A store dedicated to helping people prepare for emergencies opens just in time for the upcoming tornado season.
Located in Oklahoma City, the Homestand Preparation Station is the first of its kind with potential for more locations and partnerships in the future.
KOSU’s Maude Garrett reports the store goes beyond simply preparing for the next natural disaster.
Walking into Homestand Preparation Station the store is quiet, organized, and peaceful, the opposite of what you would experience after one of Oklahoma's infamous tornadoes.
Since its opening in March, Homestand general manager, Scott Harper says the store has been doing well and getting positive reactions.
"I think people understand the concept, I think when people walk in they may have a perception of a store like this and I think that seeing what we have and seeing the opened air space, kind of a relaxed atmosphere, I think people have taken to that."
According to the national climatic data center, Oklahoma sees an average of 62 tornadoes a year, which makes a big need for a weather preparation store like Homestand.
But a store like Homestand isn't created overnight.
The inspiration and research was there, but Harper needed a few helping hands.
"It was myself and just a couple other guys. There's some guys that really just saw a need for it after you know the May tornadoes. So what we did is he and I traveled across the country looking at stores, getting ideas.”
One big place Harper found inspiration: Salt Lake City.
He says the church of Latter Day Saints preaches one year preparation and takes seriously natural disasters.
“What we saw was a lot of the stores there were really well lit, open aired, a more relaxing feel to it as opposed to something that maybe feels more like an army surplus store. For us, we agreed with that and I was really inspired to bring that back here."
The products sold at Homestand are more gadget-like and often have more than one use.
As useful as these items can be in the event of devastating weather, buying them can be a mental and emotional challenge.
So he says he works to reduce the stress about what the items will be used for.
"I don't think it necessarily has to be conspiracy ridden or anything like that; it can just be for keeping your family safe. So for us I think it was just for your kids, mom, dad, grandparents, things like that. We wanted to create an atmosphere where people would feel comfortable."
Homestand joined forces with an Oklahoma City company called Storm Safe which sells and installs storm shelters.
Harper says he wanted to work with a reliable business in storm shelters.
“Just like all the products in here, it's stuff that you can stand by. We're not just going to sell you something just to sell it to you. We stand behind our products because when you need to use these things, you need them to work."
The company on Northwest 63rd and May also provides much needed information and education.
"We keep up with a lot of stuff on Twitter and things like that. And then we just want to be able to pass it on to people, because we have our finger on the pulse of it. So, for other people who have access to it and putting it the form of a blog and stuff like that is really important."
And, Homestand Preparation Station offers Informative classes with the most recent coming from Oklahoma Red Cross.
"We'll work more and more with them and a few other agencies to get the word out because for us it's not really always about just making a sale, it’s about educating the community.”
Homestand Preparation Station is located in the French Market Mall and is open from ten to seven Monday through Saturday and Sundays from noon to five.
You can find out more information at HomestandReady.com.