How Miranda Lambert Saved Main Street with a Little Country Glitz
Miranda Lambert describes her life “like a circus tent.” On top of her music, clothing and boot lines, winery, and endorsement deals, she has two boutiques, one in Oklahoma and one in Texas—and one of her stores, plus a bed-and-breakfast, helped revitalize her adopted hometown of Tishomingo, Okla.
Lambert was less busy, though, and a little lost, when she left her base of friends and family in Texas to move with Blake Shelton. So Shelton, who grew up in nearby Ada, suggested she get involved in the community.
“For a while, I was just paintin’ furniture and junkin’, and my husband encouraged me to have a little store,” Lambert says, referring to her gift boutique, The Pink Pistol. “I think maybe he knew that it would make me feel like I planted some roots in our new place, and it definitely did that.”
When she saw an old building downtown “just wasting away,” she bought it and turned it into The Ladysmith bed-and-breakfast.
She scoffs at the notion she’s some sort of small-town savior, but the now-bustling downtown of Tishomingo (population 3,000, give or take), tells a different tale.
Since opening The Pink Pistol (“For the Wild at Heart,” as its slogan says), and The Ladysmith, Tishomingo has become a destination for tourists. The B&B recently was named one of the South’s best new hotels by Southern Living magazine.
“I don’t know that I saved the town,” says Lambert with a quick laugh. “I think what happens is that when you invest, it just inspires other people to take a chance. I think about 20 new shops have opened since we did, something I didn’t realize until someone said something about it.”
One person who is sure of the significant role Lambert has played is Seigel Heffington, executive director of the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce and owner of a real estate office in town. He says Lambert’s efforts have had an enormous impact on the town, which once had plenty of vacancy signs littering the main street. Now there’s hardly an inch of space to be had.
“Her dream to open up a little shop turned into a vision for the town,” Heffington says. “We were struggling like most towns in rural America with lots of empty buildings. Then Miranda came in, and we started moving at light speed. People from all over the nation are driving to little bitty Tishomingo to visit The Pink Pistol and the bed-and-breakfast.”
Heffington says Tishomingo is lucky to count the couple as its own. “They stay low-key and are salt-of-the-earth people. There’s no put-on with them,” he says. “They treat everybody with respect, and neither one has let being top-shelf celebrities go to their heads. They invest in the community and are just good people.”