Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 7, 2013

50 years of Reasor’s

Key players in the life of this venerable Tahlequah institution talk about its early days, and what it’s become today.

TAHLEQUAH — In 1963, Larry Reasor had just arrived in Tahlequah with his family, and he opened a small grocery store at 200 W. Choctaw St.

Fifty years later, his son, Jeff, now chairs a still-growing chain of 17 supermarkets and two convenience stores.

“I wanted to be an accountant for a while,” Jeff Reasor said. “I thought about the law, but I was just too much of an entrepreneur. I can do the type of job where you sit and work through issue after issue, because I’ve worked on acquiring stores. But I don’t like being tied to it.”

So he now carries on the legacy of his father, who passed away in 2004.

Reasor’s has locations in Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Bixby, Catoosa, Claremore, Jenks, Owasso, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Langley, and its hometown of Tahlequah. The company observed its 50th anniversary from May through July.

Glenn Stafford, manager of the Tahlequah store at 2001 S. Muskogee Ave., said customers and employees took part in the celebration.

“It was company-wide,” Stafford said. “We had some really good deals and giveaway drawings for our customers. Coke gave our employees some 50th anniversary gear, and we had an employee celebration day at all our stores. We cooked burgers and chicken and showed some of our old TV commercials.”

Stafford is one of Reasor’s many long-term employees. He started as a “sacker” in 1977.

“It’s just a very good organization,” he said. “Employees are treated well, and we adhere to good ethics. When your employees are happy, they will take care of your business.”

Reasor’s first responsibility in his father’s store was sanitizing soda bottles – back when they could be returned for small refunds.

“I was in junior high,” he recalled. “Since then, I’ve realized that what I love about this is just being in the action. It’s much the same reason I still love to go to football and basketball games and concerts. It’s being in the bustle of people. Everybody likes being around the action or commotion, even if they aren’t in the middle of it. You feed off it.”

Much has changed in 50 years. Reasor said the first store, corner of Choctaw and College, probably didn’t stock 5,000 items. In fact, it was run by two people. Today, the company, employee-owned since 2007, has a workforce of 3,000.

“Customers’ wants and desires have changed over the years,” Reasor said. “We had a roll-top ice cream freezer in the first store. Now we have 55 feet of ice cream. The town grows, the highways become four-lane, people don’t walk around as much, and it becomes hard to make a neighborhood store work. We had to grow.”

Reasor said the secret to the company’s success isn’t different than that of any other successful business plan.

“We’ve long said that we want to sell the customers what they want, not what we want to sell them,” he said. “We also want to treat our employees well. It takes everybody to make a business work, from the high school kids who sack groceries to those who perhaps have been here a while and are in management positions.”

When dealing with employees, Reasor said, his father passed on a valuable lesson.

“In the early days, my father would hire people and try to train them to be store manager or run the whole operation,” Reasor said. “It took him a little while to realize some people just want to be market manager or assistant manager. It is what they need at the time. He learned to understand the employees’ needs. We try to put everyone in the right places so that everyone benefits, and the company benefits as well.”

Born in Tahlequah, the chain will always call this city home, Reasor said.

“We are attached to Tahlequah,” he said.

“The corporate office won’t move anywhere while I’m here. Some were afraid we were moving when we opened a support center in Tulsa. We do use it for some of our supplies, produce and for office space. We moved some of our offices there to help with coordination. We had about 40 people scattered over five stores who were driving back and forth to work part of the day. But we’re still headquartered in Tahlequah.”

Reasor would like to acquire or build more stores and continue expanding the chain.

“I’m 58, and I feel 58 in some ways – especially when I play golf,” he said. “But I’m really looking forward to the next 50 years.”

Online exclusive

In November 1992, the Daily Press published a supplement called “Tahlequah’s Most Intriguing People,” which featured an interview with Larry Reasor. Long-time staff writer Bob Gibbins wrote the story. Few copies of that edition remain, and we offer this feature to our readers, in memory of this trail-blazing businessman. See www.tahlequahdaily press.com/onlineexclu sives.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ts-Tax-free-main.jpg Shopper's delight

    Tax-free weekend coming up Aug. 1-3, just in time for back-to-school savings

    Attention, shoppers: Oklahoma’s Tax-Free Weekend is coming up, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Aug. 1.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • ballard-amanda.jpg Woman pleads no contest to molestation

    A Tahlequah woman accused of having more than 20 sexual encounters with a 13-year-old boy has pleaded no contest in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence, though 10 years have been suspended.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-arch-society.jpg Archaeologist: Spiro Mounds may have been ancient music haven

    People gathered from across the country at the “center of the universe,” bringing with them different styles of music and instruments, each thought to have its own power and importance.
    This could be the description of a modern music festival, but to Jim Rees, it is a picture of the Spiro Mounds 1,000 years before Columbus came to the Americas.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two headed for trial for conspiracy to kill judge and others

    Two of the four people accused of conspiring to kill a Cherokee County judge and several other targets were bound over for trial Friday following a preliminary hearing in Tahlequah.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman accused in embezzlement sought for arrest

    Court officials have issued a bench warrant for a woman who previously pleaded to embezzling more than $40,000 while she worked for Tahlequah attorney Park Medearis.

    July 28, 2014

  • CN, UKB battle over trust land application

    Two Tahlequah-based tribes presented oral arguments Friday in a protracted fight over a land-in-trust application.

    Over the course of five hours, attorneys for the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation Entertainment and the Department of the Interior made their cases before Northern District Judge Gregory Frizzell in a hearing that was originally scheduled for February.

     

    July 25, 2014

  • ts-NSU-Main-1-a.jpg No NSU pool, for now

    NSU experiencing delays in fitness center construction

    Earlier this month, Northeastern State University announced it is experiencing delays in the renovation of its fitness center and pool.
    The facility was officially shuttered Sept. 17, 2012, and at the time, the projected completion date for renovation was this fall.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • jn-Suspect-1.jpg Officials: Images of suspects may help nab church burglars

    Cherokee County investigators hope surveillance footage captured around the Crescent Valley Baptist Church in Woodall helps lead to the suspects accused of breaking into the complex and setting fire to one building this week.
    According to Undersheriff Jason Chennault, cameras captured footage of two suspects on bicycles early Tuesday morning, July 22.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw-movie-night.jpg Local library hosts family movie night

    Nova Foreman and her two daughters were about to leave the Tahlequah Public Library Thursday, when they saw the Family Movie Night flyer.
    The three decided to stay and enjoy a movie they had not yet seen at the free, theater-like event.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-Keys.jpg Grant to fund stepped-up Keys PE program

    Kair Ridenhour’s new office is filled with pedometers.
    Ridenhour officially started his new position as assistant elementary principal at Keys Public Schools on July 1.
    But his other role at the school – that of physical education project coordinator – prompted the influx of pedometers.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Stocks