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December 14, 2012

Local business owners put honesty first

CHICKASHA — Esmaeil and Laila Abecian opened the Campus Corner convenience store in 1993, and have made customer service and sincerity a priority ever since.

The main thing the Abecians try to do with their business is maintain honesty and integrity, Laila explained.

"We have been here a long time," Laila said. "The main thing we try to do is be honest and to not rip off people. You know, the best example is in 2001, when 9/11 happened and everybody jacked up their gas prices. People doubled and tripled prices, but we stayed at the same prices."

Laila reflected on September 11 and how she and her husband were in California and the manager of the store called them.

"They called us and said, 'This is a situation, what do you want to do?' and my husband said, 'Keep the prices the same. We don't want to rip people off," she said.

Esmaeil attended USAO and has had roots in Chickasha for several years.

"After Esmaeil left USAO we got married and he finished his master's degree in Kansas," Laila said. "I worked here and there and then this business opportunity came up for us in Chickasha in 1993 and we've been here ever since."

From the outside, Campus Corner, a local convenient store located across from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma may seem like all the stores of its kind in Chickasha. Equipped with gas pumps, ice chests and newspaper racks, you may miss its secret if you never venture inside.

Inside, owners Laila and Esmaeil Abecian sell the gas station essentials such as beer, cigarettes and candy, but the true treasure inside is the store's food counter. Freshly made deli sandwiches, grilled hamburgers and gyros create a pleasant aroma that would make anyone's mouth water. Whether you are on the go, or have time to sit in one of the few booths located inside the store, Campus Corner gives an alternative food option for Chickasha citizens.

Laila recalls when the business first opened, they had a very small electrical skillet. Now they use a larger gas stove that helps cook faster and more efficiently.

According to Laila, Campus Corner has become the Abecians' baby.

"The store is just our baby," Laila said. "Especially to my husband. We try to take care of it, and of course the customers are what makes this business our baby so we try to be very nice to them."

Campus Corner is located at 1601 West Grand Avenue. It is open Monday-Thursday 5 a.m. to 12 p.m., Friday 5 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.

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