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NeMar, Part Four: Grand Opening

Note from MCM staffer: This was originally published on moreClaremore on November 5, 2013. We have added more photos and additional info for a fun update to NeMar’s past. Photo descriptions from the Rogers County Observer issue published in October 1969. A special “thank you” to the Neely family for providing us with the treasure trove of history, and to Mr. Robby Melton for all of his interviews and writing of these stories. 

“Once a dream! Now the central shopping attraction for northeastern Oklahoma!”

So shouted the ad in the October 2,1969, Rogers County Observer announcing the grand opening of  NeMar Phase 3. “Continuing to grow! New, modern buildings! Acres of free parking to handle 550 cars at one time! 68,100 square feet of shopping room! A complete, well-rounded shopping facility for your convenience.”

The center was first announced in 1966. Phase 1, the west side, was completed in 1967, Phase 2, the south in 1968, and phase 3, the east still under construction in 1969.

Neely and Marlar, masters of showmanship, simply borrowed a flatbed truck, covered her over with newsprint, bunting and ribbon and rented a public address system. Threw in a 1967 Miss Oklahoma (now Mrs. Tom Coburn), and got a newspaper photographer. And there you’ve got an event! 

Dr. Jack Marlar and Paul Neely

Ribbon Cutting Event at NeMar in July 1967

Dr. Jack Marlar, Carolyn Denton, Jonnie and Paul Neely

Eighteen businesses had signed up and moved in by this time in 1969, including Otasco, Levines, Humpty Dumpty Pharmacy, TG&Y and Sears.

Dave Cooper of TG&Y shows just one example of the top quality fabric at TG&Y. 

Bill Flint, barber at Abbott’s Barber Shop, ably shares the duties with J.D. Abbott. Flint, who is a graduate of Claremore High School, is like all barbers to the extent that he never fails to find a topical subject to discuss with his customers. Bill’s folks are Mr. and Mrs. Charles Flint of Claremore. His wife, Shirley, is a teacher at Catoosa Junior High School. 

Warren Gray, operator of the Farmer’s Union Insurance office, sits behind his desk to discuss insurance needs with customers. Drop by to meet Warren Gray, as he greets you with a warm Okie smile and handshake. 

Billie Jon Williams looks up with a pleasant smile during another busy day of Family Q Spot action. With large, clean facilities, the Family Q makes for the most enjoyable of casual evening fun. 

OD Justice has just so much fun operating the Family Q Spot for his daughter, Billie Jon Williamson and her husband Roy, who own the center, as Rogers Countians come in to enjoy a game of pool or pin ball. One of the busiest establishments at NeMar, the Family Q Spot offers enjoyment and relaxation for people of all ages. 

Lois Adams, who has recently retired from the telephone company here in Claremore, is pictured above getting her hair styled by Mary Ridenhour, owner and operator of the NeMar Beauty Salon. Mary has been styling Mrs. Adams for the past twelve years. 

Bill Norfleet of Otasco checks the supply of Christmas toys for the coming season and seems especially fond of a certain cuddly turtle. 

Ray Allen of Ray Allen Shoes, the newest shoe store in Rogers County, displays just one example of their fine quality brand of shoes. The best in brand name, color and style is available at Ray Allen’s. 

John Denbo displays the latest styles in Omega watches to one of his customers. Denbo Jewelers offers the finest in quality jewelry to the people of Rogers County. 

Dr. Paul J. Baker displays an intricate piece of equipment which he uses to test the eyesight of his patients. Dr. Baker has practiced in Claremore for 23 years and has been located at NeMar since the center was constructed in 1967. 

Bill Hunter, assistant manager at TG&Y, smiles as he displays one of the “cuddly” toys available at TG&Y for the holidays. Hunter has been with TG&Y for 15 months and is originally from Ponca City. 

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