Let’s put it this way: I’ll tell you what Just Tulsa was and what Just Tulsa is now.
Who am I?
My name is Tyler. I actually grew up in Owasso, but before it became the chain restaurant and big box store capitol of the world that it is today, my mom used to take Jenna (some of you might remember her — she’s in videos from time to time) and me on the seemingly endless journey to Tulsa if ever she needed to do any “real” shopping.
(Remember when Eastland was a mall? This guy does!)
Despite the fact that Jenna and I should be utterly burned out on anything Tulsa — and I don’t think I could ever not feel like a hostage in a Hobby Lobby, Mardel, or Burlington Coat Factory — I still felt the magnetic pull of those giant, old Art Deco buildings in that eerily abandoned (at least after 5pm) little square mile they called “downtown”, when I was sixteen.
If you haven’t been around Tulsa long enough to remember when downtown was a literal ghost town, let me put it this way: downtown was literally a ghost town.
I can still remember all the concrete and fountains where Williams Green is now at 3rd and Boston. If it was after dark, this dilapidated “park” was where many homeless men and women got their rest at night. I never felt unsafe exploring around areas like that as a kid, but then again, I was 16. Need I explain more?
Okay, Tyler. So… back to the Just Tulsa thing…
Oh, yeah… Sorry.
Into my twenties, a fairly common thread of any conversation with friends and family would be about fun or neat things to do or explore in Tulsa. These weren’t things I had personally discovered, per se, but things that Tulsans that lived or romped in those particular parts of town had shown me. That’s how it made for interesting conversation, see?
On top of that, Liz (my first and current wife) had moved to Tulsa (from the farmlands of NW Illinois) when we were both 19 years old, so I got the chance to show someone who knew absolutely nothing about Tulsa everything I knew about it. I still can’t believe she stuck around after all that.
So here’s how Just Tulsa started. Finally.
So — in my thirties now — I still field questions from friends and family about fun things to do in Tulsa or good service companies to use or great places to eat. Not at all because I’m some kind of human information repository about Tulsa (those of you that know me personally realize that I’m not), but instead because I enjoy the hunt of finding these places and I love to share them with friends.
And, seriously: I still learn way more from you all about new places to eat or things to do in town.
In late 2015, I started drumming around some ideas on a Tulsa-themed website that I would build. After a rather awkward first couple of months, I had a couple of blog posts up on the website.
And here’s what Just Tulsa is now.
At some point, I had the “brilliant” realization that — as my web traffic stats and social media followings slowly grew — I could actually help to promote some of these businesses (and not even just local) and restaurants that I had come to love so much.
Getting the photography and videography bug in early-2016 led to the implementation of those media types in my content on JustTulsa.com and on the Just Tulsa Facebook page.
Many of you are familiar with the giveaways that I started doing on Facebook, too. It’s safe to say that these are, to this day, one of the most popular “topics of discussion” on the JustTulsa Facebook page. While I started off giving away $25 gift cards to random places that I, honestly, just simply didn’t care to shop at, the giveaway thing has grown by quite a bit. As I write this right now, I have given away $500 in donated gift cards, this week alone, to Tulsa area residents.
I have a blast doing that!
That’s pretty much where we’re at today.
Not much has changed, aside from picking up some advertisers and partners (which helps, immensely.) My wife and sister both still play a big part in helping with Just Tulsa, which is nice.
Most of all: the back and forward conversations that I have with you all on Facebook, Instagram, and email are my favorite way that Just Tulsa has changed, as the Just Tulsa audience has grown over the last year.
I can’t wait to see what Just Tulsa looks like in 2018 and the years beyond that and I look forward to hearing even more out of you all!