PONCA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – There aren’t very many people any more who pull up to the ‘old red barn’, as it’s known here, and expect to get any live bait.
Rikki Denton laughs when a visitor jokes that she might be able to handle that kind of request.
Actually, she does carry worms but they’re the gummy variety.
The alligator sausage and the frog legs, like everything else in this specialty grocery store, are designed for direct, human consumption.
Looking at one shelf, her visitor asks, “Explain Cobbler in a Jar to me.”
“Cobbler in a jar,” she responds, “is actually the crust in the jar.”
She owned and operated a bait shop and store in Canada for twenty years.
But Rikki wanted to branch out to other products no other store carried.
“I just went off what everyone likes,” she says, “and everything I love to do.”
She began with spices and her own spice blends.
“We have a little over 300 spices here right now,” she boasts.
If you’re a ‘foodie’ this is the spot.
At one end of the store is a table full of barrel aged vinegar.
Look in another corner and you’ll find barbecue stuff, pasta sauces, coffee, and tea.
“More than thirty varieties of coffee and 32 varieties of tea,” she points out.
This small business owner managed to make friends with lots of other small business owners.
“There are eighteen small businesses in here that we represent,” she continues.
You might not notice, but Rikki remembers all too well the obstacles she had to overcome just to get the doors open.
The first was a flood that left six feet of water standing for a week.
“We basically had to start all over from scratch,” says Denton. “That pushed us to January, the worst month to open. Then Covid hit.”
But here she is, the register ringing and the phone too.
She makes the fudge.
She brings in the candy and the baked goods fresh, and sells it.
Rikki says, “We put our faith in God and Ponca City and they supported us.”
Despite flood and plague the Dentons figure they’re still doing the right thing.
If they can survive that stuff they can survive anything.
Rikki’s Market opened January 2020.
They’re open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.