Instructed to avoid crowds to minimize the spread of Covid-19, it might be the perfect time to visit the Deep Fork District of 66, including Luther and all of our surrounding towns. After all, we are a haven of small businesses where large crowds are only found at the sports fields, rodeos and events; any of which that had been scheduled over the next couple of weeks, are now canceled or postponed. Note: Luther Little League sports remains a go, beginning the first weekend in April.
It has been business as usual in Luther, as much as possible, as tournaments, trips, public events, and other activities canceled one after another this week as a public health response to Covid-19. A quick check on local businesses downtown and on Route 66 found restaurants, shops and the bank open for customers, and business owners taking a common sense approach to the issue.
Not that the pandemic didn’t win as the number one topic of discussion where people gather, in small groups, with the appropriate amount of space in between them, with very clean hands, and trying not to cough or sneeze to avoid getting the stink-eye from fellow diners or shoppers.
Candace Carper Jones operates Broken Horn Ranch at 19680 North Luther Road. They are ready for their SEVEN (emphasis added) weddings that are planned over the next eleven days.
“I pray everything is business as usual,” she said. But cancelations have affected them in another way. “My husband took my daughter to her first Thunder game Wednesday night, needless to say she was heartbroken! They didn’t call the game till 7:30 pm and they were already in their seats and ready to go!”
The game was cancelled, and the entire NBA season was suspended, after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for COVID-19. It was the tipping point that led a flurry of cancelations and postponements of large gatherings to encourage “social distancing” with the ultimate goal of stopping the spread of the virus.
Upward and Onward
For others in the events and public service industry, this chain reaction has likely caused a store run on Tums, or something stronger, instead of toilet paper. For example, what should we do about the Luther Pecan Festival? Did you read about the pattern of the 1919 Spanish Flu, when the virus went dormant in the summer and came back with a vengeance in the fall, when our LPF is scheduled for November 21, 2020? And before we could publish this article, word came the season opener for Edmond’s popular Hurd on Heard canceled for March 21.
You wouldn’t blame Josh and Stephanie Smith who own Opus Entertainment if they’re in the mode of being afraid to look at their phone. Is that a call about another cancelation? Booked events provide revenue and puts food on the table, as they say. Josh is not denying that the situation doesn’t cause some anxiety and some lost gigs. But not everything is canceling, postponement is a better word for the situation, triggering calendar challenging chances to reschedule and recoup losses.
Not one to give up, Josh’s entrepreneurial spirit, also known as hustle, led him to amp up their handyman business, A-to-Z Handyman X-Press. Why not put his trained technicians to work as deep cleaners for homes and businesses? Voila! A reason to answer the phone again … without dread.
That’s a good pandemic pivot.
At Eleven Oaks Ranch at 21601 Diagonal Rd in Luther, wedding season is also about to be in full swing. Owner Jaye Payton said, “we also have back to back weddings and are happily hosting them. We are moving on, business as usual! We will be thankful when this passes and everyone gets back to normal!”
Restaurants around town are prepped, sanitized, delicious and friendly. The Chicken Shack is having an event. Shack Paddy’s Party, this weekend. Meanwhile, lunch and dinner have been brisk at Our Town Eatery and DJ’S BBQ. Bonus for Luther’s Brew 66 and Sonic where they have drive-thrus. At Farmstead Cafe at 116, an Irish special cooking event went on as planned on Tuesday and regular business has been great.
Farmstead owner Matthew Winton said the cafe is offering the same great service and cleanliness as always, with maybe a little more vigilance on sanitizing those high-touched surfaces of door knobs, handles, counters and dishes.
“We are thankful to our guests for recognizing how panic hurts small business. There is no fear in love, Love dispels fear,” he said. They are planning for another busy Spring Break like last year. March typically has a business spike as the unofficial start to the Route 66 tourist season begins.
Elsewhere around Luther, BancFirst welcomed its guests as usual, and incidentally opened at least one new account, for the newly established Deep Fork District of 66 connecting Arcadia to Stroud. Membership is open to the newly formed organization that is focusing on economic development and marketing with efforts to invite more visitors to our shops, restaurants, towns and attractions along our part of Route 66, America’s Main Street.DEEP FORK 2020 Membership App
Gary Roy, Luther, Jones and Carney BancFirst president, said they will remain open. He said the Luther Branch has grown exponentially following their 2019 move to a new building on Route 66. He is watching information carefully and providing steady assurance. He said he’s reminded of some sage advice that went something like: “Small business is like fighting a grizzly bear, you can’t be the first one to lose energy.”
Beth at Beth’s Baubles and Bits on Main Street said her thrift store remains open for sure and is filling spots for her Backyard Bazaar in April. “I plan to use the common sense approach. I am staying open,” she said.
Across Luther’s Main Street and down the way from Beth is Allan Booher’s Tax Office. With tax day coming up quickly, business is on fire.
“We have not seen a decline in any appointments or with clients coming in to sign e-file documents. We are just trucking along!” The office responded to the email from the Luther Register to area businesses to check-in. If you are not on that list, learn more here about subscriptions and advertising.
Down Route 66 at the Arcadia Round Barn where Kimberly Burk helps out with greeting visitors and marketing, she said traffic did not slow down this week as news about the pandemic heightened.
She said Spring Break is a big revenue week. Although the Rt 66 iconic Arcadia Round Barn does not charge admission, donations are accepted and it has a great gift shop. She said volunteers have brought their own supplies from home and conducted some extra cleaning this week.
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