How are businesses handling the Christmas Chute? Interviews with downtown merchants

Sapulpa Times interviewed downtown Merchants during Thursday, November 3rd’s “Lights On!” celebration to find out how they felt about the Christmas Chute and its impact on their businesses.

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The Christmas Chute, just days prior to opening in the beginning of November. How has it affected the local merchants? We talked to them and found out.

Kent Burke, owner of the Purple Rabbit Emporium, said this October was slower than last year’s, but that he was optimistic the Chute would bring in customers, since Thursday night the store was packed with customers.

Sapulpa Times spoke to Julie and Johnnie Brown, owners of GiGi’s and Brown Insurance. When asked if the Chute had a positive impact on their sales, Julie Brown responded, “Yes, definitely. We have been for it ever since it started, so we are going to support it.” Sapulpa Times asked Johnnie Brown if he had experienced any problems with the Chute and he replied, “None, zero.” Referring to the statewide promotion of the Chute Mr. Brown said: “That is why the last two Saturdays were so good. Oklahoma City, Norman, Western Oklahoma had two buses come, they let them out down there and every one of them came in here…It is exceeding my expectations.”

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Chuck-It Axe Co. owner Amanda Stephens said, “I think our community is growing as a whole together and that is exactly what Sapulpa has needed for a long time now. We have people from different surrounding cities come and visit to see what’s going on. They  come and speak to us and want to know what is going on in our community, they are excited for us.” When asked if Ms. Stephens thought the Chute would enhance economic development, she replied: “I can just speak for what it has done for us. It has helped us, it has boosted us as far as a company or business, a small business here in town. People are getting out and supporting local businesses. They are seeing that Sapulpa is growing and heading in the direction that we need to be headed. If not, we would just be stagnant.” 

Terri and Archie Fain, owners of The Heart of Route 66 Vintage Market, were quite enthusiastic about the Chute. Terri Fain said, “We did three times [the revenue] we did in a normal day.”

Sapulpa Times spoke to Diane Gloden who owns Little Bit of Country. Referring to the Chute, she said, “Today made it better. I have been really worried about it. We had a really bad October. Tonight was really good, so I will follow it in the days ahead, because I told them I would be the first one to say I was wrong and this was good and I will be the first one to say ‘Let’s rethink this.’”

Studio One Salon was visited next, where Sapulpa Times spoke to owner Gary Bond. “I think it’s great for business, it’s going to draw thousands of people down here.” When asked if he had seen any negative effects of the Christmas Chute his response was “No, none.”

Tina Ford, who owns the Dewey Street Market, said that sales had been down in October. When asked if she was optimistic for future sales through the Christmas season she replied, “Tonight is the first night—we will have to wait and see. I hope.” 

Christie Marlin, owner of pop-up shop “Woodricitry,” was enthusiastic about the Chute and said she would “do it again.”

When asked how her business was doing with the presence of the Christmas Chute, Iris Philbeck, operator of a pop-up shop called “Le Lapin LTD” (French for “rabbit”) responded, “It’s crazy good.”