Tahlequah Daily Press

October 22, 2012

Many local women take business helm

Staff Writer

Tahlequah — If commerce in Tahlequah is any indicator, businesses owned or operated by women are on the upswing.

From real estate, to the service industry to retail shops, the city has an abundance of female-led entities.

October 22-26 is National Business Women’s Week, and Jan Nolan, owner of Nolan’s Jewelry, has a staff of three women who work seamlessly together to provide customers with a positive jewelry experience., including Sue Meigs, Wanda Lay and Caylee Elkins.

“’We consider you family,’ is Nolan’s Jewelry’s motto, [and it applies to] each customer who comes in our store,” said Nolan. “I have the best staff, because we treat people how we want to be treated.”

Meigs has worked for Nolan’s for six years, as has Lay. Meigs echoed Nolan’s sentiments about business and family.

“We [the staff] are just a family,” said Meigs. “Caylee, Wanda, Jan and I aren’t blood-related, but we feel like a family.”

Meigs enjoys working with an all-female crew, and believes women work well together to solve problems.

“We bounce ideas off of each other all the time,” said Meigs. “Most decisions, whether it’s ordering merchandise, pricing, or changing displays are made by the group. We all bounce things around a little.”

Elkins is the newest member of the staff, but has rapidly become part of the tight-knit group.

“Caylee just started in August, and has caught on so quick that it seems like she has worked here for years,” said Nolan.

The four-woman team at Nolan’s may have the prescription for success, as according to Jan, the store has been named Tahlequah’s Favorite Jewelry Store for 2013.

“Our service, quality of merchandise and large selection of different collections makes us the one of the top retail stores for women,” said Nolan. “Nolan’s has been in business 20 years, and we look forward to many more.”

In addition to offering the latest in new jewelry and gifts, Nolan’s also offers repair, a point in which Nolan takes great pride.

“We have not only the most gifted repairman in the tri-state area, but our prices and turnaround time can’t be beat,” she said.

Nolan may cater primarily to female clientele, but Missy Todd, owner of Rob Bilt Pole Barns, works mostly with men.

“In this business, it is predominately male-owned, so I am one of the few women owners,” said Todd. “Most of my employees are men.”

Todd encountered a learning curve when she first took over, but said she’s comfortable now with all aspects of construction.

“I enjoy it,” said Todd. “At the time [I took over], it was the only thing I knew how to do and make a living at. It has worked out for me ever since.”

She also enjoys providing leadership.

“There has to be a leader,” she said. “The leadership is the best thing about it for me – it’s the fact that I have enough knowledge about this type of business to run it [that makes it so satisfying.].”

Dana Waters, owner of The Music Room, teaches area youth in piano, voice and other instruments, and enjoys being her own boss, as well as working with kids in an area about which she’s passionate.

“I derive a tremendous amount of satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment from being self-employed,” said Waters. “There’s tangible evidence, when I see the kids picking up and running with what I show them, that what I do matters.”

National Business Women’s Week is sponsored by Business and Professional Women, and is celebrated the third week in October every year.

The idea for NBWW originated with Emma Dot Partridge, executive secretary of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs from 1924-1927.

The first annual observance was held April 15-22, 1928, when BPW President Lena Madesin Phillips opened NBWW with a nationally broadcast speech.

According to the BPW website, in her remarks, Phillips said the purpose of the week was “to focus  public attention upon a better business woman for a better business world.”

U.S. President Herbert Hoover was the first president to issue a latter recognizing the NBWW and the contributions and achievements of women in the workforce.

The objectives of the observance are to promote full participation and equity for women in the workplace; to publicize the achievements of business and professional women on the local, state and national level; and to publicize the objectives and programs of BPW as they relate to the millions of business and professional women across the country.

Check it out

To learn more about National Business Women’s Week, and local women who own and operate their own businesses, see the special supplement on pages 5B-8B of today’s edition.