By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Business owners are gearing up for an annual tradition that brings familiar and new faces into their stores.
Krazy Daze kicks off Thursday with merchants giving patrons big discounts and deals that aren’t normally available.
Downtown Stillwater business Leonard Jewelry has been taking part for more than three decades. Owner Kent Kinzie said it’s something to which Stillwater residents have become accustomed.
“We have our loyal customers who always come to us to see what we have every year,” he said.
Times have changed since the early years of the event when streets would be blocked off entirely, he said. But the changes have their positives, too. For instance, people can now park and get closer to the businesses to do some sidewalk shopping. The rise of big box stores such as Walmart have caused a sale to not mean much anymore, Kinzie said.
“It’s got to be unique products,” he said. “You have to differentiate yourself more than ever before.”
He said loyalty pays off and sales tax spent here comes back to help the community. As for the unique products, Kinzie said they have begun selling Oklahoma State University licensed products over the years. For the first time, they will be able to sell older merchandise no longer being made that is being replaced with newer models.
The event brings new opportunities.
“It’s always good to get new people in your store, get new people to come around and see you,” Kinzie said. “For us, it’s obviously a time to cleanse our lines and it’s just a time where everybody expects for it to be going on in multiple stores.”
That’s certainly the case with another downtown merchant, Stillwater Summit Co., which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
“We are starting to transition to fall,” said owner Brady Moore. “We’re starting to get our fleece jackets in, so it’s our chance to get rid of some of the spring and summer stock and move into a new season.”
But the business also has its own tradition for the event.
“One of the main things we’ve done since the beginning are these $6 Summit T-shirts,” Moore said.
The specially designed shirts are available in multiple colors and usually sell fast, he said.
“It’s always grown every year and this year we’re doing more than 1,300 shirts,” he said.
Preparing for Krazy Daze is difficult, he said. The store is closed Wednesday, but opens at 7 a.m. Thursday.
“The first few hours there is a line out the doors,” he said. “This year, we have multiple registers and people to check them out so we can get them out the door.”
He said hundreds stop by to see what is offered.
“I think for some people it’s just a good way to have a sale and for others it’s a way to unload some inventory,” Moore said. “For us, we’re more in the middle. We make it a fun event.”
In that same vein, the City of Stillwater Parks and Recreation will hold a picnic Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will serve hot dogs, water and popsicles for 50 cents each.
Inflatable attractions will be available free along with live music at Chris Salmon Plaza.
But downtown is not the only area where Krazy Daze is being celebrated. Merchants at the Lakeview Pointe Shopping Center are also looking forward to Thursday.
At Rue 21, First Assistant Manager Zac Klaser has been traveling from Shawnee every day since Sunday to assist in preparing.
“We did several mark downs this week, that way our clearance could be fully stocked because for Krazy Daze we usually take our clearance out,” he said.
Discounted clothes and 50 percent off items will be ready for customers. A local employee told Klaser to prepare for what can become a crazy event.
“She said that we usually get a really, really good turnout,” Klaser said.
He said the event serves to get people in the stores and encourage them to return. The staff was prepared as of Monday.
“It’s hard work,” he said. “We have so much product, to mark down everything in a week and get it outside and ready to go takes a lot of preparation.”
Now, merchants take a deep breath and wait out the final hours until they open their doors again for the annual tradition.