Cherokee Nation citizen Alyssa Henson flips a sign to “open” at the May 9 grand opening of her storefront 7 Clan Stand. Previously the store was online only. Her storefront offers original and customized Native-inspired pieces from Henson. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
7 Clan Stand storefront opens after ‘high demand’
Two backpacks hang from a shelf at 7 Clan Stand located at 306 N. Muskogee Ave. in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Cherokee Nation citizen Alyssa Henson opened the storefront after the demand grew “too high” for her Facebook business. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – From her house to Tahlequah’s main street, Cherokee Nation citizen Alyssa Henson began her creative journey of fashioning clothes with Indigenous flair approximately three years ago.
On May 9, she held a grand opening for her brick and mortar shop on Muskogee Avenue.
Henson said she opened the shop because the demand on Facebook for custom orders was “too high.”
“The demand was too high on Facebook to just keep it running from my house, so it called for me to have a location that people can come to so that it would make it a lot easier,” she said.
Henson said when customers enter her shop they will see Native-inspired clothing made by her or purchased from vendors.
“What I’ve actually made is all of the Cherokee-inspired skirts. I make men’s vests and boy’s vests, which I will be putting more out. I make some bags too, as well, that are also Cherokee-inspired with the designs,” she said.
She also has some of her customized hoodies along with backpacks, purses, jewelry and other Native-themed wears.
Henson said in time she would like to create a place in her shop where she could sew.
“I’m trying to make it where I’ll have a little place to sew here while I’m here,” she said.
She said the goal is to have the store act as an “intertribal” gift shop. “Not just Cherokee, but I really care about the other tribes that we have that are in and around the Tahlequah area. You know, just a place where you can go and you can really find some authentic Native-made things, jewelry, the traditional skirts or just in general a tribal skirt or a vest.”
Henson said she is still taking custom orders as she did before opening the store.
“You can come here and get things customized. Like if you even bring your own hoodie in and you wanted a certain color or anything like that, I really try to be open,” she said.
She is also working on creating a website for the 7 Clan Stand, and she’ll be updating customers on her Facebook page about its progress.
“I’m going to be creating my website…where you can put things in a cart, pretty soon,” she said. “I can’t really say when, but I will be updating that on the (Facebook) profile.”
She also plans to have a “grand opening” sale in which she will offer 20 percent off on some of her items. “We’ll have to get that set, and I’ll post that on the (Facebook) page as well.”
Henson’s 7 Clan Stand is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and is located at 306 N. Muskogee Ave.
For more information, visit “7clanstand” on Facebook or stop by the store.
STILWELL, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Distributors, a company within the engineering and manufacturing segment of Cherokee Nation Businesses, has again been named one of the most prestigious suppliers in the aerospace industry.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, recently awarded CND with its Gold Supplier status.
CND received the esteemed Gold Supplier status for its best-in-class performance in quality, delivery, lean techniques and customer satisfaction. The recent honor marks the company’s fourth year to receive the award since earning the Sikorsky Gold Supplier Certification in 2012.
The Supply Management Council for Lockheed Martin is recognizing CND for its superior operational performance in its manufacturing of main wiring harnesses for the MH-60S SEAHAWK and S-92 aircraft. CND is one of 13 companies selected from Sikorsky’s more than 300 vendor supply base.
“A commitment to excellence is imbedded in our company’s culture,” said Steven Bilby, president of CNB’s diversified businesses. “Our longstanding relationships with industry leaders such as Sikorsky and the growth and success of our diversified businesses are great testaments to our companywide dedication to first-class service.”
The company hosted an appreciation lunch to thank employees for their hard work and exemplary performance. Representatives from CNB and Sikorsky attended and presented staff with a Gold Supplier banner to display at the Stilwell location.
“Our employees’ dedication to providing the highest-quality products to each of our clients is unmatched,” said Chris Moody, CNB executive general manager of engineering and manufacturing. “We are very proud to see their efforts recognized with this prestigious honor.”
The framework for the Cherokee Nation’s economic prosperity was laid in Stilwell more than 40 years ago. The tribal enterprise specializes in aerospace and defense manufacturing, telecommunications and distribution services.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Connecticut, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is a global security and aerospace company that engages in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Opened in 1979, The Speckled Hen has changed ownerships throughout its nearly 40-year journey. But under Cherokee Nation citizens Bill Campbell and Cheryl Horn – along with help from family members, previous owners and those who rent space at the establishment – the antique flea market still is providing timeless treasures to the Tahlequah area.
