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June 7, 2007

10 miles of fun and bargains in Longtown

For years, they lived in one town and made the 20-plus mile commute to another to operate their business. But one day they looked at each other and decided enough is enough, they’d rather just live and work in the same area.

Rather than move to where their business was located, they moved their business closer to home.

And that was the start, Evelyn Gulley said, of a dream come true for her and her husband.

“We just looked at each other on the drive one day and said ‘This is really goofy,’” Gulley recalled. “We decided we’d rather work closer to home.”

The Gulleys, who operated the Rainbow vaccuum center in McAlester for many years, still sell Rainbows, but they no longer have their store in the county seat of Pittsburg County. Instead, they set up shop in Longtown, the community in which they’ve lived for more than two decades, and even opened another business as well: Evelyn’s Emporium.

“In the 1970s Longtown was a jumping place,” Gulley said. “We’d like to see it that way again.”

In addition to opening her businesses in the community, Gulley also played an important part in setting up the Longtown Merchants Association and became instrumental in establishing something else in the community as well: the 10 Mile Yard Sale, which stretches from just outside of Eufaula to Enterprise “(or Enterprise to just outside of Eufuala, depending on your point of view).”

The huge yard sale was a great success the first time it was held, prompting organizers to hold another this year. The second 10 Mile Yard Sale will be on June 16, from the intersection of state Highway 9 and 9A east of Eufaula to Enterprise.

“You don’t have to worry if you miss breakfast or lunch,” Gulley said. “We’ve got the best hamburgers in the area right there at the landing.” There’s also going to be plenty of barbecue and other food items at the event, which features a variety of individual yard sales, as well as sales by many of the 82 merchants along the 10-mile stretch of roadway. In addition the special event will feature some crafters and artists offering their wares, but “We’re only allowing a percentage of those,” Gulley said.

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