Cherokee-owned SSLG Trading Group opens
Stephanie Standingwater-Cutrer, a Cherokee Nation citizen and SSLG Trading Group co-owner, front left, cuts the ribbon with her husband, dad, stepmother and community members at the store’s grand opening on March 5 in Locust Grove. The store sells housewares items and general merchandise at lower-than-retail pricing. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Patrons browse for merchandise at the March 5 grand opening of SSLG Trading Group in Locust Grove. Co-owner Stephanie Standingwater-Cutrer said the business stems from wanting to add diversity to the town’s business sector. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
A banner hangs above the entry of the SSLG Trading Group in Locust Grove, which is a Cherokee-owned family business that resells housewares and general merchandise. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
LOCUST GROVE – The Cherokee-owned SSLG Trading Group celebrated the grand opening of its family-owned housewares resale business with a ribbon cutting on March 5.
SSLG stands for Susan (Standingwater), Stephanie (Standingwater-Cutrer), Lawrence (Standingwater) and Gabriel (Cutrer). Located at 524 E. Main St., it’s open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Standingwater-Cutrer and her father, Lawrence, are Cherokee Nation citizens who worked with their spouses to open the business, which started from the back of a truck and has upgraded to a storefront.
The store merchandise sells at lower-than-retail pricing, she said. “At the start of it we bought palletized general merchandise from a warehouse in Arkansas, and it was from major retailers, and we were able to buy it at a decent price. So I decided at that moment that everything I was going to offer for people to buy was going to be half or less (than retail).”
Its merchandise includes kitchenware, tables, television stands, dressers, cell phones cases, books and clothing that one can find in Wal-Mart, Costco, Cato’s or Bill’s Sporting Goods, she said.
Standingwater-Cutrer added that the business stemmed from wanting to add diversity to the town’s business sector.
It will also serve as a resource for people in need. Standingwater-Cutrer said SSLG is networking with the Pryor Area Resource Alliance, a nonprofit organization, to help people pay rent or utilities to buying food or help those in need of substance abuse rehabilitation by connecting them to resources.
“I want to be an example for the kids. We’re just ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Or trying to,” Standingwater-Cutrer said. “I’m just trying to be obedient and do what I feel in my heart that I need to do.”
She said the community has been supportive of her family’s business and efforts, and there is “not really a competition” between businesses. “Everyone’s wanting to better the community.”
She said local residents have also wanted to help the business in some way such as being a cashier or helping with inventory. “We have people that have different talents that want to help us fight what we’re striving for. Everyone else is seeing the bigger picture.”
In addition to getting the business thriving, Standingwater-Cutrer said she and her family are looking to add 1,300 square feet of space to the existing 500 square feet where the store resides. Another goal is to become CN Tribal Employment Rights Office certified as an Indian-owned business.
“It all started with a couple Cherokees on their homestead. I actually have a lot of pride in being Cherokee. We actually just want to bring networking, diversity and being a resource,” Standingwater-Cutrer said.