us about fourteen hours and we stayed on the beach for three days before stopping through New Orleans for a final day and night of adventure.

Throughout our travels we were awestricken by beaches, ocean water and the best seafood.  We thoroughly enjoyed tasting, seeing and doing things that were different from what we usually taste, see and do.  Every morning we woke up and sat on our balcony to stare at two sites: to the west was a beautiful beach front and to the east we saw a barge with lots of fishing boats and fishermen.

In New Orleans our time was short so after checking in to our very unique hotel, we explored the French Quarter and all the sites it had to offer.  Again the scenery was different from that which we grew up with.  Cajun food filled the air, bright colors covered the buildings and people of all walks of life gathered in the streets offering all sorts of talents and tricks for tips.

The next morning we woke up early and began our ten hour drive back home.  Throughout our trip we had journeyed through Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.  We saw (for the first time) large green trees, winding roads and lots of bayous and swamps–though we never fully determined the difference between the two.

All of this site seeing and you would think we fell in love with a new part of the world.  We did.  But what shocked me happened just north of Decatur, Texas.  Outside of that city we finally saw the little bit of heaven that we all are proud to call home.  The entire car seemed to exhale with comfort as we drove into the flatlands, full with only cattle and crop.  All at once it became apparent to us why people raved about how flat our land was.  It was true, you could really see for miles and miles.  Just a few states before and we couldn’t even find a rest stop because of all the trees covering it up!  One girl even pointed out that although the beach had beautiful sunrises and sunsets, they came nowhere near to the beauty of an Oklahoma sky.

All this to say, that maybe all it takes is a fresh perspective to appreciate the beauty around you.  Frederick will never have a beach, we won’t have a superdome or a bayou (well, maybe after all this rain), but what we do have is beautiful.  I suspect that the rest of the world will in time come to appreciate what we have to offer, just as they do beaches, resorts and exotic restaurants.  Our only mission now is to keep the spirit of Southwest Oklahoma alive by caring on the things we are already doing, only with an added sense of peace and excitement.  Keep making us proud, Frederick, Oklahoma!

We Appreciate Henniges

A few weeks ago I toured the Henniges plant with Ronnie Cross.  Henniges employs 300-350 people in our area.  The fact that this plant exists in Frederick, Oklahoma is a huge honor.  It is amazing to think that each new Chevy pick-up, lots of Cadillac’s and other types of cars are all made possible by a plant in Frederick.

Cross gave me the grand tour, explaining each process and method to me.  I saw the raw rubber that comes in to the plant from Iowa, turn into compressed, long rubber pieces, a process called “excursion.”  These long rubber pieces are formed to a specific part and that part is then taken to a place where they drill holes in it, add clips and color coating if needed.  These parts are then inspected, tested and eventually shipped out across the world.

As we walked throughout the plant I was impressed with the relationship Cross seemed to have with his employees.  He knew everyone by name and they knew him.  The workers all seemed to be happy and content doing their assigned tasks.  No one was over exhorted and the general atmosphere was chipper and relaxed.

Before my tour I had thought of the workers at Henniges as people who either liked working long, hard hours, or as people who weren’t interested in working at all.  After my tour, I see the workers of Henniges as very skilled individuals.  Consistent and detailed in the particular labor.  Their jobs fascinated me and gave me a sense of respect for the commitment these people have to excellence.  Besides that, how cool is it to say you work on projects that are distributed around the world, into thousands of cars daily?

We need to appreciate our Henniges employees more.  They work long hours without much interaction in the community.  As the chamber, we want to make sure these employees feel welcomed, loved and appreciated when they are inside the walls of our town.  What can we do to show respect to our neighbors at Henniges?  Surely everyone has a friend or relative who works at the plant.  Give them an encouraging word today.