Tollie Prall, Owner and Matriarch
Tollie Prall said in a 2011 Tulsa World article, when you’re married to a hall of fame skeet shooter and the mother of two boys, chances are you’re not going to choose a dress shop or hair salon as your family business. Not even close; though these days, you’re almost as likely to see women cruising the aisles of the Pralls’ store as you are men. That wasn’t the case back in 1976 when Tollie and her husband, Jim, purchased Sports World from a friend. The explosion in the popularity of firearms among women likely came as no surprise to Tollie, who’s been on the cutting edge of a lot of trends over the last 50 years.
While 60 percent of America’s mother’s of small children elected to stay out of the workforce in the ’70s, Tollie was bringing her two boys, Kevin and David, to work in the shop, teaching them the value of honest work and customer service. The boys helped to answer phones, keep the aisles tidy, and provide a little light entertainment as they tip-toed on footstools to see the customers on the other side of the counter.
“Oh, people used to love seeing the boys,” Tollie told the Tulsa World in August 2011.
Tollie was a hunting and shooting expert long before it was “cool” for women to take an interest in firearms. As the store outgrew multiple locations, she sold firearms to generations of loyal customers – many of whom bought their very first gun based on her expertise. In addition to working the counter and answering customer questions, Tollie handles the growingly-complex paperwork required to own and carry firearms.
Since 1976, thanks to the Prall family’s shared expertise and ability to read the market, the store is more than 10 times its original size, and showing no sign of letting up.