By ROB W. ANDERSON
Press Staff Writer
Despite jobless rates in part of the state many experts deem dismal, new businesses continue to open in Tahlequah, while others are changing hands.
Tahlequah’s only upscale consignment store has new owners, as mother-and-daughter team Dee and Margie Page took over Re-Bella Couture April 1.
“Our first week was a little show, but that’s to be expected with the changing weather, I guess,” said Dee. “We do have several consignors with clothing, but we’re also bringing in new items. We will be adding new products and new lines.”
Aside from clothing, the main street consignment and accessory store at 308 N. Muskogee Ave. offers jewelry and upscale purses with brand names like Coach, Dooney, Frye, Nicole Lee, and Vera Bradley. Most clothing sizes range from juniors to women’s sizes, including boys’ and men’s. The store’s operating hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
A new Florida-based customer service company has taken over a communications center in Tahlequah formerly run by Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. C3, or CustomerContactChannels, opened its doors this month and represents the first C3 site in Oklahoma.
The call center will handle travel and hospitality clientele for Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, said Corporate Marketing and Communications Vice President Alicia Laszewski.
“C3 is a provider of contact center solutions for large companies that place a high priority on excellent customer care,” said Laszewski. “Basically, large corporations outsource the customer communications function to C3.”
C3 also handles customer communications for companies that provide healthcare, insurance, communications and media, utilities, consumer goods and retail, financial services and consumer internet.
“C3 has been around for just a few years, but our management team has been in the industry for decades,” said Laszewski. “The company prides itself on a culture that encourages employee and leadership development, community development and career advancement in an environment that is both fun and exciting. The company has a history of partnering with local charities and becoming a strong local business partner.”
New businesses that opened earlier this year are continuing to welcome customers.
The gelato shop and pizzeria known as “The Twig” is experiencing steady sales and experimenting with new flavors and recipes, said Assistant Manager Nick Andoe.
“Things have actually been going very well,” he said. “We’re having steady business. There have been nice evening crowds. We’re doing monthly specialty pizzas.”
The Italian ice cream shop and eatery is at 503 N. Muskogee Ave. and is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The Twig opens at noon on Sunday and closes at 7 p.m.
Andoe said the late-night business has been good.
“It’s a packed house during those hours,” he said.
Ideas for breakfast-related items are being considered.
“We’re thinking of trying a specialty in breakfast pizza. Maybe a calizone, or for Cinco De Mayo, a taco pizza,” Andoe said. “I’m working with [part-owner and store manager] Chris [Canavan] on making fresh dough daily. The seasalt and caramel [gelato] is a huge seller. We have 21 flavors right now and [customers] can come in and try each of them if they need to.”
Tic Tac Tow Tire Service and Auto Repair owner and operator Jesse Holman said the wrecker service is not yet available, but the tire and auto-repair sales have been good.
“It’s picking up,” he said.
Holman’s business is at 830 W. Choctaw and is open 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Another national phone service business that opened its doors in February is PayGo Depot, at 1765 S. Muskogee Ave. The business is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Store Manager Amanda Dudley said they had approximately 1,200 customers lined up when the business opened its doors and have welcomed several since.
“We’ve probably doubled that at least,” she said. “We’ve been pretty busy. We started the automated bill pay and now we’re selling accessories for the phones, car chargers, earphones and bluetooth. We’re working on getting the unlimited voice-only plan.”
The PayGo Depot phone service is made available through Assist Wireless and comes with free nationwide calling, voicemail, longdistance calling, 411 and 911 calls. Low-income families and retired senior citizens may be eligible for an Assist Wireless Lifeline cell phone, especially if they’re already participating in an approved government assistance program like food stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Social Security Income, Federal Housing Assistance Program, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, National School Lunch’s Free Lunch Program or Temporary-Assistance for Needy Families.
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