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Owner of Edmond store is retiring in her own fashion

Lesta Oliver will be closing Edmond's Simply Southwest. She has been in business for 30 years in Edmond, Guthrie, Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
by Diana Baldwin Modified: January 28, 2013 at 9:44 pm •  Published: January 29, 2013

Oliver said the economic situation that started over four years ago contributed to her decision.

“Business has been a little worse every year,” said Oliver, of Oklahoma City. “Everything is higher — utilities, freight, and insurance. Everything is up, salaries.”

Oliver started her fashion career as a buyer for Chez Elle in Nichols Hills. When that store closed, she started a home-based business, tailoring clothing with unique American Indian ribbon accents. She held fashion shows at churches, country clubs and luncheons with models wearing her clothing.

She held fashion shows on the side while working as a secretary for Rep. Bill Smith, R-Ringling, and Rep. Don Garrison, D-Lindsay.

“I love fashions,” Oliver said. “I loved making unique things. I was having a good time. I got so busy and my husband told me ‘Lesta, this has got to go.'”

She first went to Guthrie where she sold her clothing in a co-op at the Blue Bell Saloon, where Miss Lizzie's brothel once operated.

“Things really took off and then I opened the store in Edmond,” Oliver said.

Oliver said she is going to miss her customers and the friends she made over the years going to market.

“My customers have been loyal and encouraging through the years,” Oliver said. “Some of my very best friends for the rest of my life, I have made through this store.”

She has lots of things planned for her retirement years. An Alaskan cruise is at the top of her list.

“I want to visit friends and family that I haven't taken the time to do,” Oliver said. “I want to do some traveling.

“It is going to be hard to give this up.”

by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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