OKCityCard Featured Partner: Strebel Creek Winery & Gift Shop

Our featured partner this week is Strebel Creek Winery & Gift Shop, a vineyard and shop located on North MacArthur in Oklahoma City. Starting out as hobby winemakers, Gary and Sherry Strebel have nurtured their business for more than 10 years. Sherry gave us some insight into the formation of their establishment, their experiences creating wine, and the ways that they enjoy connecting with their customers:

How did you become inspired to open a winery and gift shop?

Dr. Strebel (Gary, a practicing OB/Gyn physician) made wine as a hobby beginning in 1996.  After making wine for several years and making more wine than we could possibly use or giveaway, we decided to apply for the licenses to sell commercially.  Our Grand Opening of the winery and gift shop was in July 2007…we celebrated our 10th year this past summer.

As for the gift shop, I grew up in Antlers in southeastern Oklahoma where my father owned and operated a General Merchandise Store.  Having grown up in that venue, it only seemed natural to open a gift shop to compliment the winery.  In the beginning, I only carried wine accessories, (glasses, wine openers, etc.) but after learning a little about our clientele, I decided to expand to carrying limited clothing, purses, jewelry, gift items, etc.  So people who don’t know about the shop are pleasantly surprised when they walk in the door.

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Gary Strebel hosts a wine tasting

 

How do you know when you have a particularly good vintage? Do you have a favorite varietal to work with? 

You know by the quality of the grapes and the way the wine tastes…such as my 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, my white merlot and my Chardonnay (even though I don’t like growing chardonnay grapes because they are particularly difficult to grow in the Oklahoma weather, since they bud out too early in our sometimes premature spring and then with that traditional Easter cold snap, they get bitten back.)  I use all the grapes in my small vineyard but I also buy many of the grapes from a vineyard in Edmond which grows grapes but doesn’t make wine.

What is one of the most rewarding aspects of what you do? 

Besides making good wine for peoples’ enjoyment, it is the mingling with and getting to know our customers and watching the surprise on their faces when they discover my wine is better than they were expecting.  We get people from all over the country who come to visit our winery and gift shop, many of whom make an effort to return when they are back in the area.  And we’ve had many out-of-state customers who tell us they’ve been told they “have to visit the winery and gift shop” when they come by or through Oklahoma City.  We are so appreciative of that.

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A view of the gift shop

Why do you support Allied Arts through participation in the OKCityCard? 

We’ve always supported Allied Arts in Oklahoma because we believe a city who has a strong participation in all of the arts makes for a much more diverse and interesting community.  We are grateful that we have that in Oklahoma City.  We look forward to welcoming those holders of the OKCityCard into our winery and gift shop.

What does the art of winemaking mean to you?

It’s the ability to experiment with a product and a common recipe and turn it into something special to be enjoyed by others.  Each vintage made basically the same way turns into a slightly different taste because of the different chemistry in the grapes caused by their environment (weather, rain, soil,  temperature).  I love sitting around the bar during a wine tasting and attempting to educate my guests on how the wine is made, the different tastes they may be discovering and the best ways to taste and enjoy the wine.

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Customers enjoying the latest vintage on the back patio

Strebel Creek Winery & Gift Shop is located at 11521 N MacArthur Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73162. You can reach them at 405.720.7779 and on their website at www.strebelcreek.com.

The shop offers 10% off with your OKCityCard at the winery and gift shop.

OKCityCard Featured Partner: Painted Door

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Entrance of Painted Door on Sheridan Avenue

Our featured partner this week is Painted Door, Oklahoma City’s premiere boutique in Bricktown. Our OKCityCard Coordinator visited the shop to learn more about its pioneering owner and long-time appeal. 

Owner and visionary Avis Scaramucci entered her boutique to greet Allied Arts staff with a crisp white shirt and black puffer vest, hounds tooth slacks, and an enthusiasm for her shop that was contagious. Her right-hand gals, long-time shop creatives Tonia Cook and June Martinez, were organizing new items from market at the front desk and helping customers celebrate “Gal-entine’s Day,” a pre-Valentine’s Day ritual where women can come in and shop for their friends. Painted Door, a boutique at the corner of Sheridan Avenue and Mickey Mantle Drive in Bricktown that specializes in fashion, gifts, and accessories, is a 27-year staple of the Oklahoma City community.

