PRYOR, OK —
For those wanting an old-fashioned Christmas, Sandusky's in Pryor is the place to shop.
“A lot of people still want a simple, traditional family Christmas,” said owner Les Sandusky. “Don't get me wrong, those high-tech gifts are great, but nothing beats something unique from the heart.”
Sandusky owns the general store and his daughter Melissa helps keep the place running. The store stocks old-fashioned and new favorite candy, jam, jelly and local honey. The shelves are stocked with canned goods from pickles to pickled okra to salsa. The store has an assortment of guitars as well.
“Dad went into business in Pryor in '42,” said Sandusky. “In '42 when the tornado hit, he was doing three-minute photos and some guitar lessons.”
Sandusky said his dad also sold records, meaning the family has been buying from St. Louis Music for 71 years.
“My dad was raised up in produce in the '20s and '30s and they had a trading post. When the depression hit they went to California, then returned to Pryor,” said Sandusky, who took over the family business in the ‘80s. “My grandpa had a grocery store here in Pryor for a while.”
The store is reminiscent of a time gone by, exactly the way the family likes it.
“I keep it like this because it's what I was raised up in. I've seen generations come and go. Kids that used to come in now bring their kids in. I keep it the way they remember it, that's what they want their kids to see,” said Sandusky.
He said Christmas and garden seasons are the store’s two busiest times of the year, but Christmas is their favorite.
“During Christmas we have locals that bring their out-of-town relatives in just to show them the place. They even take pictures while they're here,” Sandusky said.
Melissa, a 2010 Pryor High School graduate, does all the Christmas decorating and says she loves the holiday season.
Melissa said when Christmas shoppers come in, the most popular items are the peanut clusters and orange slices.
“Why should people shop here instead of taking their business out of town? Well, I figure you’re asking the wrong person. Ask the customers who come in generation after generation. They seem to have found what they like here,” said Sandusky.
Customers strolling in and out say the place is “one-of-a-kind” and that “other stores like it have faded away and been replaced by the Walmarts of the world.”
“The store is a little unusual, sure,” said Sandusky looking around at his family's legacy. “But I like it. I'm a little unusual too. I'm not the slickest one.”
For a shopping list that includes cherry mash, peanut brittle, gum drops, fresh fruit or molasses, Les and Melissa have got it all.
Sandusky's doesn't take credit cards, so be sure to have cash or a checkbook on hand when you visit 29 South Adair St. in Pryor.
“We're not fancy,” said Sandusky. “But I figure people have enough of that. They like us the way we are, a simple family store.”