Located across the street from Southern Nazarene University sits a whimsical bookstore like no other. Its cozy exterior is just as inviting on the outside as it is on the inside. As soon as you step through the door you are encountered by hundreds of books, a playful atmosphere, and a friendly face. That friendly face is the owner of Deer Clan Books, Claudette Robertson.
As a former teacher, Robertson taught 6th-12th grades, specifically Social Studies. Most recently, she taught history as an adjunct professor for 17 years at OKC Community College. In July of 2020, Robertson decided that it was time for her to retire.
The store opened its doors to the public on July 13th, 2020 right in the middle of the pandemic.
“I opened this store a year before I retired,” says Robertson. “I was a teacher working at home remotely and on the days I wasn’t working I was still at home. One day I said, ‘God, I cannot trade my desk chair for a recliner, I have to do something else.’ For about 15 years I planned on opening a book store. It wasn’t a definite plan but every time I would drive by a vacant store I would wonder if it was a good place for a bookstore.”
Gathering inspiration for the bookstore goes back even further to when Robertson was a young girl. “I was in the third grade coming out of my elementary school in Northern California,” says Robertson. “I looked across the street and I saw a square box that had wheels on it. I was curious, and I don’t consider myself to have been a curious child. I walked across the road, went up the steps, and realized that there were books on both sides of the wall. I asked the lady what it was and she said it was a ‘book mobile’. I picked out Hans Christian Andersen and Zane Grey books.
Ever since I discovered books as a source of entertainment, I have never been bored.”
“I opened this store because I love books and because I want other people to love books. I feel that I have a gift to offer Bethany,” says Robertson. As far as experience goes, Robertson says that she is new to the field. “This is my first experience full-time in retail, learning the tricks of the trade, and every day it seems like I am learning something new. I just ask God to help me be whatever’s needed here at this time and this place.”
“What I’d like the SNU family to know is that I can do tutoring in financial literacy, social studies, U.S. History, World History American Indian History, and writing classes.” Although she hasn’t decided on specific rates, Robertson plans on making them affordable for students. As our conversation went on, she expressed opportunities for stu
dents to gather at her store. “I have a place where students can come to study if they are wanting to get out of the school environment. There are also opportunities for Early Childhood Education majors. Twice a month on the first and third Saturdays there is a story time narrated by children’s author Carly Cartmill.”
“I wanted to have a central focus for the community,” says Robertson. “I have an event room that can be rented out, I have a children’s center, and I have an Oklahoma authors section.” Robertson has devoted many areas across her store to promoting Oklahoma authors in such an authentic way. Not only does it give opportunities for these Oklahoma authors, but it allows the opportunity for the community to discover new captivating stories.
If you are looking for a feel of a community and want to expand your book collection: look no further! Stop by this wonderful bookstore today.
For students who have questions about tutoring, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Faith Blose