As Ed Townsend looked across the 1,200 feet of highway frontage along Highway 82, just north of the Langley city limits, his eyes glistened with excitement. 

He not only described how the 4,300-square-foot, $1 million bank facility would look, but what he envisions will join it as next door neighbors in the next few years.

"I think the Langley area has tremendous potential for growth," Townsend said. "It reminds me of Grove 25 years ago."

Townsend said while the land next to the bank will be used for cattle in the coming months, he eventually hopes other retail businesses will find a way to expand in Langley.

Townsend was joined in the formal groundbreaking ceremonies on what will eventually be known as South Grand Lake Bank of Grove on Tuesday, Sept. 26, by his wife, Barbara, several members of the Bank of Grove team, members of the Langley city council, and other interested stakeholders. 

Construction began in earnest prior to the ceremony, with workers already completing ground work and the cement footprint of the facility.

Townsend said the structure will be similar in design and nature to the facility in Grove - with a brick exterior. It will also have one, distinct characteristic.

 "At least one drive thru lane and the ATM lane will be 13-feet wide," Townsend said, joking that the biggest farm truck will be able to fit through the lane with ease.

Townsend said the decision to move into the Langley area comes, after the bank officials determined the northern portion of the lake - where Grove sits - is saturated.

He said rather than simply being a branch, he considers the South Grand Lake Bank of Grove a full-service bank and the facility a partner to the current location on 18th Street in Grove.

"I've always wanted to be more active in the South Grand Lake market," Townsend said. "My staff has already built relationships down here and we see a great potential for growth. 

"Langley is the gateway from Tulsa to the Grand Lake region. This is a great opportunity for us."

Townsend said the staff, which initially include seven members, will be led by Ray Claggett and and Gary Kirby. Eventually, Townsend expects the staff total to rise to 15 to 20.

"We will be one bank with two full service facilities that are equal partners," Townsend. "We want to enhance the competitive climate here."

Townsend said he tapped Claggett to lead the South Grand Lake project, because of his past and current involvement with the South Grand Lake area.

"My philosophy is really simple," Townsend said. "Get the best people possible, treat them with respect and do everything by regulations and policy, and never compromise integrity.

"We also never forget we are in the business to serve our customers - and never do anything that is not in our customers best interest."

What's next

For now, Claggett - who serves as the chief lending officer for Bank of Grove - plans to oversee the construction of the project. He also plans to lease the property - once the paperwork is complete - to run baby calves.

Claggett said he, along with Heather and Brad Beisly, will operate jointly under the Ranch of 82 LLC, and have at least a dozen stock cattle on the land.

Herb Manning, with Homes by Herb, serves as the general contractor. Claggett anticipates more than a dozen subcontractors - from around the Grand Lake region - will work on the project in the coming months.

The bank is expected to be completed - and fully operational - by early 2018.

Blessing the project

During the groundbreaking gathering, Pastor Mark Deckard, with Church on the Lake, provided a brief prayer over the work.

Barbara Townsend said it was important to bless the project.

"This isn't just for us [the family], but also for the community," Barbara Townsend said. "We are not here to prosper ourselves. We're here to be a blessing to the community - that's our goal."

Reaching customers

One customer, Art Box, owner of Pine Lodge on south Grand Lake, said the bank's new location will be a perfect fit for his business.

"I've been banking in Grove and this will be a lot closer to me," Box said. "I think with all of the agricultural business that goes on down here, it's good the bank will be here."

Potential for growth

For Dee Anne Grapevine, the mayor of Langley, the new bank location means one thing: growth for the town.

"Langley has grown a lot in the last two years," Grapevine said. "This just adds to the growth, and will hopefully bring more people to town. We hope it eventually brings more business out this way."

Grapevine said the bank's location on Highway 82, across from the St. Francis Medical Clinic, is at the edge of the town's current city limits.

She expects the back portion of the land, which is not in Langley, will eventually be annexed into the city limits.

"Hopefully this will be an encouragement for others to bring business to our town," Grapevine said.