TISHOMINGO, Okla. (AP) - Mayor Tom Lokey operates a Valero Quik Mart. Every Friday until a few years ago, his soda and beer salesmen told him he needed extra merchandise for Saturday.
Lokey always responded that he didn’t need more stock because people left town on Fridays.
“We’re not a destination,” he said he would tell the salesmen.
That’s not the case anymore.
“Now, we do have people coming here,” Lokey told The Journal Record (http://bit.ly/1mZGjjM ). “We’re turning into a destination location.”
That change in the city’s tourist population has been attributed to country music artist Miranda Lambert opening The Pink Pistol Boutique at 214 W. Main St.
“She put in a retail store to be an attraction, and it certainly has done that,” Lokey said. “This could potentially be our biggest growth and expansion since the turn of the 20th century. This is the most energetic Main Street has been since the 1970s.”
Lambert’s store opened in November 2012. Lokey said the city didn’t ask her to locate there. She became interested in the city when she visited with husband and fellow country music artist Blake Shelton, an Ada native.
City Clerk and Treasurer Patty Braley said once the store opened, other downtown stores spruced up as well.
“It’s been a blessing to the town,” Braley said.
The city has reaped that blessing through an increase in its sales tax. During fiscal year 2010-2011, the city’s 3-percent sales tax raised $64,000. The 2013-2014 fiscal year ended with $75,100, a 17-percent increase.
Braley said the tax increase is attributed to more shoppers, as well as businesses updating their buildings. At least six new businesses have opened within the last year. In addition, Dollar General put in its recent concept, Dollar General Market, which also helped boost the sales tax total.
Braley said there’s more construction to come downtown, with The Lucky Rose, 107 E. Main St., being one example. Owner Lisa Rose has had a store on Main Street for six years, having first opened two blocks east in an estimated 900-square-foot space. Since she lived east of Tishomingo, she could have opened a store in the city or Durant.
“My husband and I just thought Tishomingo had potential,” she said. “There was a need. People were starting to come around.”
She said before Lambert and Shelton came to the city, young people were already starting to make their way back.