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The Sorrelli Jewelry Case

While her shop finds its roots at the heart of Oklahoma City and its blossoming community, Ms. Scaramucci and her team thrive on bringing fresh variety to Painted Door, always with the tastes and desires of visitors in mind. More than 250 vendors are represented by the store’s offerings. It’s currently market season, and staff enjoys browsing merchant wares in Dallas, Atlanta, and New York to find beautiful, innovative items. During a shop tour, Avis shared her memory of one visit to Atlanta when she first discovered the handcrafted Sorrelli jewelry line. While browsing at market, she encountered a woman dressed in “a simple collared shirt and slacks with a large statement Sorrelli necklace.” The juxtaposition of simple and extravagant immediately attracted her to the line. 

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The Newly-Remodeled Kitchen

In 2016, Ms. Scaramucci remodeled the front of her shop, adding showroom windows to display brand-new and seasonal fashion and gifts, as well as a full kitchen, complete with a refrigerator, stove, and oven to allow customers to sample the many foods and party mixes sold by the store. Items include taste sensations such as maple bacon onion jam, dill ranch crackers, and premium party dips. “Sometimes I like to change up the recipes from the way they are listed for tastings. The kitchen allows customers to taste items before they purchase them, and perhaps learn a different way to make them.”

 

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A Valentine’s Day Display

This desire to spark artful creativity in her patrons extends to all of her products. “We like to form an experience for our customers. We try to put unexpected items together in the store to help inspire their own creative styles and ideas.”

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Toothfairy Mouse Toys by Maileg

One of the most endearing elements of the shop tour was her presentation of the many unique gifts for babies, children, and the young at heart. With the excitement of a kid in a candy store, Ms. Scaramucci displayed items such as charming stuffed animals created by the London-based toy maker, Jellycat, delicate handmade fairy tale characters created by the Swedish company, Maileg, and a new book arrival, Night-Night Oklahoma by English author Katherine Sully.

As an Oklahoma City entrepreneur since 1991, Ms. Scaramucci has seen the community undergo numerous changes, enhanced by strong city leadership, the MAPS initiatives, and the revitalization of Bricktown’s hotel, restaurant and entertainment district. “In 1991, this was a city without a heart. It grew and we have a true community that I love to be a part of.” An avid volunteer and community supporter, she finds the arts to be a vital outlet for expression, and Allied Arts as critical in providing a central point for facilitating support. Painted Door helps to fulfill the needs of her patrons and her city by creating an eclectic and comforting environment for expression.

 

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Owner Avis Scaramucci and OKCityCard Coordinator Laura Cunningham

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Painted Door is located in Bricktown at 124 E Sheridan Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73104. You can reach them at 405.235.4410 and on their website at www.painteddoor.com. The shop offers 15% off purchase price with your OKCityCard.

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An Assortment of Local Gifts
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Old World Christmas Ornaments
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A View of the Shop
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OKCityCard Featured Partner: Urbane Home & Lifestyle

Our featured partner this week is Urbane Home & Lifestyle, a sophisticated shop of home furnishings, decor, and more located in the historic Automobile Alley district in downtown OKC. Co-owners Ben Davis and Scott Wagoner work to refine their store offerings with consideration toward metropolitan patrons. 

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Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in owning a home furnishings and décor shop?

Before starting Urbane, Scott worked in residential remodeling and spent 15 years in wholesale sales. Ben was, and still is, an urban planner. We both were interested in aspects of design and wanted to open a shop that provided a mix of curated gifts and sophisticated home furnishings geared toward urban dwellers.

How did you come to create your shop’s tagline, “Considered items for a considered lifestyle?”

“Urbane” means sophisticated or refined, and we try to keep those concepts top-of-mind when choosing our product mix. A friend of ours came up with the idea of “considered items” and we thought it captured the essence of what we strive to offer at the shop.

What are some of your favorite pieces currently available at Urbane?

We are told we have a great lighting selection and have thousands more items to offer than we can stock. We just received a new line of lighting last week that I’m really excited about. One in particular is a brass and walnut honeycomb shaped wall sconce. It is so on trend, but is timeless at the same time.

Another line I love is Blenko Glass.  I sold this product when I was a sales representative a while back. I’m happy to see a new design team come in and freshen up this American made art glass line. Blenko Glass specializes in mid century modern design vibe. Each piece is hand made, mouth blown art glass. We have the iconic water bottles and the new designs will be arriving soon. Anyone that likes vibrant colors will be taken by this product. 

Urbane 3.JPGWhy do you support Allied Arts through participation in the OKCityCard Partnership?

