At age 64, Mike Clark is celebrating retirement by working 17 hours a day, six days a week manning the latest addition to Bricktown — "The Store.”
"It gets old because I'm the total work force,” Clark admits "Eventually I'll hire some people to give me some relief, but I'm new to this so I want to learn the business first.”
It's not that Clark is always on his feet. Since opening on June 6, Clark has spent his slower hours enjoying the sun at a patio table outside the store or lounging in a recliner inside, watching old movies on a big screen television.
"My grandkids gave me that,” Clark says of his recliner. "I stay comfortable. The big screen I got myself — I told my wife I had to have it spending so many hours down here.”
The Vietnam veteran (he served in the 101st Airborne) spends the rest of his time chatting up customers and sharing tourist information with out-of-town visitors.
"It's a fun job,” Clark said. "I had four people in last week from England asking about the sights. So I told them about the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Remington Park. And I'm getting a lot of customers from the hotels. They don't want to rent a car, but they want a beer, or whatever, and the concierges are sending them here.”
Knows the risks
Clark is well aware of the risks opening and operating a business in Bricktown. He's actually a veteran himself, having operated Bricktown Limos for 10 years. The limo service dispatched 10 vintage automobiles, but was stopped last year after an accident. That matter has been resolved, Clark said, and he's preparing to start up downtown tours with his 1932 Cadillac next month.
Clark said he decided to start up The Store after his original space on the east side of the Power Alley Parking Garage had to be shut off for construction of the neighboring Hampton Inn and Suites.