The $1.6 million Adawe Travel Plaza will employee seven to nine workers in the new store near the Ottawa Tribe's High Winds Casino.

MIAMI – The Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma literally has the corner on the convenience store market, two in fact. With the opening of the newly constructed Adawe Travel Plaza on Wednesday at the intersection of State Highway 10 and Highway 13, and their existing store, the Otter Stop located at the intersection of Steve Owens Boulevard and Main Street in Miami, the Ottawa Tribe now has two convenience stores in operation.

No one is more excited about the Tribe's latest business venture than Ottawa Chief Ethel Cook.

“We opened up at 5:30 a.m. this morning,” Cook said. “I think this will bring a steady flow of revenues for our Tribe, because I think we have the two hottest corners in our county.”

The $1.6 million Adawe Travel Plaza will employee seven to nine workers in the new store near the Ottawa Tribe's High Winds Casino.

The business hours are currently 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

This new store offers 12 fueling pumps with all grades of fuel, 100 percent gasoline, ethanol and more including five diesel pumps and tractor trailer drive-thru duel tank fueling bays for fast service.

“Our pumps, as long as you've got a debit/credit card you can get gas out there whether we're open or not,” Cook said.

Shelves and coolers offer a full line of convenience food items at the Travel Plaza.

“We've got drinks, breakfast sandwiches, yogurt, fruit and little fruit cups, and of course a full offering of drinks and beer, energy drinks, Starbucks coffee in bottles, and a soda fountain. We have all kinds of items available on the grill, such as hot dogs, nachos...breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” Cook said. “We have milk, butter, sour cream, all those little things you forgot to get at the store, we've got those, we have bacon, lunch-meats, it's a little mini grocery store. It's great!”

The new facility has restrooms, an ATM, a seating area to have a meal or snack, and the southwest corner of the building doubles as a storm shelter.

“The bathrooms double as storm shelters for the safety of our employees as well as our customers and our neighbors if they need a place to go in case of threatening weather,” Cook said.

Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing licenses will be available as a customer convenience at the plaza store also, as well as some equipment and camping items, making the plaza a great place to stop on the way to Twin Bridges or Grand Lake or for other outdoor activities.

“We'll have live bait when the season comes open,” Cook said. “So, hopefully we'll be kind of your one-stop shop. You can come in and get stuff to take back to the camper or the cabin and get your bait and fish.”

Opening the Adawe Travel Plaza was part of the Tribe's efforts to bring in more revenue to benefit tribal members, a goal Cook has worked toward since becoming Chief of the Ottawa Tribe.

“All we had was a convenience store and the casino, and then we weren't getting anything off that casino, because we had to go through a developer's fees to pay for that. The Tribe can's get any money according to the NIGC ( National Indian Gaming Commission) laws until the loan was paid off, and we just did that in January of this year,” Cook said.

The Tribe's success with the Otter Stop and the benefits of the location of the new modern facility made for another perfect business venture opportunity, according to Cook.

“You know it's longevity for the Tribe and for our tribal members,” she said. “I know of at least two tribal members that are working at the convenience store now. It's going to be a money maker for a long time.”

Cook said diversifying the Tribe's business interests will bring a revenue source that's more stable, and steady than casino revenues to support the people of the tribe.

Delays in the project id put the opening behind schedule.

“Or project manager Don Giles had started the project, and God bless him, we lost him in the middle of the project. So once we regrouped to see where the project was at, and where we were at with finances, we were running out of funding for the project and so we had to stop, regroup again and figure out where to get some more money in to complete the project,” Cook said. “We started right back up again.”

The end product is a bright, spacious, modern, customer friendly facility. An official ribbon cutting is planned for spring to include vendors and others involved in the new plaza, such as Phillips 66, Coke, Pepsi, and local project contractors such as Neece Concrete Construction, Cole Excavating and Pruitt Brothers Construction.

“That's one thing we try to do is keep our local people employed.There's been a lot of people who worked on the project and a lot of blood, sweat and tears gone into this,” Cook said. “I think our whole Business Committee needs credit, our employees and staff here and our tribal members.”

The first day of business started strong with many coming in to see the new store.

“I think we've done a pretty fair amount of business in the first day,” Cook said. “Todd, our store manager is doing a great job.”

Todd Chambers came on board as manager of the new store bringing his many years of experience with Quick Trip and other convenience store companies.

“Come in and load up on food, drinks and gasoline,” Chambers said on the first day of business. “We have enough food offering to get you full. We invite everyone to come out and check out the new store.”