Eric Baker went all the way around the world before coming back to Oklahoma. The owner of Plaza District’s newest store, Maverick OKC (1609 N. Blackwelder), is a Minco native who graduated from Oklahoma State with a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and International Studies. That degree took him to Turkmenistan with the Peace Corps, where he worked for two years.
Baker returned to the U.S., but settled in Denver. He had friends there, and he was looking for a career path after his Peace Corps stint.
“I had done the traditional NGO thing, but I was looking for a stable career,” Baker said. “I liked the corporate structure of Whole Foods.”
He worked as a regional buyer for Whole Foods for five years before returning to Oklahoma. Instead of coming straight back, though, he built a bed into the back of his SUV and set off on a circuitous tour of the northern and western U.S., including Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, the Northwest, and the desert Southwest. The trip was instrumental in helping him pick the manufacturers for the products he will now be selling at Maverick OKC.
“I had been doing a vintage pop-up shop in Denver the last year I was there, so I was already familiar with the resurgence in American manufacturing,” Baker said. “I was selling outdoor vintage clothing, but I was also working with creative, talented, ethical manufacturers, many of whom I got to meet on my trip.”
Baker’s family is still in the Oklahoma City area, and when they learned he planned on opening a retail clothing store, they got involved in the process. The almost-500 square foot interior features fixtures made by Baker’s family. Although it is on the minimalist side in terms of design, it still manages to be warm, thanks in part to those fixtures and the excellent lighting.’
“My sister made the stanchion pieces, and they’re adjustable,” Baker said. “My uncle, who is a woodworker, made the table, and my father made the point of sale counter.”
Baker and the family started working on the space in early October, and Maverick OKC opened on Dec. 18. The inventory is mainly clothing, much of it outdoor friendly, including Topo from Denver, and Pointer from L.C. King Mfg. of Bristol, Tennessee. The Pointer clothing, especially, is designed for work outdoors. The Topo fleece was just called a “must have” for winter by “GQ Magazine.”
In addition to the new clothing, Maverick OKC carries a small, curated vintage selection, and Baker said he would like for it to grow in the near future. Additionally, the back board holds artist prints, another area Baker is looking to expand.