A passion to promote
A Broken Arrow woman has created an outlet for small businesses.
Debra Wimpee opened On the Corner as a venue to sell her friends’ merchandise.
Most people who know Debra Wimpee would probably say her relentless dedication, sociable personality and kindhearted character have made her one of Broken Arrow’s most influential people — and a creative one at that.
Between serving on the city chamber and Salvation Army boards of directors, promoting a fitness and weight loss company, acting as chapter executive for a commercial real estate forum and creating the cancer charity Turn BA Pink, the 41-year-old Broken Arrow native still finds time to manage a successful gift shop in the heart of the city’s downtown.
Wimpee owns On the Corner, a quaint boutique featuring a large assortment of one-of-a-kind novelties from a variety of talented local vendors. Located in the historic downtown Rose District on Main Street, the store carries everything from chic, custom-made clothing and jewelry to creative home décor and collectibles for women of all ages.
“On the Corner is a unique treasure where you can find all the must-haves of the seasons,” Wimpee says. “We pride ourselves on staying up to date with what’s hot, and there’s always something for everyone on your list for any occasion, which makes it a one-stop shopping experience.”
A regional manager for nearly nine years at Piggies & Paws — a children’s handprint and footprint art business, as well as a current vendor — Wimpee has always been an avid connoisseur of homemade accessories and fashions. She opened On the Corner in October 2009 to create a sales outlet for her close friends and other small businesses.
“On the Corner has always allowed me to live my passion to serve others,” Wimpee says. “I started the store specifically to help a friend of mine and other stay-at-home moms who were looking for an opportunity … to sell their items at all times.”
This past August the store moved from its original site in the historic Smitty’s Western Store to its current location a few blocks away at 106 S. Main St. It has continued to help drive business to the area amid recent high turnover of retailers and heavy construction.
More than 30 vendors market their items in at least 50 booths across the shop. Wimpee has discovered most of them by attending craft trade shows and browsing local stores for ideas.
“I’m constantly searching for new vendors that make the cutest items no one else has,” she says. “I want to give a new entrepreneurial mom (for instance) the opportunity to expand her business beyond just a few bazaars throughout the year.”
Going forward, Wimpee plans to feature a variety of weekly do-it-yourself and chalk paint classes. She also plans to host outdoor vendor markets and offer a place where patrons can pick up and drop off items of interest.
“What I enjoy the most is being a part of people’s lives,” she says, ”… and providing whatever they need and being accessible for them.”