By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Curtis Grace is standing behind the counter on a cold morning Jan. 20 at Grit and Grace Outdoors, a hunting, fishing and overall outdoor facility he owns with son, Jason. The walls and racks are lined with outdoor products for the public, some manufactured in Newkirk. It is only two days after the Graces were recognized by the Chamber of Commerce as the Business of the Year, a distinction they were not prepared for.
“I was astounded when (we) received the award. I’m very proud,” he said.
Newkirk residents and community supporters chose Grit and Grace Outdoors as the Business of the Year.
Grit and Grace Outdoors has served the community for only a few years, opening their doors Sept. 5, 2019. It is the fulfillment of a family’s love of the outdoors. Curtis previously served as general manager of Two Rivers Coop, Newkirk. Jason works as a cowboy on a cattle ranch south of Ponca City, and Spencer is the award-winning game warden serving Kay County for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The facility first opened in the 1970s as Blackjack Baits. When it went up for sale, Curtis saw it as new opportunity for retirement, or maybe a way to come out of a brief retirement.
“My whole love has always been for the outdoors,” Curtis said.
As a bait and tackle shop, fishing takes up the bulk of offerings at Grit and Grace Outdoors, from live and artificial bait to rods and reels and tackle boxes, along with locally-produced baits, Sugar Booger Baits, made by the Grace family, and Atomic Baits, from Kyle Moberly.
Sugar Booger Baits was formally known as Illusion Lures, and was sold through major companies like Bass Pro Shop and Cabela’s. They recently purchased the product line and brought it back home to Newkirk, where it lines racks at the store. It will soon be available through their Web site when it is online, he said.
“We purchased the company within a year of buying the store, and started putting it on the shelves last year,” Curtis said. “With Atomic Baits, we’re very excited Kyle was doing plastic lures, so we decided to put it in our store.”
Hunting equipment is also available, such as ammo, vests, targets and archery equipment.
They also have an archery pro shop to repair all varieties of archery equipment, or simply fine-tune a bow as hunting season approaches.
“We felt like it was needed in our area,” Curtis said. “There are very few archery shops out there. Most archers would have to go a long way to have their bows fixes,” Curtis said.
Camping and outdoor cooking equipment is also available.
Having an outdoor store locally is important, partly because outdoor enthusiasts around Newkirk can keep money local while procuring quality equipment, without leaving town. It is also beneficial for those going to area lakes, especially Kaw Lake, only a few miles downstream.
“This is important for Kaw Lake, only four and a half miles out of town, and for locals and people who are from out of state, because we feel like outdoor equipment needs to be available for people going out the the lake,” Curtis said.
It is also a good learning experience for youth to get outside, and to create shared family experiences, something the Grace family knows well.
“Our heart of being outdoors can be lost if we don’t get people interested in the outdoors, and the memories that can be made with it,” he said. “Memories are the most important.”
Grit and Grace outdoors is open open 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday. For more information, call (580) 362-1016 or e-mail Jasonr.firstname.lastname@example.org.