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Mountain Gateway Community Alliance

Mission Statement: The Mission of the Mountain Gateway Community Alliance is to encourage and facilitate community involvement through empowerment and education, promote a better quality of life through “living local”, encourage civic pride, encourage and facilitate historic knowledge and preservation, and to encourage growth in the arts for the tri-city region, including Poteau, Wister, Heavener and surrounding areas.


Our Goals

Our main focus is on creating a better community through projects that have a positive impact on community health, which include:

  • Encouraging healthy living and healthy lifestyles through the Poteau Farmer’s Market;
  • Promoting arts, music and culture through the Poteau Artist Cooperative;
  • Preserving and promoting our local history, through Historical Preservation, Promotion, and Education;
  • Encouraging growth through Beautification;
  • Bolstering small businesses through promotions, marketing, networking and “Live Local” programs;
  • Helping area non-profits achieve their missions through assistance and donation programs;
  • and collaboration with business and individual partners in order to better the quality of life throughout the region.


Poteau.Life Mountain Gateway Community Alliance

Business Structure

In 2010, Maryland passed a law that enabled the formation of benefit corporations. A benefit corporation is a type of for-profit corporate structure that is focused on having a positive impact on society, workers, the community and the environment. This paved the way for most of the rest of the states to follow.

Many traditional non-profits took advantage of this new type of business entity since it allowed more freedoms than a traditional non-profit but kept a similar structure.  Because of its success, the “benefit” corporate structure has been extended into other areas, including partnerships and llc’s.

The MGCA is in the process of being formed and designated as a “benefit llc”.  This type of LLC focuses on social responsibility, very similar to the work that non-profits do.   

This will also allow us to engage in programs that are considered “for profit”, such as expanding the Poteau Farmer’s Market and Poteau Artist Cooperative. With everything under one umbrella, that will allow the “for-profit” portions to support the community based subsidiaries. 

Essentially, it will allow us to generate sustainable income for longer periods of time, enabling us to provide bigger and better improvement projects to the community. 

Our Team

  • Eric & Trina Standridge, Founders
  • Sierra Juarez, Director of the Poteau Artist Cooperative
  • Kathleen Bishop, “Mountain Gateway Monthly” Manager
  • Jessica Gardener, Norma Qualls, Colline Shaw, Poteau Farmer’s Market Governing Committee


Although not part of the executive board, these supporters have been instrumental in the development of the Mountain Gateway Community Alliance. Without their help, guidance, and advise, the MGCA would still be stuck on the drawing board.

  • Randy Bridgman, Bridgman’s Furniture
  • Billy and Milynda Spearman, Sidewinder Signs
  • Dani Montoya, Yellow Cottage Studios
  • Terry Joe Wiles, Musician