Having a winery is not a glamorous job! That’s what Con Pekrul, owner of Plain View Winery, says.
Pekrul started making wines with his father as a hobby. Though it was based at his home with no traffic at all, it kept growing. He started to plan relocating. A building in nearby Lahoma, Oklahoma, (population about 675) came available. It was right on the highway, but quite expensive for Con and his father Hart.
“At the time we thought, can we afford this? Will this work?” Pekrul said. Their accountant said to try it, but she secretly gave them six months before they’d fail. Plain View Winery is now starting on its seventh year in that location.
Learning from Failures and Mistakes
Pekrul admits that they have made a lot of mistakes, a lot of messes to clean up. They have learned from it.
Pekrul had great success selling locally-produced pickles, until the maker decided not to sell to Pekrul anymore. So Con and his dad started creating their own pickle recipes, testing with customers until they were satisfied. Then they arranged with a custom food processing firm in Oklahoma to make the new Papa Hart’s pickes. Next week, Pekrul is off to pick up his fourth load of 75 cases of pickles this year. He said the pickles have turned into one of their best success stories.
Like many other small business leaders, Pekrul has become highly involved in his community.
He joined the Lions club to promote the community. Then he had to get involved in the larger community, so he ran for city council, and got promoted to mayor. He joined the state grape growers association, for industry networking. He’s also a board member of the regional economic development group, the Northwest Oklahoma Alliance, for more networking.
As Pekrul expanded into more Oklahoma-made products to cater to travellers, he’s become a promoter of other small businesses in small towns. Take the Italian style ice cream parlor in Waukomis, or the Seattle style coffee house in another tiny town. Pekrul says we’re all in this together.
Con Pekrul was a speaker at the Entrepreneurship Day at Alva, Oklahoma, November 20. POV is our ongoing series sharing the Point Of View of entrepreneurs from all over.
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