Burlap Closet

Feature Friday: Family, fashion at the core of Burlap Closet

Owning her own boutique had always been a pipe dream for Katrina Pope, a preschool teacher by day.

But through encouragement from her husband, Bobby, Katrina opened The Burlap Closet at 405 W. Will Rogers Blvd. in August of 2014.

“It was one of those ‘someday, I would like to if I could.’ My husband just pushed me into it. He said, ‘this is what you were born to do,’” she laughed. “Because I love shopping; I love putting outfits together, and I love helping people put outfits together.”

“So, after a few anxiety attacks … we got this place.”


Katrina said she knew she wanted her store to be downtown. So where does a school-teacher go to get advice on how to get in downtown?
She went straight to Chelsea Mize, owner of the Cranberry Merchant and Katrina’s child’s former teacher. Chelsea gave her a heads up on that 405 W. Will Rogers was opening up, and Katrina was sealing the deal that night.

“I love what downtown is turning out to be. I can see where it’s going,” she said. “Everyone is different. No one is the same … you get to show more of your personality, and it’s like a little community.”

Katrina, a mother of three, had little experience as a store owner. She was a loan officer prior to having children, stayed home with her littles one until they went off to school and then became a preschool teacher so her hours mirrored those of her children.

“It was a huge learning curve,” she said. “But I love this. My kids can come up here to help me …

It’s something that as they get older can be a family business.”

Her two girls are already talking about follow in their mother’s footsteps – They plan to open their own boutique during college – about seven years from now.

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The Willow Tree Mall

Feature Friday: ‘We felt like we were being led’ to The Willow Tree

In the summer of 2013, Amy Cannon was looking for a change in her life.

“I had done nonprofit fundraising for a long time … and was needing something different. We just began to pray about a door opening and The Willow Tree came available,” Amy explained. “Within two weeks, I quit my job and started running a business.”

“Everything I’ve done in my life has led to this place where I am now,” she said.

A year later, Amy needed to find a business partner to help with the store, and again, fate gave her exactly what she was looking for. Elementary school teacher Rhonda Cole, who had a booth in The Willow Tree, jumped at the opportunity. Cole retired from teaching to work full time in the store in May of this year.
“That’s how we met,” Rhonda said. “We found out a lot of things about us that are similar.”

The similarities go back to their childhoods. Both women grew up in southeastern Oklahoma, less than 30 miles from each other. They knew some of the same families and share a passion for what they do.

“It’s a small world,” Amy echoed. “It’s a plus that we’ve gelled so well together. If I have a weakness, Rhonda is usually strong in that area.”

“Oh, you mean like balancing a checkbook?” Rhonda joked.

While the two were mere acquaintances prior to the business partnership, they became fast friends. Watching them together at the store, the women laugh and joke as if they’ve known each other a lifetime instead of 15 months.

Rhonda and Amy describe the store as a “family affair” because their husbands and children can often be seen behind the cash register.

The mall, which touts itself as the “mall with it all,” houses about 70 vendors, including paint, dips, holiday decorations, clothing, antiques and household décor.

“We are a praying group. We prayed about everything,” Amy said. “We were putting a lot of faith in God … we felt like we were being led to do what we’ve done.”

“It is amazing how every detail has worked out for it to be perfect,” Rhonda said.

The Willow Tree is participating in the first Highway 20 Junk & Drive, which is a 45-mile junk sale including four communities – Skiatook, Collinsville, Claremore and Pryor. It began Oct. 22 and extends through Oct. 24. Hundreds of antiquers from across the tristate area are expected to make the trek down Highway 20 this inaugural year.

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