Business owners, philanthropists, Christians, patriotic, civic-minded, and outgoing. Many words could be used to describe Paul and Amanda Nedlose, owners of the Shooters Shop, but most people who have known them for any length of time would probably say they are just “good folks!”
A Vietnam veteran, Paul served his country in the Air Force from 1963 to 1977 and met Amanda Abbott at a Christian dance at Tinker Air Force Base where he was stationed. Although Amanda was raised in Bristow, she was working for American Fidelity Insurance in Oklahoma City when she met Paul. They were married in 1968, and sons Robert and Paul were both delivered by the same Air Force doctor at Tinker Air Force Base. Their last son, Rodney, was born in Wisconsin. Paul said that as the doctor filled out the birth certificate, he commented that their names sounded familiar. Extremely coincidentally, he was the very same doctor who had delivered the first two sons in Oklahoma! No one had realized this until that moment!
Paul brought Amanda back to her hometown in 1979. In 1984, they bought the building at 207 S. Main from Tresa Lynch Real Estate, who was occupying the building at the time. Tresa then moved her real estate business south where “The Hamburger King” had once reigned.
At the Shooters Shop, named by the Nedlose sons, one can find guns, ammunition, welding supplies, gases, and welding rods. If they don’t carry an item you need, they can order it and have it in a few days. Early on, Paul and Amanda worked with the Oklahoma Wildlife Department, operated a deer check station, gave hunter education courses and certified thousands of students. Older customers often come in saying, “You were my instructor.” Now deer check stations are no longer needed as hunters can register their kill online.
A fire destroyed the business in 1999. As many people had stopped by for conversation and coffee for years, the Nedloses wished to continue that as well as their business, so they rebuilt the store in 2001 and expanded the size of their parking lot when they bought two lots, one from Joyce and Leon Launus, whose own business, “Something Special” had burned and another lot as well.
But the store isn’t the heart of this story. Paul and Amanda are. The business has not only provided a living for the couple, but also has been a source of funding for various church projects. According to Paul, they have bought a sound system for the Assembly of God, donated towards the building of the Free Will Baptist’s new church building, bought a baptismal for Cross Point Church in Sapulpa, and an ice maker for the Assembly of God. “That’s what we do with our profit,” Paul said. “For several years, we made sure every kid got to go to kid’s camp.” Paul did a lot of concessions for churches also, including Harvest Fest, 4th of July, and fall hayrides.
Not only do the Nedloses give freely of their money, but they also give freely of their time. Paul plays Santa Clause for nursing homes and nurseries. With a low voice, Paul remembered, “I’ll tell you what was really sad was when I gave out presents at the nursing homes as Santa. I gave a doll to one of the residents who hugged it up like a baby. So sad.” Paul was also the Santa for the Polar Express and Christmas Unwrapped while it was running. “The kids’ eyes would light up! I had a good group of elves, and they’d get the names of the passengers and they would light up when I gave them the bell!” said Paul. “When I would get on the train, they would jump, I would have to catch them, and they would hang on my leg. It was a lot of fun!”
Amanda quietly supports Paul, but also makes her own unique contributions. She keeps a sewing machine in the store and has made a lot of shirts, Paul’s original Santa suit, a John Deer Tractor blanket, and several quilts. “I’ve been waiting so long for that,” said a young man who brought material in to be made into a quilt. His grandmother had bought the material but died before making it. Amanda also made a t-shirt quilt for her granddaughter.
Yes, Paul and Amanda Nedlose are just good folks who happen to be part of Bristow’s history in the making. Stop by and visit them anytime at the Shooters Shop, 207 S. Main, Bristow, open 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.