TULSA, Okla. — Shadowbox Military Gear provides unique keepsakes for veterans.
General Manager and Co-Owner J.R. Becker says if they don’t get support from the community, they’ll be forced to close by the end of the year.
“There’s just no sales,” says Becker. “Nobody is coming in.”
Shadowbox Military Gear has been around for the last six years. Becker says when the pandemic started in March 2020, he had no idea it would have such a devastating impact on his business.
The store sells hats, patches, pins, decals and shirts. They have several items for the men and women who’ve put it all on the line to serve our country.
The highlight of the store is the shadowbox, a unique keepsake that showcases all the ribbons and medals a veteran collected during service.
“It gives you a self-accomplishment, that you’ve been able to do this for somebody to make them happy,” Becker says.
He says his own military service is what makes him so passionate about his work. He served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and continues to support veterans across Green Country through several organizations.
Becker says the pandemic is putting a major strain on his business.
“COVID has knocked us on our butts,” he says.
A lot of their sales came from setting up in VA buildings across Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas and Arkansas.
The pandemic caused those buildings to close to the public.
“It has really hurt us very very bad. It’s knocked our sales and my store into the dirt. We basically do not believe we are going to be able to continue because of this," Becker says.
He says they’re seeing, at minimum, 60% fewer sales than before the pandemic.
He says if the community doesn’t step in to support the store, they won’t be open come the first of the year.
“I would like for us to be able to stay open, but if I don’t have the business I can’t stay open,” said Becker.
The store is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The shadowboxes take anywhere from two days to two weeks to create.
If you’d like to learn more about the business, you can visit their website here.
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