OKG: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your year compared to normal years?
Shaun Murray: I grew up in NE OKC and have lived in OKC for most all of my life. I own a consulting business and I'm married to Kris Balaban who owns A Date with Iris floral studio at 4201 N Western. We have been lucky to live in Putnam Heights for the past 9+ years. No year that came before 2020 compares with it!
OKG: Where did the idea to start a pumpkin patch, and then a holiday market, come from?
Shaun Murray: We wanted to find a way to bring the house and property back to life and to provide an outdoor event for the neighborhood and city, particularly to have a fun retail experience that provided for social distancing in these weird times. We purchased 4027 N Classen in October 2019 with plans to rehabilitate it for use as my office for my consulting business. 2020 brought the double whammy of the crash of the local energy industry and Covid, both of which played against our idea of investing in office space. 4027 is a special property being built as a residence in 1910 and later converted to commercial use in the 1960's, when most of the grand houses on Classen Blvd were torn down. It's been a landmark on this corner for 110 years! We were searching for a use that would make 4027 come to life and bring neighborhood people together and help people with their front porches and gardens. So, why not a pumpkin patch and outdoor plants? We had such a great reception from so many people, a lot of whom asked us if we were going to do Christmas trees. So we thought, why not do a holiday market?
OKG: What have you been doing to maintain composure and to balance your personal life?
Shaun Murray: Wait, am I supposed to maintain composure and balance?
OKG: What has 2020 taught you about yourself?
Shaun Murray: I learned that the future is a lot less predictable than I thought it was.
OKG: Who have you been leaning on for support this year?
Shaun Murray: My wife Kris, and my manager Jennifer. My dogs Woody, Gravy and Brick. My wonderful neighbors in Putnam Heights, you know who you are.
OKG: How do you stay motivated?
Shaun Murray: Staying motivated has been a struggle. Covid has turned the world upside down. A lot of what I thought I knew about the world has been challenged by current events. We have been lucky to be safe but there is so much pain and uncertainty and ugliness out there that challenges my faith and causes me to question the why and what about everything. But in the end we have to eat so you get up and go to work, right? My family and friends need me to keep at it so I try.
OKG: What has been the best thing about your 2020?
Shaun Murray: The best thing about 2020 is that it is now last year.
OKG: Goals for 2021?
Shaun Murray: Surviving 2021 is at the top of the list.
OKG: First thing you want to do when it’s safe to finally do it?
Shaun Murray: Get on an airplane and fly someplace cool.
OKG: What's next for Brick's Garden Exchange?
Shaun Murray: We are planning a springtime plant and porch sale. Stay tuned!