Cheryl said her mother and stepfather purchased the business in 1999 and sold it in 2002.
“When they first bought it they added the booths. Then they added the, we call that the ‘add-on’ room. As the other buildings became available they added toward the north,” she said.
She said the business was later sold to Bob and Luella Lankford and her uncle and aunt Johnny and Carol Horn before eventually going to Cheryl’s cousin Robbie.
In March 2016, Campbell bought the business when Cheryl's cousin decided to pursue other interests. Cheryl said over the years the shop has expanded and now has five “rooms,” which includes the “add-on” room.
Campbell said he wasn’t sure on the shop’s size, but to give a scope of how big it is, the customers’ first reaction usually is “this place just keeps going and going and going.”
“Most of the comments we get are, ‘I didn’t realize this place was this big,’ or they will say, ‘this place just keeps going and going and going.’ That happens a lot,” he said.
Campbell said the store has roughly 140 booths, or rentable spaces, that include shelves and wall space, with approximately 130 vendors.
“There are a few vendors that do have more than one booth,” he said.
The store offers an array of items from antiques to more recent items. It also has a wall dedicated to cast iron cooking wares.
Campbell said the items are typically “affordable.” Quality collectables and practical usability items are also available.
“Nine times out of 10 I would dare say within these walls it is uber affordable. Not trying to say we’re undercutting anyone, but our vendors set their prices. We don’t set the prices,” he said.
Campbell said it means a lot to him that the store offers items that people “treasure.”
“It really ties into that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. I judge it by the comments. You get the standard, ‘I had one of those when I was a kid. I’ve been looking for one of those for forever. I can’t believe you had this.’ Or you get, ‘this is the item that I’ve been looking for that’s going to be the perfect birthday, wedding gift.’ That happens a lot,” he said. “There is value in those emotions. There is value in those rewarding moments. Just by being here and being open and someone coming in and finding that item, you made their day.”
Campbell said he credits the store’s longevity to it staying family orientated and local.
“I think one of the reasons why it’s lasted is it has stayed local. It has stayed family. People coming in the door already knew these people outside of here. So it’s friendly in nature,” he said.
Horn credits some of the store’s longevity to its parking space.
“We have more parking sometimes and it’s easier to get in and out,” she said.
The Speckled Hen is located at 5227 S. Muskogee Ave. and is on Facebook under “The Speckled Hen Antique Flea Market.”
The Speckled Hen is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and closed Monday.
For more information, call 918-458-0032 or visit <a href="http://www.thespeckledhenok.com" target="_blank">www.thespeckledhenok.com</a>.
MONKEY ISLAND, Okla. – Credit scores act as buffers between consumers and banks or institutions from which they wish to borrow money. Whether it’s for daily items, a car or a house, credit scores play roles in many expenditures, so it’s important to know about them and how they affect consumers.
Cherokee Nation citizen Brian Hartley, an Oklahoma State Bank employee, offers a two-sheet guide that provides a look into credit scores and what they entail. He said it’s important to first know what exactly a credit score is.
“A credit score is a scoring system to let creditors know what type of past history you had,” he said. “Meaning that if you paid on time and have not been in any trouble you’ll have a high score, and it tells creditors like a bank or an institution that the likelihood of this person paying is very high compared to someone who may have a low score. It’s the possibility that the low score is a person that could be very non-paying or late-paying or have some other issues that may have came into their past.”
Hartley said a credit score is determined from various factors.
“It’s anywhere from paying your bills to getting credit lines or getting a car installment payment or any type of other credit out there as well as medical. I mean, your whole life is tied to your credit score almost,” he said.
He said the credit score range is typically between 350 to 850, and Transunion, Equifax and Experian all calculate a score for the consumer, which typically vary but closely reflect each other.
Hartley said when it comes to calculating scores there are various types of credit that come into play – anything ranging from bank and gas cards to personal finance companies loans.
For bank cards, he said consumers would be considered “lowest risk” if they only have two cards.
