Out of necessity came the dream of the Cherokee Trading Post.
James and Ruth Wilson opened their first retail gift shop in their garage in Cleveland, Ohio during World War II to meet their family's needs. At that point the main inventory was handmade hooked rugs that came from their family in the Mars Hill area of North Carolina.
From this humble beginning they launched several other gift shops and helped Ruth's brothers and sisters open their own places from New York to Florida. Today there are seven family owned businesses being run by children or grandchildren of the original owners.
James and Ruth Wilson devoted their life's savings to establish their three children in business: Their oldest son in 1958 near El Reno, Oklahoma; their younger daughter in 1948 in Tridelphia, West Virginia; and their middle daughter, Barbara Wilson-Clark, in Clinton, Oklahoma on July 10, 1967. Along with the help of her mother, husband, brother and sister-in -law, Barbara established this Cherokee, which is the western most location in the family.
Jeanie Brinkley is the present owner of the Cherokee. Her first memories are of her grandmother's shop in Chelsea, OK in the front living room of her house on Route 66. One of the main items sold at that time was chenille bedspreads and rugs. Jeanie's early school memories revolve around the Trading Post in Hillard, Florida, where her mother and grandmother began selling alligator purses and shoes.
Jeanie's roots run deep in Clinton. She vividly recalls her fourteenth birthday, celebrated in the Cherokee restaurant just a few days before its opening. From the ripe old age of fourteen, Jeanie has held every possible position within the business. From waiting tables to buying inventory, and from keeping the books to managing the business, Jeanie has seen it all from the ground up; and her Cherokee pride is evident in her desire to see satisfied customers. In the last 12 years she and her husband Charles have managed the restaurant; and, working right beside them have been their five daughters. Together they have built the business from selling a few chenille rugs to offering over 100,000 items, providing selections for every taste and preference. In Jeanie's words, "We've come a long way, baby!".
Jeanie currently oversees the management of the Trading Post and Restaurant and has plans to re-establish a new fuel complex. Many years of long hours and hard work have gone into building a great reputation, both locally and with tourists and travelers. We are thankful and proud to be the fourth generation of our family to have the privilege of serving you. It is our goal that, in spending time with us your experience will be a truly rewarding one.