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A life’s purpose

2020 VISION: Williams hopes to be remembered for service to others in community

  • 5 min to read
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Kyle Williams, with Hammer Williams Co., says his main purpose is to help others first.

ENID, Okla. — Is there any business in which Kyle Williams, owner and president of Hammer Williams Co., isn’t involved?

The 57-year-old’s business enterprises include:

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• Williams Capital Corp. and Jack’s General Stores (Jiffy Trip convenience stores), which operate 28 stores in northern Oklahoma.

• Williams Broadcasting (KGWA and KOFM radio stations)

• Venture 1996

• LaMunyon Drilling

• Xpress Wellness Urgent Care Centers, with 10 locations across Kansas and Oklahoma.

• Real estate developments, including The District at Cleveland and Garriott in Enid.

Williams also serves on the St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center board and is a past board member and chairman of PEGASYS community television.

He has been a strong supporter of Oklahoma Bible Academy, Hope Outreach Ministries and Emmanuel Enid church. He has supported missionaries and has gone to other countries to help various missions and Christian radio stations.

Williams, though, says any success he enjoys is due to having “a great team” that includes son Alex Williams, Geoff Helm, Don Rose, Kerrie Slater and “many more.”

“I will tell you that I do the least among our team,’’ he said. “I’m dead serious when I say that. I try to chart the course where we’re going. Our team goes on from there. I would say we have been very blessed.”

‘Loving people is helping people’

Williams says he doesn’t want a legacy, and his main purpose is to help others first.

“My life purpose is to love people, and loving people is helping people,” Williams said. “I think we should have a life’s purpose that defines us. I just think that’s who we think we are.”

That’s one reason why he says his mission and church work are “probably the most important thing that we do by far.’’

“You want to help the least among us that need help,’’ Williams said. “I just want to improve our standard of living. There’s nothing more important than helping others. There are a lot of needs in Enid. We need to go where we can help our third-world countries.’’

Business partners

Williams grew up in Fairview and came to Enid in 1986 when his wife Carol was doing an internship at a local hospital.

He and then-partner Hobie Hammer of Cherokee opened their first convenience store in Nash in 1983.

Williams father L.V. and Hammer’s father Larry were longtime business partners. The Williams family would buy out the Hammers after Larry Hammer died in 2001.

“Larry Hammer was a wonderful partner with my dad,” Williams said. “They were business partners for 35 years. I can only say good things about both of them.”

Hobie Hammer eventually would buy out Kyle Williams’ share in the Nash store, but Williams has a share of 28 stores, including an Enid location on Garland and Garriott that opened last year.

“It’s an ebb and flow business,’’ Williams said of the convenience stores. “It’s been a challenge with the overall economy of Northwest Oklahoma. When oil prices go down, our business goes down. When farmers are making money, we do better. The better oil and gas does, the better we do.’’

The Nash store would be prototypical of the convenience store business. In a small community like Nash, which may not have large grocery store, it can be the place to go.

“Communities like that need a place where they can buy fuel, snacks and treats,” Williams said. “It serves a need in the community.”

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A road grader works on the planned retail center The District March 12. Developer Kyle Williams said the weather has been the biggest hurdle on getting started with the retail outlet.

The District moving forward

What draws Williams to the business is serving people. He sees problems as challenges to be met.

“They are opportunities for me,” Williams said. “The cost of store development is so high. As you put in a store, the capital needs are very high. Technology in convenience stores would shock a lot of people.”

The Enid Jiffy Trip, which opened in late August, has continued to grow.

“We are very pleased,’’ Williams said.

There will be another Jiffy Trip, in addition to Colton’s Steak House and Hideaway Pizza, as part of The District project, which also hopes to draw a movie theater to the shopping center.

The biggest problem with that project so far has been the weather.

“We have been able to do some dozing work for the streets,’’ Williams said. “If we can get a couple of weeks without rain, we can make some amazing progress.”

Williams’ companies are working with Enid Regional Development Alliance headed by Lisa Powell to bring the movie theater. The recent coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has made the project more of a challenge, but Williams said the weather has been a bigger problem.

“We’re all trying to move forward with our projects,” Williams said. “The ERDA is making progress with the theater. We enjoy improving and building the best of class properties. When The District is completed, it will be something the city of Enid is proud of. It will be a wonderful corner.”

“When the development is completed, we will draw an amazing amount of business to Enid,’’ he said, “which will benefit hotels and restaurants. It will better the quality of life here and more opportunities. We can be proud of any additional options they may bring.’’

Williams said there are future projects still in development.

Work has begun on a Tommy’s Express Car Wash franchise near the Jiffy Trip on Garland.

“It’s probably one of the finest car washes you will find in the country,” Williams said. “It will provide something our community doesn’t have.”

Serving the public interest

The Williams and Hammer families purchased its radio stations from then-owner Alan Page in 1994 after passing up an opportunity to buy in 1993. He has added an outdoor media billboard company.

“I enjoy the radio business more today than I did 26 years ago,’’ Williams said. “We’re just like anybody else. A lot depends on the economy. We just want to help out all of our business advertisers.’’

The Williams-Hammer team replaced all the stations equipment throughout a four-year period after the purchase. Over time, Williams said, he has continued to improve the operations. Like the convenience stores, he sees it as people business. A radio station in Enid can serve the community better than one in Oklahoma City or Tulsa.

“It’s a great business,” he said. “It’s very similar to newspapers. We’re all in it to serve the public interest. It’s important to have the pulse of the community.”

He formed LaMunyon drilling in 2005 with partner Dana LaMunyon. That company has felt the downturn of the business.

“There aren’t many rigs working in Oklahoma,” Williams said.

The Wellness Centers, on the other hand, are doing well.

“It’s been a growth business for us,” Williams said. “I think we have met a need in the communities that we serve. We’re improving access to medical care to people and making it convenient. That’s exactly why we are in the business.”

Community investment

Williams’ children — Kyle and daughter Jordan — both graduated from OBA where they were star athletes.

Williams, a Fairview High School graduate, attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma but did not graduate. But to him education is a foremost concern.

“I love OBA,” Williams said. “My grandchildren one day are either going to be going to OBA, Enid or Chisholm. You want them to have good schools to go to.’’

Kyle and Carol Williams have attended Emmanuel for 27 years and remain “very active” in the church.

He plans to remain a force in the community for a long time.

“We are working on bigger projects that will come out in the next 12 to 24 months that I can’t speak on yet,” Williams said. “It’s fun creating projects that improve our community. We want more and more of our young people to stay in the community.”

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Campbell is a former sports writer and current part-time writer for the News & Eagle,

2020 Vision is a special section that will publish in the Enid News & Eagle for eight Sundays in February, March and April 2020. The section is designed to feature individuals, businesses and organizations in Enid and Northwest Oklahoma that work every day for the betterment of the region and its residents. This section, which published April 12, 2020, focuses on Community Service.

Read all sections at 2020 Vision: All stories

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Graduate of Oklahoma City John Marshall (1972) and University of Oklahoma. Been at News & Eagle since June 19, 1978. Previously worked at Oklahoma Journal, Midland, Texas Reporter & Telegram, Norman Transcript, Elk City Daily News

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