I received a call several years ago from a journalist I admired. CNN Money was doing profiles on U.S. entrepreneurs and their cities.
At the time, Tulsa was one of the few cities outlasting the Great Recession and our promising startup was one of a handful of tech companies based in Tulsa. The series was called, “Why I launched Here”. It featured entrepreneurs from both large and small cities in the U.S.
My friends and I were bullish on our city but only a few actually believed Tulsa was destined for an economic and cultural renaissance.
Looking back, you cannot recognize this place from 10 years ago. What once used to be the, “Oil Capital of the World”, has slowly and deliberately developed into a sophisticated city fueled by a new kind of energy.
The New York Times recently reported Tulsa was emerging as a “Hipster Hub”. Over the past year, we’ve got a few people talking.
No. 1 Tulsa, OK — 10 Best Cities For Young Entrepreneurs, Forbes
No. 1 Tulsa, OK — 10 Affordable Cities, Huffington Post
No. 5 Tulsa, OK — Most Affordable Big Cities in the U.S., Kiplinger
No. 14 Tulsa, OK — America’s 50 Best Cities, Bloomberg
No. 47 Tulsa, OK — 52 Places to Go in 2015, New York Times
So here we are, nearly 10 years later, and I’m still here. More importantly, I’m still helping to launch new ventures I believe in … right here in Tulsa.
Why, you ask? It’s quite simple:
Education: Tulsa has world-class public and private schools. We have OU Tulsa, OSU Tulsa, and one of the most innovative community colleges (TCC) in the country. Above all, we have The University of Tulsa which is giving the Ivy League a run for their money.
Neighborhoods: Beautiful, affordable historic houses near downtown and along the Arkansas River. Our community is funding a $300 million “Gathering Place” along Tulsa River Parks that will rival Central Park.
Culture: Gilcrease Museum, Philbrook Museum, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Circle Cinema, Arts Alliance Tulsa, Tulsa Garden Center, and Tulsa Art Deco.
Music: The Hop Jam, Sound Pony, Colony, Vanguard, Cain’s Ballroom, Brady Theatre, BOK Center, Public Radio Tulsa.
Community: Tulsa Farmer’s Market, Tulsa Tough, Route 66 Marathon, Tulsa Run, Food on the Move, Kitchen 66.
Shopping: Utica Square, Center 1, Dwelling Spaces, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Natural Grocer’s, Trader Joe’s, Reasor’s.
Coffee: Topeca, Hodges Bend, DoubleShot, Kolache, Cafe Cubana, Shades of Brown, CHOCS, Nordaggio’s.
Dining: Tallgrass, Lucky’s, Palace Cafe, Laffa, Ri Le, Mondo’s, Yokozuna, Tavern, Bull in the Alley, Stonehorse, Chimera, Trenchers, Boston Deli, and the soon-to-be Prairie Brewpub.
Food Trucks: Lone Wolf Banh Mi, Lola’s Gypsy Caravan, Lick Your Lips Mini-Donuts, Mr. Nice Guys, The Parish.
Craft Beer: Prairie Artisan Ales, Marshall, Dead Armadillo, Hanson Bros.
Libations: Valkyrie, Hodge’s Bend, Bramble, McNellie’s, Fassler Hall, Dust Bowl, Sound Pony.
The most awesome convenience stores on planet earth and a locally based privately held business doing $12.5 billion in annual sales: QuikTrip!
For you young turks looking to create a dynasty, get your butts to Tulsa and set up shop at 36ºNorth. This is the kind of place where you may just want to launch your next venture.