“So if you have zero cards you’re considered a high risk because you don’t have a line open. If you have one your risk goes lower. If you have two of them it automatically is the lowest risk level that you can get. It’s not lowering your score, it’s just a lower risk,” he said. “As soon as you get three or more then that risk goes up. It’s not helping your score.”
As for travel and entertainment cards, Hartley said, if a consumer has more than one card from this group the consumer is considered “high risk.”
“You have travel and entertainment cards, which is Diner’s card, American Express. If you don’t have one no problem, it’s a neutral zone. If you have just one you’re at a lower risk, but if you have more than one you’re automatically considered high risk,” he said.
He said the same goes for department and gas cards. He said if a consumer has just one loan from a personal finance company the consumer is considered “high risk.”
“Here’s where most people get in trouble – personal finance companies, payday places and other places. If you have one of these open, doesn’t matter just one, you’re automatically considered a high risk. Unfortunately we have a lot of people that go and utilize these companies and they serve a need for several people, but it’s not helping their credit score,” he said.
Hartley said even if the consumer has the suggested amount of credit lines open he or she is considered “high risk” for the first 12 months the credit line is open.
“So once you open it and you’re paying great you’re still considered high risk until one year. After you’ve paid non-stop for 12 months your high risk status goes down to neutral level,” he said.
Hartley said once a credit line is open, if payments are missed it can hurt one’s score.
“Now if you are to hit 30, 60, 90, 120 days (late) or anything else during that time it automatically counts against you and the higher the risk goes,” he said. “Just try to keep those down as low as you can and to zero as much as possible.”
Hartley said if payments are not paid on time or missed completely “derogatory” marks would be on a consumer’s record for “seven years.”
“The seven years don’t start when you start having problems. It’s when the credit line has been resolved in some fashion,” he said.
He said the “seven years” applies to everything except for bankruptcy. “Once it’s (bankruptcy) finalized and they put it on your record, it stays on your credit score for 10 years.”
Hartley said credit scores mean more to consumers than they realize.
“Everyone is looking at them,” he said. “Some people are looking at it for employment or say if you’re renting a apartment. That’s going to be looked at as well. So it’s very important that people pay attention, pay their stuff and not get over extended in credit.”
Hartley said Transunion, Equifax and Experian give consumers free looks at their credit scores annually. He said consumers can also check their credit scores at <a href="http://www.ftc.gov" target="_blank">ftc.gov</a> or <a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com" target="_blank">annualcreditreport.com</a>.
Hartley said when consumers are looking to purchase a car, home or do anything where they need to get their credit checked, it’s best to fit it within seven days.
“In a seven-day period you can go and shop 100 different (car) dealers and have them all pull your credit and everything else and it only counts against your credit score one time,” he said.
<strong>Percentage of Credit Used</strong>
Hartley said when dealing with lines of credit it’s best to use only 20 to 30 percent of credit that is allotted to the consumer, which is considered “low risk,” and that reaching 70 to 80 percent of credit used could determine that the consumer is considered “high risk.”
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Ryan Sierra always dreamed of running his own business and educating children. That dream became reality when he opened an early childhood facility called A Bright Start Development Center.
It caters to children ages 0-12 years old with gross motor development and guided learning in a school-like atmosphere. “We try to run a routine similar to school. The kids (have) some group-setting experiences,” Sierra said.
He said he funded the business with his savings and help from family.
“A lot of the equipment we’ve been blessed to get donated…what could be thousands of dollars in equipment was donated,” Sierra said.
After working with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services in 2015 to ensure compliance, including having proper equipment and passing necessary inspections, the center opened in February 2016 with four babies. Enrollment eventually grew to 30 children.
He said his facility is now licensed to take up to 40 children up to 12 years old, but mainly focuses on infants zero to 11 months, toddlers 12-23 months and 2- to 4-year-olds.
“I was excited at the turn of the year into (20)17. I thought this is awesome. So January of (20)17 I…put all our ducks in a row and we increased our capacity to 40. We don’t have all spots taken yet, but we have that potential to grow to 40 now. So it’s really exciting to see that it didn’t take us a year to actually grow. So I was really happy how we ended our first year and started our second,” he said.
The center offers children a social setting, including breakfast; gross motor development (dancing to music and circle time); guided learning (art, dramatic play, science and math); lunch; play time; and rest time.
