By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Home Interior Retail | Issue: September 2008
Co-owner Mikhy Smith proudly shows off new appliances in Tumble In’s huge showroom. The new store opened in early August on the northwest corner of 161st & Elm in Broken Arrow.
Tumble In opened its doors to the public in Broken Arrow in early August. Today’s Tumble In had its humble beginnings as “Tumble Inn” in Muskogee in 1942. Located at the bottom of Indian Agency Hill, Tumble Inn was established as a small bar that sold beer to many of the World War II soldiers who would walk from the large VA Medical Center at the top of the hill. But founder Don Smith quickly realized that catering to the wives and sweethearts of U.S. soldiers was more profitable than selling nickel beer to their fellas.
The company’s name soon changed to Tumble In Discount Center, clinching its place in local history as the first of its kind in Muskogee. Over a period of years, sporting goods, automotive parts, televisions, appliances, and a Mexican restaurant were added to the store, and new centers were opened in Okmulgee and Pryor.
Television and electronics sales rapidly ascended to top company sales efforts, and in 1973 the stores became known as Tumble In Television and Appliance. Darrell Hamby also became a Tumble In owner that year and has since opened stores in McAlester and Broken Arrow.
Tumble In Television and Appliance is active in a 7,500-member buying group known as Nationwide Buying Group. According to co-owner Mikhy Smith, “This group purchases $11 billion worth of appliances and electronics each year.” The group’s buying power gives members like Tumble In the ability to remain competitive with big-box stores. Tumble In has always maintained a low overhead with a volume-pricing approach, which has contributed to the company’s success.
The major appliances carried by Tumble In include products by Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, KitchenAid Countertop, Jenn-Air, Amana, Frigidaire, Electrolux, Wolf and Sub-Zero. The electronics side includes Pioneer Elite, LG, Toshiba, Hitachi, Sony, Sharp, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Zenith, Onkyo, Definitive Technology, Monster and DirecTV. Tumble In also specializes in custom appliance and electronics installations, and they carry Dyson and Oreck vacuum cleaners.
Tumble In will have an official grand opening in September. During the month, they will be involved in a promotion with FOX23 and KOTV Channel 6 in which a Toshiba High Definition 42” television will be awarded to a lucky customer. Commercials will be airing on these networks explaining how to register for the drawing. You may also visit the Tumble In store to register for the Toshiba.
During the month of October, Tumble In will be promoting a “Cook for the Cure” campaign with KitchenAid to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Customers and Broken Arrow residents may register for a drawing to win pink KitchenAid appliances. KitchenAid will also be hosting cooking demonstrations at the store throughout the month.
Smith advises residents to keep their eyes on the northwest corner of 161st & Elm. This major corner is now easily accessible, is being brought back to life with new tenants and renovations, and is a convenient place to shop in Broken Arrow. Smith adds, “Our goal is to become Broken Arrow’s neighborhood TV and appliance store. Come in and see us.”
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.