We really appreciate the arts in Oklahoma City and feel that the OKCityCard is a great opportunity to support culture and creativity in a way that raises awareness of the arts and also provides a great package of discounts for our clients.

What does interior decoration mean to you? Why are the arts important for our community?

One’s home is the primary setting where life happens, and the home’s decor is an outward expression of the personalities and souls of everyone in the home. When we help clients choose home furnishings, we are helping them express themselves.

In the same way, the arts are the outward expression of a community’s soul. The arts provide important opportunities for people to share emotion, communicate and build connections between people. Nobody wants to live in a soulless house or community. 

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Urbane Home & Lifestyle is located in Automobile Alley at 1015 N Broadway, Ste 100, Oklahoma City, OK 73102. You can reach them at 405.602.2555 and on their website at www. UrbaneOKC.com. Allied Arts is proud to operate in the same building! The shop offers 10% off retail purchase price with your OKCityCard.

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OKCityCard Featured Partner – The Makeup Bar

Our featured partner this week is the fabulous Alex Mendez-Kelly, owner of OKC’s “intoxicating beauty experience,” The Makeup Bar. With a makeup consultant’s approach full of fun, innovation, and common sense, Mendez-Kelly also specializes in skincare, body, and fragrance products. 

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Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

She gave us fascinating insight into her philosophy and vision. Check it out:

In 10 years, The Makeup Bar has become a popular destination in Oklahoma for makeup and skincare. What inspired you to open the shop?

I have been in the beauty biz for 34 years, and The MakeUp Bar has been in Wilshire Village at Wilshire and North Western for almost 17 years.  The MakeUp Bar came about in the 1990’s actually.  I owned a salon at the time and I had a station I worked out of doing makeup with a private room in the back.  As I would head back to wax or facial, I would leave makeup goodies for clients to see and I would say, “I left you some lipstick on the makeup bar!”  It stuck and we went with it.  As a kid I always loved makeup, and when adults would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told them I wanted to own a store with lots of lipstick. It seemed really random for a seven-year-old to say, but I knew what I was talking about. 

In  the ’90’s, all the big cosmetics were NOT interested in coming to Oklahoma and certainly not to a salon. I mean, really! SO I started to scheme on how I could A) Try to convince these companies that Oklahoma was a viable market and B) Try to work around the salon establishment.  That is where the retail-only location – before other stores were here dedicated to beauty – was born.  I knew I wanted to be in a niche area, like Western Ave.  The Sameras, owners of Wilshire Village, saw our vision, and here we are 17 years later! In the second year of The MakeUp Bar, we introduced our spa element.  We have four rooms now where we perform cutting-edge facial treatments as well as spray tans, face and body waxing, makeup lessons, and makeup applications for bridal parties.  We also enjoy having after-hours events that focus on different facial treatments and makeup trends. 

How do you guide a new client that comes into your shop and seeks makeup advice?

When a new guest walks into The MakeUp Bar, we encourage them to look around a little first. It can be overwhelming! Once we figure out if they need skincare, cosmetics, body care, hair care, or perfume, we try to focus in by asking questions about how much time they like to spend on self care.  That can determine how many products, as well as their needs and budgets. We want our clients to feel relaxed and not like they are being oversold!  The beauty of coming to the MakeUP Bar, no pun, is that we don’t adhere to quotas.  We don’t have to sell you the latest colors just because its popular.  We sell you what you need from whatever company we have.  If you want everything to “match” we can certainly do that, but we don’t have to. 

Everything in the boutique has personally been tested by me.  I do loads of research, we especially like indie-owned brands, and ones with great stories behind them!  I love getting to know them, the creators, the ma and pa’s behind these brands, trying to get better products out into the market.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it fails, but man, when they make it, it is so exciting to see them grow!!  We want to champion these small brands, just the way we hope our community champions us!

Can you tell us about some of the new product lines that you have available?

We are especially proud of the last 12 brands we have brought on board.  They are all clean brands. Some are organic and some are green.  All these terms can be confusing, but the important thing to remember is that they are formulated without harmful, carcinogenic ingredients.  In 26 seconds, 67% of what we have put onto our skin is absorbed.  This is something to think about next time you put a cream on your face you bought on Amazon. Some of these new brands available are Odacite,` Mun, Rituel de Fille, Vapour, Josh Rosebrook, Lilylolo, Fitglow, Leland Francis (creator is from Oklahoma).

Why do you support Allied Arts through participation in the OKCityCard Partnership?

