Joy Osterman is a friend to many in Yukon and I’ve known her since the early 1990s when I started covering the news and her liquor store was the biggest in town. She always helped us back in the mid-‘90s when we had a Yukon Chamber of Commerce “Business After Hours” at the newspaper office.
This year, Joy’s Liquor Barrel will celebrate its 30th anniversary. The store has been located near the corner of Reno and Czech Hall Road (south of Interstate 40) that entire time.
Joy has seen that part of south Yukon grow by leaps and bounds over the past three decades. For so long, most of that land south of Reno between Highway 92 (Cemetery Road) and Morgan Road stood vacant.
Most of the development you’ve seen in the stretch between Reno and S.W. 15th has occurred in the past 20 or so years.
Just about all that was on the south side of Reno in the early 1990s was the Canadian Hills Nazarene church, a couple convenience stores and Joy’s Liquor Barrel.
I can remember when Burger King and Interurban opened near Mustang Road and Reno. Those grand openings were huge because all you could see facing south was vast, empty space.
About this time, the Mercy Health clinic came a little further south on Mustang Road. Those Sisters of Mercy knew people would be coming to live in that part of town!
Over the years, the growth of south Yukon (in Oklahoma City limits) has been immense.
There are several large retail shopping centers, self-storage businesses, more convenience stores and restaurants, a few large apartment complexes, and even a couple multi-bay car washes.
Hundreds of new rooftops have been added to this area often fondly called “Yu-tang-City.” That means, “Yukon address, Mustang schools, Oklahoma City utilities.”
I have never figured out why the city limits and school district boundaries of Yukon,
Mustang and Oklahoma City had to be so intertwined.
There are around 75,000 people who have “Yukon” addresses (73099 zip code) encompassing land that surrounds Yukon’s 26-mile corporate boundaries. At last count, Yukon’s population was less than 25,000. Many who think they live in Yukon are really Oklahoma City residents.
One business that’s been a stable occupant in “Yu-tang-City” is Joy’s Liquor Barrel. Despite the struggles of some package stores in recent months, Joy Osterman’s business continues to thrive. She has a loyal customer base and premier selection of beer, wine and spirits.
Some retail liquor stores closed when new state laws took effect on Oct. 1, 2018 that allow grocery and convenience stores to now sell high-point beer and wine. Businesses like Joy’s have succeeded because of a willingness to adapt and revise their business plans. Another key is top customer service.
I’ll always remember about 25 years ago when I got a flat tire while driving near the Reno-Czech Hall Road intersection late one Saturday morning.
Joy saw me on the side of the road and came out to lend a hand. She even offered to call Chuck Stewart and ask (well, tell) him to stay open a little after noon that Saturday so I could get a new tire.
Customer service is one of the best ways to keep your business going 30 years and counting …
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Yukon Rotary Club members Lynn Cook and Becky Dunham stopped me at last Friday’s community coffee to ask for help spreading the word about Rotary’s big pancake feast.
Local Rotarians will demonstrate their flapjack-flipping skills during a 51st annual pancake breakfast from 7-11 a.m. this Saturday at the Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore.
You can feed your face with as many pancakes as you can stuff down your throat. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for youth 3-12 years. Children under 3 are free (but try convincing their parents of that).
It’s for a great cause. Our Rotary Club uses proceeds for community service projects.
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Pete Davola, who passed away last week, was a well-liked Yukon police officer from 1997-2007. He taught drug resistance classes in the schools and headed up the senior citizens’ “Triad” program, Citizens Police Academy and Junior Police Academy.
Pete wrote a newspaper column titled “Smokey Says” to offer tips to Yukon’s young people. Officer Pete and his police K9 helped many students steer clear of dangerous behaviors.
I had a connection with Pete because he grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., not too far from where I was raised “across the river” in New Jersey.
I was at his funeral Saturday afternoon at Christ’s Church, and could see the impact “officer Pete” had on not only students, but fellow officers, his Army “buddies” and many others.
A couple former students described him as a role model and trusted father figure who helped them navigate difficult times.