Shop Local: Pat & Kristie Gaines
Fourth in a series of stories about local Waurika businesses. Shop local and invest your tax dollars where we live, work and play.
Forty-Seven years ago this past July, Pat Gaines walked into the Huskey Hat Company in Wichita Falls and saw Kristie Crawford. He had seen her around Wichita Falls, but hadn’t met her. He asked her out. “I had plans,” Kristie said. “The first, second and third time he asked me out.” She did go out with him. In fact, they began dating in August and were engaged in October and married in January.” Forty-six years later they’ve raised three children, owned two businesses in Waurika, and live on the Gaines family ranch that has been in Pat’s family for generations.
They moved to Waurika in 1974. Pat graduated from Waurika High School and Kristie from Iowa Park High School. All three of their children graduated from WHS and they are staunch supporters of all Eagle activities as well as big fans of that University that claims to be the world’s brightest orange. They do, however, have a house divided as their daughters both chose to go to the University of Oklahoma. Their son Zac is a graduate of Oklahoma State University.
As a a young bride, Kristie worked at the Ringling State Bank and also at First Farmers National Bank in Waurika before deciding that she wanted to be her own boss. She purchased Pat’s dress shop from Margaret Bradley and Pat’s Aunt, Mary Ruth Brown, in 1981. “I wanted to start my own business. I really enjoyed the clothing business and ran the store for 15 years before I closed it in 1996. After closing the store, she continued working in the fashion industry at Dallas Trade Mart during market weekends. She did this for several years and enjoyed the people she met and staying up on fashions and clothing trends.
“I learned from running Kristie’s that owning a business is not just about buying what you like. You have to listen to your customers and buy a combination of fashions you like, fashions you don’t like and even stuff you would never wear,” Kristie continued. “It’s all about the customer and what they want.”
After closing the business, she worked at the Waurika News Democrat selling advertising for three years. She was in the QuikMart talking to the owner, Doug Schultz one afternoon and he seemed to be a little grumpy. Kristie asked, “Aren’t you about ready to sell this place?” They both laughed and he asked if she wanted to buy it and she said she didn’t think so. “The very next day, Doug tracked me down at the News Democrat and asked if I might really want to buy the QuikMart. Pat and I thought about it and we decided to buy it.” They took ownership in 1999 and celebrated 20 years this month.
Through the years, they’ve expanded the deli and offer pizza, subs sandwiches, chicken strips and cheese and many other items. They offer Simple Simon’s Pizza. “We buy 300 pounds of chicken strips a week,” Kristie said. “We tried offering the chicken strips that were not flat, but our customers wanted us to go back to the flat ones. So, we did. We didn’t want to have Taco Tuesday like everyone else. We have Tacos on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and steak fingers (that have never been frozen) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When WHS graduates come back to visit they always want Chicken and Cheese.”
The QuikMart has a little bit of everything from gift items like candles and tea towels, shirts, Aromies air freshener for the car and even sell Disc Golf discs. When the Oklahoma alcohol laws changed last October, they added wine to their mix of products. Their daughter, Stevi, is their advisor in that area and they continue to add new wines as they become popular. “Wine has been a learning experience for us,” Kristie commented. “We are glad to be able to offer it.”
They branched out three years ago and put their business acumen to work in the lodging business and bought four cabins and a house on the square in Wimberley Texas where their daughter, Shelli, lives and is a Realtor®. Cabins on the Square provides a great get-away in a quaint and charming Texas city located 28 miles southwest of Austin. Wimberley has lots of little shops and wineries and many of them are just steps away from the front door of the cabins.
When asked about advice Kristie would give to someone who wanted to open a business like theirs, she replied, “It’s a lot of work. There is always something to do from re-arranging stock to cleaning everything from tea containers to ketchup bottles. People notice if a store is clean and they appreciate it. We have people from all over stop in and comment on our clean restrooms and clean store in general. That’s important to me, because it so important to our customers.”
Kristie continued, “We really enjoy our customers and are thankful for them each and every time they come into our store. When they shop with us, it allows us to give back to the community and we do that through various programs like little league shirts, football programs, supporting WHS through car washes and gas pumping programs. We also like supporting the Chamber of Commerce and all the downtown improvements.” Pat and Kristie have been involved in many organizations and have both served on the Waurika School Board. Kristie serves on the Red River Vo-Tech Board of Directors.
Pat commented that he had lived in Waurika his entire life and felt like for several years the downtown area was kind of going downhill with people moving out and businesses closing. “Our town now looks better than it has in years. I’d like to challenge everyone to volunteer more and to continue to take pride in our community by keeping our lawns mowed and by shopping at local shops. It’s the local shops that give back to the community and that have a vested interest in our community growing and thriving.” You will often see Pat mowing the park area next to the Veterans Park. He and Kristie provided the land where the Veterans Park is today. You will also see both of them at just about every work day, school event, football or basketball game, Chamber banquet or anything that’s going on in Waurika.
Pat and Kristie have three children Stevi Gaines Venable, Shelli Gaines Beck and Zac Gaines. Stevi is married to John Venable. They have two children, Jack, 14 and Mali 11; Shelli is married to Booner Beck. They have three children, Brax, 15; Ivy Jane, 12 and Saylor 1. Zac is married to Megan (Hines). They have 8-year-old twins, Harper and Tatum and Annie, 4. Pat and Kristie are Mimi and Pots to their 8 grandchildren.
Waurika is very glad that Doug Schultz was a little grumpy back in 1999 and Kristie asked him, “Aren’t you ready to sell this place?” I’m not sure Waurika would be the same without the QuikMart. It’s become a part of Waurika’s legacy. “We are grateful to Ted and Arzan Roe for starting the QuikMart and to Doug Schultz and his business partner, Jim Daves, for believing that Pat and I would be good stewards to grow the business to where it is today,” Kristie concluded.
Notes: This story is part of series on Waurika businesses sponsored by the Waurika Chamber of Commerce and its Shop Local Waurika Program. We will add stories periodically and we hope you enjoy them. To read more stories like it go to www.waurikachamber.com/shop-local-stories and find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WaurikaChamber/.