We love supporting Allied Arts and the OKCityCard.  It makes me feel like we are, in some small part, contributing to the awareness of the great art scene that has been growing in OKC for several years now. Allied Arts supports so many communities and such a wide range of  creative mediums through such organizations as OKCMOA, OKC Ballet, OKC Philharmonic, deadCenter Film, and so many smaller museums like the Mabee-Gerrer Museum in Shawnee and the Pollard Theater in Guthrie. It also provides opportunities to kids and other burgeoning artists that would have trouble finding the right direction, either with mentoring programs and scholarships.  We feel strongly that these programs enrich all of us and our neighborhoods.  Wow, if we can help with that, we are all about it.  We feel honored to have been asked to be a part of it.

What do the arts mean to you? Why are they important for our community?

Without art, we have no culture and without that, I don’t know who we are. Art can set the tone for the mood of a city; it’s how we express who we are. My husband, Joe and I, feel very strongly that the arts are just as important as the engineering, law, and education professions. Arts are an outlet for kids in crisis or for therapy.  Being able to find an art form that you can express yourself in is liberating. Studies show that it helps the other areas of your life as well. I think the question should be not ‘why do we support Allied Arts,’ but ‘how can we not?!’ How can’t everybody?

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The thing I love about working with Allied Arts is the fact that they take the time to reach out to local businesses. We are huge supporters of shopping, eating and doing local.  The actions can be small, but the impact it creates can be exponential!  Buy visiting and spending money at one local place a week, YOU, the individual, can make huge strides on the viability of that local business.  Not to mention that those taxes stay in our community at a rate of almost 2 and half to one. That can be the difference in helping our schools thrive. 

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Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

The MakeUp Bar has been named one of Lucky Magazines’ “best boutiques in North America” and has been profiled in Women’s Wear Daily, along with numerous regional newspapers and magazines. 

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The Makeup Bar is located in the Wilshire Village shopping center at 7632 N Western Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73116. You can reach them at 405.810.1226 and on their website at www.themakeupbar.com. The shop offers 10% off products with your OKCityCard.

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OKCityCard Featured Partner: Pie Junkie

This week, we are so excited to feature OKCityCard partner and Plaza District favorite, Pie Junkie. Pie Junkie was opened by friends Darcy Schein and Leslie Coale-Mossman in 2010. Offering a variety of both slices and whole pies, the owners run their brick and mortar with an eye toward fusing traditional and innovative recipes and creating the ultimate family-friendly dessert destination.

Pie Junkie Shop Interior

Schein took time out of her busy schedule to share her story with Allied Arts:

How did the idea to open Pie Junkie come about?

We originally started as a small catering company and rented a church kitchen. A friend was opening S&B’s Burger Joint and needed a dessert. We started with one pie and it grew from there. S&B was always kind enough to send whole pie customers our way and that grew into a small following. In 2013, we made the leap to a brick and mortar and have been baking pies from scratch in the Plaza District ever since. 

You value traditional recipes and methods but also love to “change things up.” How do you incorporate creativity in your pies?

We always try to create and serve pies that we want to eat. We learned the classics from our grandmas and they were an important foundation for us. However, we really like to have fun and love trying different flavor combinations. It’s this drive to create delicious, fun flavors that has made us successful. At the end of the day, we want our shop to be memorable. For some folks, this is a slice of traditional apple pie. For others, this might be trying our decadent Drunken Turtle. To serve all our amazing customers, we have to be creative and we love it! 

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Its sounds cliché, but we honestly love our customers. We intentionally created a space with an open kitchen so there would be no barriers between what we are making and the people we make it for. Knowing their favorite flavors, hearing their stories, being part of the celebrations in their lives… that’s the best part. 

Why do you support Allied Arts through participation in the OKCityCard Partnership?

Creativity is definitely a big part of our kitchen, so anything in our community that fosters creativity is important to us. We are surrounded by amazing artists in the Plaza District and appreciate organizations that support the creative spirit in our community.

What do the arts mean to you? Why are they important for our community?

You’ll find dancers, musicians, and artists in both of our families, so there’s a natural affinity to arts programs. We know first hand how important it is for people, especially children, to have access to a variety of ways to express their ideas.

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Pie Junkie is located at 1711 NW 16th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73106 in the Plaza District. You can reach them at 405.605.8767, and you can even order whole pies online HERE! The shop offers 10% off regular-priced slices and drinks when you show them your OKCityCard.  

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Pie Junkie’s Drunken Turtle Pie

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