Check out one of PLENTY Mercantile’s videos on their website, and you will hear Brittney Matlock open with “We show up every morning to open these big yellow doors because we believe commerce has the power to change the world.” For 7 ½ years, co-founders Traci Walton and her daughter, Brittney Matlock, have been welcoming shoppers to their stores throughout the Oklahoma City metro. With locations in Automobile Alley, Edmond’s Spring Creek Plaza and, recently Chisholm Creek, PLENTY is not just another lifestyle retail store. Dig a little deeper, and you will see that there is “plenty” more than meets the eye. In fact, Brittney describes the founding of PLENTY Mercantile as the “perfect storm.”
Back in 2012, Traci and her business partner, Chris England, discussed the concept of a business that offered retail space, event space, and a green space where they could grow items to sell.
2012 was also the time that Brittney graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in entrepreneurship focusing on Emerging Enterprises, Sustainable Enterprises and Radical Marketing. Prior to her last semester at OSU, Brittney spent the summer in Boston interning for Sustainalytics, an Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) research and ratings firm. Brittney returned to Oklahoma armed with ESG knowledge that would help define the mission for PLENTY Mercantile.
Through her degree and Sustainalytics internship, Brittney noticed a “gap in the OKC marketplace for thoughtfully made, cost-effective lifestyle goods and gifts in one place.” In fact, Brittney wrote PLENTY’s business plan during her last semester at OSU. PLENTY would be that place to bring sustainable-minded suppliers and consumers together.
Unless you visit their website, you may not know that everything PLENTY offers in their retail space must meet at least one or more of their Purchasing Principles that support sustainability. Those principles are:
PRODUCTION – handcraft. lean manufacture. USA. renewable energy.
RESOURCE – rescued. recycled. remnant. locally grown. organic. non-toxic.
SUPPORT – buy 1 give 1. philanthropic. marginalized groups. foster culture.
PACKAGING – recycled. reusable. biodegradable. compostable. minimal.
DISPOSAL – biodegradable. trade-in. compostable. refillable. turn-over.
The driving force behind those principles are PLENTY’s “Triple Bottom Line” philosophy of People, Profit and Planet and the three E’s of Economy, Equity and Environment. Sustainability is clearly the guiding light when Traci and Brittney make strategic decisions for their growing business these past eight years.
Location, location, location
Choosing the right location for their first store, however, did not come without some second-guessing from Traci. After struggling with the decision to open and where to open, Traci prayed for a sign and got it during a family dinner outing for Chinese food. After dinner, Traci opened her fortune cookie to read the word “Plenty” on the backside of the fortune. Traci knew it was the right decision, and PLENTY opened their doors the day before Thanksgiving in 2012.
During their first five years, Traci and Brittney focused on growing their business at PLENTY’s flagship location in Automobile Alley. They purchased the building in 2016 and expanded their retail and event space, named The Venue at PLENTY, which includes space behind the retail store, as well as space on the rooftop next to their green space, which also harvests rainwater. The event space caters to events — from weddings to corporate functions — and workshops, such as yoga classes and leadership workshops.
The idea to grow the business through multiple locations came to fruition when PLENTY opened their second location in 2017 in Edmond’s Spring Creek Plaza. Realizing that their Automobile Alley location was a destination experience for Edmond residents, Brittney and Traci, who was an Edmond resident at the time, wanted to bring the sustainable retail experience to Edmond. The store was an immediate success. Within three months, PLENTY Edmond had equaled the revenues of PLENTY Automobile Alley. The Edmond store’s success led Traci and Brittney to start thinking about their third location, or P3 as they endearingly call it.
The effects of 2020
The year 2020 was gearing up to be a big year for PLENTY. The Venue at PLENTY had revamped its events offering with a new dressing room for weddings and a new kitchen, which meant they could cater in-house in addition to the food trucks that pull up in the alley for events. A new roof had been put in, and PLENTY’s third location, in Chisholm Creek, was gearing up for its grand opening in February.
The COVID pandemic changed all that. P3 opened the last week of February, only to close in mid-March. Twenty-two events scheduled at The Venue at PLENTY were cancelled or postponed. Almost overnight, PLENTY had to pivot, and pivot they did, thanks to a great team of five full-time and seven part-time employees, as well as well-defined systems and processes. PLENTY’s website has been updated and is as robust as ever, which may not have happened given that PLENTY staff are fully focused seven days a week when opened. Curbside pickup is available at all locations, too. Also, Brittney and her husband, Marshall, welcomed their second child into the world during the pandemic.
In addition to being sustainability driven, Traci and Brittney have been intentional about giving back to the community in which they reside. The Venue at PLENTY offers their event space to non-profits for their fundraising events, such as PechaKucha Night. They also have a unique mindset in their giving back philosophy that can only be described through Traci’s words. “It’s not Brittney and Traci giving, it’s the people that walk through our door and purchase our goods.”
Over the past eight years, this mother-daughter duo have endeavored to build a sustainable lifestyle store with great products versus a lifestyle store offering great products that happened to be sustainable. They want their guests to have a safe place to have fun making memories. They hope their employees look back and love their time at PLENTY. And finally, they hope their community sees PLENTY as having a positive impact on their city.
Since opening those big yellow doors in 2012, Traci and Brittney have been very intentional about how they have done PLENTY. So much so, that there is a deep sense that PLENTY’s Mission, their Triple Bottom Line, the three E’s and Purchasing Principles collectively support their purpose and belief that commerce has the power to change the world through conservation and preservation.
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About George Glover
George serves as a trusted advisor to high-integrity CEO’s, owners, and key executives, through the CEO and Key Executive peer advisory groups he leads. With 24 years in mining, steel manufacturing and construction, George possesses broad corporate level and direct business leadership experience from privately to publicly owned domestic and multi-national companies. Having lived in the United States, Mali, Australia, Malaysia and China, his exposure to diverse leadership styles and varying team dynamics has deepened George's appreciation for effective leadership and business culture.
George holds a BS in Accounting and Finance from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Golden Gate University. George moved to Edmond in 2014 with his wife, Holly, and children, George and Caroline.