Woodsman Trading Co. helps people connect with outdoors

BY STACIE BOSTON
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
02/15/2018 08:00 AM
Video Frame selected by Cherokee Phoenix
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Gaylon Cornsilk stands among items in the Woodsman Trading Co. at The Village in Oklahoma City. Cornsilk is the co-owner of the store alongside his brother-in-law Travis Smith. The duo used their experiences with the outdoors and decided to open the store in November. STACIE BOSTON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A hat with artwork from artist Abby Paffrath sits on display at the Woodsman Trading Co. at The Village in Oklahoma City. Cherokee Nation citizen Gaylon Cornsilk, Woodsman co-owner, says he strives to help promote other small businesses by featuring their wares at the store. STACIE BOSTON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
From knives, backpacks and water bottles, the Woodsman Trading Co. at The Village in Oklahoma City has products to fit the needs of the everyday explorer. STACIE BOSTON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
OKLAHOMA CITY – A love for the outdoors prompted Cherokee Nation citizen Gaylon Cornsilk and his brother-in-law Travis Smith to create Woodsman Trading Co., an outdoor lifestyle store.

The two opened on Nov. 26 to share their love for nature.

“We’re kind of an old-fashioned store. We really try to emphasize quality goods,” Cornsilk said. “If we don’t believe in it, we don’t sell it. If I sell something here, I’ve used it, tried it. I know it inside and out.”

Cornsilk’s love for the outdoors began at a young age when he and his father spent three months camping in Alaska and Canada. “I think it kind of put something in my heart that I never forgot.”

Located at The Village, Cornsilk said it’s a kind of store not “typically” seen in the area.

“You feel like you’re either in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or you feel like you’re in Colorado. I think that’s the kind of vibe you can get in here. It’s almost like urban meets woodsman,” he said. “We sell trendy cloths for men and women, but they’re also functional and practical. You can take it out on the trail during the day, out in town during night.”

Aside from clothing, the store offers mugs, caps, blankets, knifes and instructional children’s books about camping and other outdoor activities.

“I’m finding more and more people, as they’re starting to plug in with the outdoors they’re getting their children involved,” he said. “We have books to help children learn how to camp for the first time, how to cook on a open fire, setting up a tent, things that help them understand that being outdoors is enjoyable.”

Cornsilk said promoting other small businesses is important, so a lot of products offered do that.

“We carry a hat line by an artist named Abby Paffrath. She’s out of Jackson, Wyoming. She’s a painter, and what she’ll do is she’ll do a painting and then eventually they’ll put that print on their clothing lines,” he said. “We just try to work with handcrafted stuff, a lot of USA products, and I love working with other small businesses.”

Cornsilk said building relationships with customers is driving business factor, as well as ensuring customers buy the right products to fit their needs.

“If a customer says, ‘hey, I want a camping knife.’ I want to know what are you going to use that knife for? I don’t want to just sell them a product, I want to help him meet his needs,” he said.

Cornsilk said he’s “proud” of his Cherokee heritage and the respect for nature it gave him.

“I grew up with my dad’s side of the family a lot, so I’ve been around Native American communities my whole life. I’m extremely proud, it means a lot to me,” he said. “I think even with the Native American background, respect for nature, creation, there’s a lot of things that’s always kind of stuck with me.”

Cornsilk said the store also gives him a chance to promote being able to “unplug” and connect with nature.

“I think being outdoors is healing for your heart, for your soul, for your body. I want to see more people spend time outdoors if they can,” he said. “We live in such a fast-paced society, we’re always on our smartphones, and I’m guilty of it. Sometimes I think we just need to take a pause, unplug maybe connect with the outdoors.”

Woodsman Trading Co. is at 9705 N. May Ave. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information, “like” Woodsman Trading Co. on Facebook, “follow” it on Instagram or visit woodsmantrading.com.

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