Even with three daughters, a full-time job, and a pageant title, Kristy Eubanks finds time and creative ways to give back to the community.
Raised in Briggs, Eubanks, 36, graduated from Coweta High School in 2002. She attended Northeastern State University, graduating in 2006 with a business marketing degree.
In 2007, she began working in the industrial and construction supply industry through Hilti Tool Co. She is starting her eighth year as general manager of Fastenal in Tahlequah, which has a mission of “growth through customer service.”
“Fastenal is the largest fastener distributor in North America and a leader in inventory management and supply chain solutions,” said Eubanks. “Fastenal is known worldwide for being the ‘nuts and bolts’ of our industry, but also supplies safety supplies, janitorial supplies and many other product lines. Ultimately, we sell what our customers need.”
As a management member of the team and customer base, Eubanks’s duties include recruiting, training, mentoring and promoting employees; prospecting new businesses; building community relationships and partnerships; understanding each customer's unique needs; and providing cost saving solutions.
“While I am traditionally on the road ‘selling’ and growing my business, since March, I have been challenged to find the impossible to find: face masks, sanitizer, gloves, disinfectants, thermometers, etc. Fastenal's massive footprint has allowed me to provide the much-needed PPE [personal protection equipment] to our key customers and help keep our community safe and prepared,” said Eubanks.
Even at a time when people are working more from home, businesses still need materials – especially in areas like Cherokee County that are growing.
“So long as my customers have work to do, it is essential that I provide them the supplies to keep them moving. We are responsible for keeping our economy alive,” said Eubanks. “Personally and professionally, I support our working community.”
While Fastenal Tahlequah is open to the public, as a wholesale distribution company, it is primarily a business-to-business entity.
“We locked our doors for a short time due to the pandemic and only served our business partners, but have since opened up with extra precautions,” said Eubanks. “Our customer-facing employees are wearing masks in the store. We are cleaning and disinfecting common areas. We are asking customers to allow us to pull parts and avoid the ‘shopping’ experience.”
Eubanks and her husband, Lance, have continued working through the shutdown, and while it has been challenging, they are thankful for those in the community who have helped parents like them.
“My local heros are the day care providers that have stayed open to ensure the front-line workers and all the people they need to get their jobs done can go to work. Without them, I would have had to quit my job,” said Eubanks. “Our whole community has had to sacrifice, but there are many who have accepted the challenge to be servant leaders.”
The Eubanks girls – Charlotte, 3; Ellie, 7; and Adilynn, 9 – started getting prepared for school this summer.
“We purchased many masks from some of our favorite downtown Tahlequah merchants and started a ‘masket’ – a basket full of masks – at the garage door entrance. The kids have been trained to wear their masks, wash their hands, maintain social distance, and show respect for the current situation,” said Eubanks. “We have had to cancel or reschedule multiple vacations and functions this year, but are remaining optimistic that if we all do our part, we will be back to the ‘new normal.’”
The girls also stay busy helping with community service projects and having fun while working in the wood shop with their dad.
“They create Wonder Woods. These are wood slices that have been sanded and stained to be used for centerpieces,” said Eubanks.
Eubanks gives back to the community as a board member of the Tahlequah Main Street Association and a volunteer for the Tahlequah Area Coalition for the Homeless. She takes her commitment to service and change further, as well.
“I am a pageant mamma. Through pageantry, I showcase my passion for community service and advocate HOPE – Healthy Outcomes through Positive Experiences – to balance adverse childhood experiences,” said Eubanks. “I serve as Mrs. Northeastern Oklahoma and am excited to see where 2021 takes me.”
The family also raises Australian shepherd dogs, and is proud to be planting seeds and growing roots in Tahlequah, Eubanks said.