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Country Store may close January 31, 2007

Posted by redforkhippie in Businesses, People, Preservation.
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(Sign hanging above the cash register at the Country Store)

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When the Country Store opened on 11th Street in Tulsa nearly 40 years ago, it was, in fact, in the country.

Four decades of urban sprawl later, the Country Store’s location on historic Route 66 is considered part of midtown Tulsa. Farmers are an endangered species, and most of the city’s gardeners are out in the suburbs: Jenks, Bixby, Broken Arrow.

A perfect storm of big-box stores, urban sprawl, heavy debt, and crop-scorching drought is bearing down on the longtime Tulsa institution and its third-generation owner, Bill Sivadon, and barring any last-minute miracles, it looks as if the business may close for good.

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Sivadon and his wife, Kathey — pictured above — reported Tuesday that the store is set to close any day. If they can sell off their remaining stock at retail prices, they may be able to raise enough to pay off their debt and save the business — but time is of the essence. Their creditors have been poised to pull the plug for the past week or so. Wait a day — or even a few hours — and it may be too late to buy one last souvenir and make one last effort to help keep a Route 66 institution alive.

Bill said there is an off chance he may be able to reopen in 30 days, although the odds are slim.

Despite the impending closure of his family’s business — which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2005 — Bill is not bitter. He harbors no ill will toward his creditors, whom he calls “good people” who extended deadlines and helped him as far as they could, and if he’s worried about his future, he isn’t letting it show.

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(Sign taped to the glass in the front door of the Country Store)

“The Lord’s taken care of me for 57 years, and I don’t think he’s gonna stop now,” Bill says.

He will, however, miss his customers, many of whom have become friends.

We know the feeling.

Comments»

1. M.T. Nester - January 31, 2007

Wow. I’m sorry to hear that. We loved visiting the store when we came out to see you. It was a perfectly preserved little piece of the past, yet had people who were very much up to speed with the current varieties available and methods to use. I am so sorry. I was looking forward to visiting them again the next time we come out. They will be in my prayers.

2. curtis - February 1, 2007

oh no, i love that store , my friends and i were trappers in junior high school and we would skip out of school and ride the bus to the country store and buy new traps (muskrat , beaver and coons.i am now 46 and will look back on those days with joy . good luck country store

3. Tabitha Parenti - February 1, 2007

I just tried to call them to see if they had in seed potatoes yet, and the line was disconnected. This does not bode well. I’ll make a trip over there this weekend to check on them and report my findings. It’s just around the corner from my apartment.

4. redforkhippie - February 2, 2007

The phone was disconnected a couple of weeks ago because they did not expect to be allowed to stay past last week. They do not have seed potatoes. Bill said he knew this was coming, so he didn’t order any spring stock yet, because he did not want to buy more stock on credit and then leave his vendors hanging out to dry if that stock wound up being seized and auctioned off for pennies on the dollar.

It’s not the same, but the Farmers Feed Store in Sapulpa — located on Main Street, just a couple of blocks north of 66 — is another great mom-and-pop feed store that carries just about everything you’d want to buy for your garden. In the absence of the Country Store, I plan to throw my business to them, to Lee’s Feed (way out on the east end of 11th Street, about as far east as you can go on 66 before you hit Catoosa), and to the Booster Feed Mill (on the old Admiral Place alignment of 66). Bill has had several job offers, and he assures me that he will let me know where he lands so I can continue to take advantage of his encyclopedic knowledge of agriculture.

I’ll miss coming into the store to buy a flat of seedlings and shoot the bull with Bill’s daughters Melodie and Jennifer, who are two of the biggest cutups you’ll ever meet.

Support the little guys while you can. They can’t survive without us, and the alternative is a dreary world full of cookie-cutter big boxes.

5. Meralee - May 22, 2007

The Country Store property is now under new ownership. It will not be reincarnated as the Country Store. The good news is that it will still be owned by a small company (4 employees) that is a family business…not someone from out of state looking for a quick buck or anything along those lines.
I am an employee of the company that will be moving into the location. The offices of our current location were destroyed in a fire in February and the entire building is unusable. We won’t have the same customer base as we are a restaurant supply store, but we hope to breathe a little life back into the building.

6. Meralee - May 25, 2007

While we’ve been cleaning up the building in preparation for our restaurant supply store, we’ve averaged about 8-10 people a day coming by looking for the Country Store. Unfortunately, I know nothing about gardening, rancing, or anything similar, so I have no idea where to suggest they go.

Do you know of any store similar to the Country Store that are fairly close to that location? I’d love to be able to answer people with more than just “Sorry, I don’t know.”

7. Ron - May 25, 2007

The best bet is Lee’s Feed and Seed at 19015 E. 11th St., which is a few miles east of the old Country Store.

There’s also a good feed store, Booster Feed Mill, at 5535 E. Admiral Place.

Another really good one is Farmers Feed at 121 N. Main in Sapulpa. It’s busy and prosperous, but more than 10 miles from your location.

8. Meralee - May 11, 2008

Bill Sivadon stopped by where the Country Store used to be a few weeks ago to visit and see the changes we’ve made to gear the building toward restaurant and kitchen supplies. He told me he’s now the manager of the Dollar General in Mounds and to feel free to let people know they can find him there.

9. Melodie Sivadon-Reader - February 12, 2010

Still awful that there is no longer a Country Store. I’m just glad to have Mom and Dad close to home. I wish they would open up a store in Mounds where they live, but there is a Hardware store here that is similar to what they had in Tulsa. I know Dad really misses helping people with their farm and garden needs.

While they closed a few years ago, Dad would do it all again in a heartbeat, if he wouldn’t get undercut on pricing by large chain stores… The story of the small business person is the story of the struggle of survival.

Dad loves being home and close to family, but his heart is in gardening for certain.

Thanks to everyone who loved and supported us through the years.
We enjoyed analysing, assisting and just gabbing with you. You will always hold a dear place in our hearts and the memories will never fade. Thank you Tulsa.

Melodie Sivadon-Reader

10. Mary S - November 11, 2012

So sad I always love going there. All the heirloom items and just great products. My grandchildren will never know what real country store is like.


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