DAVIS, Okla. – Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, along with elected officials and community members, gathered on Oct. 17, to break ground on two new facilities at the southwest corner of I-35 and S.H. 7 at exit 55.
A new, larger Bedre’ Fine Chocolate Factory and a Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center will be located at the site as part of the tribe’s ongoing efforts to promote tourism in the area.
“We believe investing in this area will benefit the state and local economy far into the future,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “This new Bedre’ factory has been designed to enhance the visitor’s experience and create a new destination for visitors to the area.”
The 34,600-square-foot Bedre’ Chocolate Factory will feature visitor tours, a hands-on area for children and provide space for expansion of the Bedre’ line.
Purchased by the Chickasaw Nation in 2000, Bedre’ was founded in the 1980s by an Ada businessman. Bedre’ provides chocolate products to several retail clients nationwide.
The new Welcome Center will become a gateway for the many attractions in the Chickasaw Nation, including the Chickasaw Cultural Center, Turner Falls, and Boggy Depot Park, said Gov. Anoatubby.
“The Welcome Center will be an excellent venue to encourage visitors to explore the pristine beauty, storied history and outstanding hospitality of the Chickasaw Nation. We will provide information about our historic and cultural destinations, as well as the many recreational facilities and businesses,” said Gov. Anoatubby.
The 5,500-square-foot Welcome Center will feature a gift shop which offers original Chickasaw artwork; public restrooms, a dog park and a playground.
In addition, the Welcome Center will promote tourism throughout Oklahoma, providing travel information and brochures about local festivals, restaurants, hotels and other area attractions.
The new Bedre’ Chocolate Factory is expected to open late 2012.
Other investments include the soon-to-be open Artesian Hotel and the Chickasaw Cultural Center, both located in near-by Sulphur. Since opening in 2010, more than 75,000 people have visited the Chickasaw Cultural Center.
The Chickasaw Nation also has plans for a visitor center, a retail center, pocket park and casino in Sulphur.
More than 3 million people visit Murray County each year. Other attractions in the area include Chickasaw Nation Recreation Area, Arbuckle Wilderness and Cross Bar Ranch, an all terrain vehicle trail park.