Friday, October 31, 2008

Magnificent Mangum--We Specilize in Solutions!

We’ve loved generating a number of inquiries and stories from recent Agurban articles. One of the many that we received was from Maxine Thomason, Mayor of Mangum, OK (population 2,900). She told of the resurgence in her hometown, adding a dozen new businesses to their downtown in the past year. The closing line of her email really piqued my interest: “Our motto is “We Specialize in Solutions.”

After several emails back and forth, here is what I learned about Mangum from her.

In 2004 The Mangum Star News was the only business operating in one entire block in our downtown district. That year a building on this block was purchased and the owner began to renovate a long neglected section of the building that faced an alley. It was his dream to make some small business spaces with an upstairs loft apartment.
At the same time, a potter and her husband had retired and moved back home. She had lost her lease on a space and was looking for a new location. Bingo! Problem solved. During this same time period we had begun to seek out other artists living in our area. We were astounded to find how many there were. Soon 3 more galleries had opened in the same alley. The City Commission renamed the alley--Artists Alley. They are featured on the cover of this year's Oklahoma Travel Guide for Great Plains Country. They are award winning and will be doing an exhibit at the Governors' Gallery at our state capitol in December.

With this experience Mr. Kane soon renovated the front spaces for a new coffee shop known as The Latte Da. Within the span of a year we have added Reelz, an arcade and movie theatre, Tumbleweeds, a computer service business, and the Mangum Tag Agency. With new windows, awnings, sidewalks and landscaping the block now became a great place to locate.

AdCraft Signs, a large sign business from Phoenix, purchased the remaining two buildings on the block and are creating spaces for both the sign business, an ice cream parlor, and one additional office space to be rented out.

Where are the other 2 businesses? On the next block, Mr. Kane has just purchased and renovated another building and Movieland is opening this weekend. Two blocks away, Laurel and Taylor, a beauty salon has opened for business. Cactus Jack's, an antique and photographic restoration business joins The Quilt Whisperer, an antique quilt restoration business, as two of our newest businesses. Did I say 2? There are even more. Each a small wonder.

Someone once told me that for small towns survival is not a given-you have to work for it. We believe it! And we are!

I’ve said it many times. All it takes is just one or two people with a passion in their town to really make a difference. Fortunately, Mangum has them. Do you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic! All of this great developement without bringing in a private prison to boost your economics! Mangum Rocks!!