Thursday, July 25, 2024

Wolflin Square celebrates 60 years of shopping with family-friendly event

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Wolflin Square, also known as The Shops at Wolflin Square, has stood the test of time, outlasting several malls, strip malls and even downtown. On Friday, they held a celebration that included Flag Day, Route 66 and their own 60th anniversary.

The free event pulled many visitors in with giveaways, music, food trucks and shopping. Many of the vendors brought products out for the shoppers to see. There was a petting zoo with an Amazon Guinea Hog, which loved belly rubs from children, and a special Algerian dwarf pigmy needs goat, who received plenty of pettings and food provided by the owners, Ryder and Mallory Woodson of Fritch. Rescue ducks and other fowl roamed around the pen and enjoyed the outing. There was also a Rosy Sand Boa that greeted those brave enough to pet it. The Woodsons have maintained their own wildlife rehab for several years outside Fritch and were fortunately spared from recent fires that came up to their property and stopped.

Michelle Labrier with Merle Norman Studio

One of the unique features about the Shops at Wolflin Square is that each shop has an invidualized front or facade. It is different than strip malls that all have the same manufactured front. 

Michelle Labrier was working under an awning with The Eagle Radio Station during the summer event. Her husband, Gary, brought their beautiful horse for kids to pet and sit on while their son, Hayden, a Texas Tech student, did roping tricks next to the booth and later sang for the crowd.

Michelle Labrier, whose grandmother owned the original Merle Norman Studio in the Square, which she now owns, said that giving back to the community is important to the owners. Labrier, who is head of the Merchants Association, said she was a little nervous about having an event in June on a Friday for the first time but that it was very well attended. The owners and merchants wanted the community to have a free event where the could just get out and enjoy the day with some free food and giveaways since things are so hard now in this economy. 

“The events aren’t just about highlighting the merchants, but also to bring the community together,” said McKay Anderson. “The events offer a way for us to highlight local musicians, bring in new food trucks and local vendors. Our merchants work together to plan and execute the events thus creating camaraderie amongst the tenants.”

Silverland quadruples in size since opening in 2000

The Manager of Silverland, Cynthia Allison, said that the popular gift shop/jewelry store started as a small shop in 2000, with just the front portion. “It was slow at first and then it grew exponentially and we added the second room,” she said. “We had a wholesale jewelry company in the back, but we kept expanding and had to take the whole place in and eventually took that third room. We remodeled then. In the meantime, we bought Hallmark store, three doors down, and had that eight years, and eventually moved out of it and into Silverland so we expanded again in 2016.”

Allison said it has been a fun adventure the whole time: “The Square has always been locally owned, which is wonderful. It’s a family (Mays family) that works it and makes it successful. Troy Mays was on board as the Chairman of everything when I came onboard. His daughter is Karra who is married to Todd, the owners of Silverland. Troy’s younger daughter, married Randy Sharp and they opened the SAS Shoes and were the original owners of Randy’s Shoes.”

Sean and McKay Anderson opened and ran Taste Dessert Bar until the children became more important.

Chicken Salad Chick to celebrate first year with gift card drawing in July

Celebrating its one-year anniversary, Chicken Salad Chick has been extremely popular and is expanding into the Lubbock area and should open in August. The business is giving away a $250 Visa gift card to someone who comes in between July 8 and 13 and signs up for the drawing. The ticket will be drawn live on Facebook according to Laura Garrison, the owner. Garrison said she was from Amarillo and graduated from Texas Tech University, so she has ties in both markets.

“We’re excited about our success in Amarillo and will enjoy getting back to Lubbock to have a place there,” Garrison said. “The town has grown so much, it will be fun to be part of the growth story of the city.”

History of Wolflin Square Shopping Center

The Shops at Wolflin Square were started in 1964, next to the Historic Wolflin neighborhood. They are owned by Boston & Mays, LLC., Randy and Stacy Sharp of the Mays Group, who have owned and managed the square for four generations.

The original owners passed down their businesses to their children who keep the same local spirit alive at the shops. They offer quality merchandise for locals taste and treat people right, from managers to customers. 

Robert Boston and W.A. Mays developed the property one building at a time. Descendants of the two original developers are still owners of the property. The Mays family still manages the property and is involved in the events.

Many residents remember Eva’s Store for Women, owned by Betty Mays, built when the center was first built. Betty Mays ran it until her death and then it became a maternity store owned by Debbie Mays Bullard. Later it was the home of Randy’s Shoes, owned by Randy and Stacy Sharp. At the west end of the original strip facing Wolflin, Furr’s Cafeteria served thousands of patrons during its life. It was well known for its good food, deserts and piano player who made the experience a good family restaurant.

Labrier, President of the Merchants Association, said they were celebrating their 60th year and the Sharp and Mays family had been here the entire time. “Most of our merchants are locally owned as well,” she said. “So today, we’re celebrating our 60th anniversary and tagging in with Flag Day and Route 66 events going on in Amarillo. We have a pet zoo, a horse here for kids to pet, rope tricks including roping dummies, face painters, balloon twisters, a bouncy house …” Labrier said that all kind of vendors selling wares including welded jewelry, robotic cornhole, custom hats, and more were there. Food included cotton candy, popcorn, s’mores, lemonade and popsicles and plenty of food trucks.

Around 4 p.m., the Sharp family came by to do a quick meet-and-greet with a champagne toast for everything they do for the merchants. “They are a great group of people. They are great to their merchants and give back to the community. They do a really good job over here for us,” said McKay Anderson.

Anderson said the event was a fun way to give back to the community: “So many people are struggling and it’s good to see them be able to come out and enjoy this for free.” According to Anderson, there were a lot of giveaways and food for customers to enjoy; “we will be having live music here soon.”

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