Tulsa Man Turns Pink Slip Into A Palapa

Wednesday, August 19th 2009, 4:42 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Turning a pink slip into a palapa sounds odd, but that's pretty much what a Tulsa man did after he was laid off. For him, getting fired has lead to a really good idea.

Rick Wells knew he was doing a story about a thatched roof hut, so he dressed for the beach thinking there'd be sand, but it never stopped raining.

"It's dry, they don't leak," said Scott Fetgatter, of Big Pappas Palapas.

Scott Fetgatter owns Big Pappas Palapas. A palapa is a thatched roof shelter you see at tropical resorts. He puts them in your backyard.

"This has about 700,750 palm leaves and each one you can see the string. Each one is tied on to it," said Scott Fetgatter.

We're a long way from the tropics, so how do you get into palapas? Fetgatter said he and his wife vacationed in Mexico and saw them, liked them so much, when he came home he built one of his own. That was a couple of years ago.

"I got laid off in October," said Fetgatter.

Without a job, his wife said, "why not build palapas?" His showroom, so to speak, is in Bixby at Bryan Ketchum's RockSolid Materials. They'll build the palapas as big or as small as the customer prefers.

The roof is thatched palm branches. Fetgatter drives to Mexico and picks them up. They are easier to work with when they are green. They keep the water out and in the summer it's cooler.

"It's 15 degrees cooler underneath here," said Bryan Ketchum, RockSolid Materials.

They say having a palapa could actually be good for you.

"You know what the best health care plan is? Come sit under a palapa and relax," said Fetgatter.

There is more information available on Big Pappas Palapas web site.