I’m heading over to Pawhuska in the morning to see all the activity!
Welcome back. With the grand opening of Ree Drummond’s, or as millions know her, The Pioneer Woman’s new Mercantile on Main Street in Pawhuska, OK, my friends there tell me that thousands are expected to flood the town starting on October 31st. As there are few motels in Pawhuska itself, the overflow to the surrounding communities should be a boon to all the local economies. I think area museums and restaurants will be benefiting and as you know downtown Bartlesville is looking pretty good and should be an attraction as well.
According to The Pioneer Woman website, this project has been several years in the making beginning when Ree and her husband rancher Ladd Drummond purchased an old building in Pawhuska in 2013 and began renovations. The first phase was completed in 2014 and included a large event space and offices for the couple’s numerous enterprises. The second phase was the development of the Pioneer Woman Mercantile which will encompass a retail store showcasing Ree’s extensive line of home goods, a bakery, deli and coffee bar. There will also be an online store.
In addition to the Mercantile building the Drummonds also purchased the former Alco facility in Pawhuska which has been refurbished to serve as a warehouse for the store and online operations. Needless to say, all of these activities have also created a hiring boom in the area.
A true treasure for a small town Ree Drummond is best known as a blogger, author and cooking show host but she is also a wife, mother and know soon to be the director of a major retail enterprise. If you are among the millions who follow her website as well as her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts you probably know all this but back in the mid-1970s when I first met her it was a different Ree Drummond who lived in the Kenilworth addition of Bartlesville. This section of town was just being developed in an area of large estate like properties such as H.C. Price’s home and Shin En Kan which was just across the street but going south there were few homes. Once it was established Kenilworth became an upscale development, attracting Phillips’ executives and well known families like the Tylers (heirs to the Dewey Concrete Plant) and the Mullendores.
I was a young man fresh from dropping out of college and I was working for Dunlap Builders on the construction of Dr. Burris’ new home which was right next door to Dr. Bill Smith’s house who happens to be Ree’s dad. As I remember Ree was a very happy little girl but it was her brother Mike and I who bonded. Little did I, Mike or her folks know what a big impact this small girl would make in the world. If by some chance you don’t know who the Pioneer Woman is yet, you might take a little drive to Pawhuska in the next few weeks and check out her new store. You won’t need an address, just look for the crowds.
My sources also tell me that Ree has just purchased some property at the intersection of Highway 75 and Price Road for an outlet store and I’m betting that it will be open by Christmas so we may have a little Pioneer Woman madness coming here in Bartlesville too.
Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…..