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Bring it to Tulsa

Thanks to our fabulous members for supporting the Business Development Crew and helping spark a conversation about desired changes in Tulsa.

Inaugural Campaign: Trader Joe's
February 2013
Result: $7,000 in Trader Joe's goods sold at pop-up shop downtown

Second Campaign: Uber
December 2013
Result: Uber launched in Tulsa on March 27, 2014

The Bring it to Tulsa initiative, a creation of the Business Development Crew, periodically seeks to prove Tulsa's viability for select businesses that have no Tulsa locations but are deemed by our members as particularly needed. Events surrounding the initiative are aimed at demonstrating the support for the target company and providing a glimpse of doing business in Tulsa.

About the initiative

What? Bring It To Tulsa is a grassroots business-attraction initiative. The Business Development Crew aims to educate TYPros' members about barriers-to-entry in opening certain stores to Oklahoma and finding creative ways to break through those barriers and show national retailers what Tulsa has to offer. Each campaign will focus on a different business; if you have a suggestion for an upcoming Bring It To Tulsa campaign, email the crew Leader to pitch your idea.

How?  Using completely zany, audacious ideas like setting up an online store and pop-up pick-up point, we can highlights wants and needs in our community. For instance, our first Bring It To Tulsa highlighted both a desire for Trader Joe's to come to T-Town as well as the need for a full-service grocery store downtown and need to update Oklahoma's liquor laws to promote economic development.

When? These events will not be on a set schedule. We will organize and highlight 918-needs as possible. If you are interested in getting a certain business rolling down route-66 to T-Town, sign up for the crew newsletter to get meeting notifications.

Uber: December 2013 to March 2014

The concept behind Uber is simple: Riders who sign up online can select a pickup time and destination from their smartphones, pay digitally and be picked up by a vetted professional in a vehicle that matches the luxury preference of the rider. Drivers can work on their own time as much or as little as they want.

To attract Uber, TYPros encouraged Tulsans to sign up for Uber either as drivers, who can work on their own time as much or as little as they want, or as riders. A special Bring it to Tulsa signup code was advertised in handouts and posters at local restaurants and bars, in social media and through the work of TYPros’ volunteers.

Tulsans responded by lining up behind Uber and flooding the company with registrations, as General Manager of Uber Oklahoma Pooneet Kant explained: “Tulsa's Young Professionals made history with their Bring Uber to Tulsa Campaign, and the overwhelming support from residents made it happen. Ridesharing is spreading across the country and starting today, we’re connecting Tulsans with rides and local drivers with economic opportunities. Tulsa spoke, and we listened!” 

Ridesharing has the potential to revolutionize transportation in Tulsa. “Uber is a game-changer for transportation in this city,” said Isaac Rocha, 2014 chair of Tulsa’s Young Professionals. “With no public investment, Tulsa has taken one more step toward becoming a place where anyone can live without the expense of regularly using a car. That makes us all the more attractive to millennials, who increasingly choose cities with ample mass transportation.”

For Uber's Tulsa website, click here.

For more information about Uber, including frequently asked questions, see this fact sheet.

Click here to see the company's blog about its expansion to Tulsa.

Trader Joe's: February 2013

Due to overwhelming support from a membership survey, Trader Joe's was chosen for the first Bring It To Tulsa business. An online shop was created where Tulsans purchased nearly $7,000 of TJ's merchandise. Jackie Cooper Imports donated a vehicle for our volunteers to drive to Kansas and pick up all of the goodies; The items were set up at GitWit Creative in the Brady District for a temporary pop-up shop where customers picked up their orders and sampled a variety of Joe's signature items.

The event highlighted the need for a downtown grocery store as well as a need for modernized liquor laws in Oklahoma. The event successful sparked a conversation; the event was covered in-depth through all Tulsa media and attracted more than a million visitors to the TYPros website, online shop and Facebook sites.

Defined need: A full-service downtown grocery store

Grocers like to open in areas of high residential density - whether that's through houses, lofts or apartments. Although downtown Tulsa has a growing residential population, it is still dominated by businesses and restaurants. However, the need for a grocery store is significant due to a lack of grocers in a wide area surrounding downtown, especially to the north.

During the pick-up pop-up shop, we requested shopper's zip codes so that we could track just how far people would drive for the right grocery store. Below is a map of our results. There are also outlying responders, but the general cluster reaches as far east as Claremore, as far north as Collinsville, as far west as Sand Springs and as far south as Bixby.

Defined need: Updated liquor laws

The Trader Joe's campaign was also intended to spark a conversation about updated liquor laws. Trader Joe's is a solid example of why. This national retailer has an $8.5 billion annual revenue stream that depends wine, beer and liquor sales. It's a solid business model, but few companies with such a model can afford to change just to break into Oklahoma market. Oklahoma must become friendlier to them. This would help our existing grocery stores, which could benefit from an additional revenue stream.

Participants of the inaugural Bring it to Tulsa campaign learned from Government Relations Crew leaders about the importance of modernizing liquor laws to stop inhibiting economic development. Shoppers had an opportunity to learn the basics of lobbying government for change and could even sign a letter to their legislators asking for consideration to modernize liquor laws. More than 100 attendees signed letters.

If you're interested in supporting this opportunity to update Oklahoma's outdated liquor laws, download this sample letter, add your information and pop in the mail. Legislators prefer personal mail! If you aren't sure who your legislator is, first click here and input your address to determine your house and senate district numbers, and then click here to find the senators and representatives for each district.