“We try to keep them engaged. We do want them developing. So everything that is already here in place does benefit the different areas of development,” Sierra said. “We try to add to it by giving them the activities, the art activities, the science activities, the sensory activities. They are very important to development at this age.”
He said the goal is to give the children “a bright start to school and their education.”
Sierra said he works with parents on scheduling and costs. DHS sets costs through a stars program, and the center is rated as a two-star program. Infants are $155 per week. Toddlers are $144 per week. Two- to 3-year-olds are $129 per week, and 4-year-olds and up are $106.50 per week.
He said his center is contracted to accept subsidy payments through the DHS, CN, Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma and Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma.
“Everything we do here is geared toward helping a family. Number one is providing a quality place of care for a child. That’s our number one, and making sure that a child’s taken care of. Everything else that revolves around that involves the family,” Sierra said.
Sierra said he wants to open two more early childhood sites and an immersion school to teach the Cherokee language. “Then eventually I want a charter school because I want to…continue our goal of giving young adults a bright start in the future. I want to be able to prepare them for college, prepare them for trade school, prepare them for whatever they want to do in life.”
The center is located at 509 S. Muskogee Ave. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 918-772-5155 or visit A Bright Start Development Center on Facebook.
PRYOR, Okla. – For the past four months FTW! Game Co. – a video game, comic and novelty store – has operated in Pryor. And Cherokee Nation citizen Luke Nagel, who co-owns it with his wife Lori, said the business has been well received by the community and that people have expressed appreciation for the youth-oriented business.
“A lot of parents and mothers have come in and say that they’re really glad this is here because there wasn’t too many options left besides going all the way to Tulsa,” he said.
There were several locations they could have chosen, but Pryor, he said, was optimal.
“Because Hastings had just shut down and there’s only one Gamestop out here. There’s nothing really in the area besides driving to Tulsa…especially for retro games. We’re the only place in the area besides Claremore,” Luke said.
He and his family, including his mother, designed the store’s look from the ground up, including the logo. His daily activities include running the store and tracking inventory while Lori handles the marketing and finances.
“We offer everything going all the way back to Nintendo, and we do have some Atari stuff going all the way back to Xbox 1, the latest systems. Working on getting Nintendo Switch,” he said. “Also we have a lot comic books, new and old, brand new stuff out of the box dating back to the (19)60s…as well as very popular board games and card games.”
Luke said he is the only Oklahoma carrier of Biotank – a card game created in the state.
“And we carry Magic the Gathering and Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh and just about everything else involved with that. We carry dice sets for people who play D and D (Dungeons and Dragons) and we carry T-shirts. Everything from what’s popular, some indie stuff. We have some obscure movie stuff on the wall as well and posters.”
FTW also carries bracelets, necklaces, wallets and hats all themed in gaming and comic industry.
In addition to the items the store offers, the Nagels have a “game room” where customers can test as many games as they want for $5 per hour as well as rent the space for birthday parties and gatherings.
“Ten to 15 kids, $150 for two hours and we make goodie bags and we have a freezer in the back for ice cream and anything else you need to keep in there,” he said.
Luke said they are in Step 1 of his and Lori’s long-term plan. They continue to add products and only employee each other to keep down costs.
“We want to expand over time and eventually possibly open a second store, which would require us hiring a lot more people because I couldn’t run two stores at one time,” he said.
Although it was scary, he said opening the business was a great decision. In preparation for it they saved money to supplement the loans needed to start to keep overhead low.
“It’s hard not to be in debt, of course, when you start because you have to get all your inventory and product in here and invest in the spot, get any kind of licensing issues that you have to go through, finding vendors to make sure you’re getting decent prices on things…” he said. “I would say anybody that is thinking about going into doing business for yourself definitely do it. It’s scary at first. It took us 10 months to get everything we needed.”
The Nagels said they continue to have repeat business, so much so that they know many customers by name.
“Our weekends are great. Of course during the week everybody is in school, but when 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock hits we have a lot of people that come in every single day. I see the same people everyday, plus new faces. So people are telling other people…I know a lot of them by name now,” he said.
FTW! Games Co. is located at 527 S. Mill off Highway 69. It’s open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. For more information, call 918-373-8177 or visit the store’s Facebook page.