Claremore Main Street has undergone numerous positive changes over the past several years. Under the most recent director’s tenure, we saw the launch of Food Truck Thursday. Several of the downtown building renovations were recognized at the statewide Oklahoma Main Street Awards, including Main Street Tavern and North Block Common. The district was named to the National Register of Historic Places. And of course, it’s impossible to walk down Will Rogers Blvd. without a jaunt in your step, thanks to the Music on Main initiative.
The future of Claremore’s downtown district is again looking bright, as a new director was named recently.
Jacob Garrison is originally from Pittsburg, Kansas. His talent for baseball took him through college, first at Ft. Scott Community College, then on to Missouri Southern in Joplin. (This is important later. Bear with me.) He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing before returning to Pittsburg and taking a position with Pitsco Education. He traveled all over the country as the Conventions & Marketing Director, and he fell in love with the field of education.
Jacob lived in Kansas City and St. Louis before moving to Oklahoma in 2010. He worked for TCC, earning his master’s along the way. Five years ago, he began a career with Tulsa Tech, working with Union High School students, advising them on the path to career tech. It’s been a great fit for him, blending his passion for marketing and education.
Two years ago, Jacob, his wife, Lauren, and their son, Jace, made the move to Claremore. They were ready for more of the small-town life that Jacob grew up with in Pittsburg. They’ve made their haven on a 10-acre spread west of town, complete with horses, 4-wheelers, and a baseball practice field. Lauren, a nurse, was able to transfer to Hillcrest Claremore. Jace is settled in a local private school, ready to embark on the adventures of first grade.
Last year, Jacob and Jace made their annual boys trip to Kansas City to catch some Royals action. While they were gone, Lauren FaceTimed Jacob, saying, “Guess where I am?” He certainly wasn’t thinking that she was calling from a rambling historic home in Claremore’s Old Town district, but she was. She put an offer on the property, and they closed a month later on what is now known as the Mayberry Mansion. During that month, Jacob and Lauren hit up every estate sale they could find, and purchased plenty at our local antique stores. The Mayberry has become their own private museum, in a way. It’s filled with bits of the past, and they even have an item donated by Mayberry family members. It’s available to rent for events, from weddings to baby showers. You can even rent it for a weekend and spend the night. The home is a treasure trove of antiques and photographs of Claremore. Lauren is a talented photographer, and this project has allowed her to take plenty of photos around town to adorn the walls of the Mayberry.
The Garrisons share an interest in history, and over the past two years, have been active with community events focused on such. They can often be spotted at the Claremore MOH, or wandering the downtown district. They enjoy Dickens on the Boulevard and Food Truck Thursday.
All of this has set up perfectly for Jacob’s new position as executive director of Claremore Main Street. Officially beginning July 1, he’s jumping in with both feet and attending the Oklahoma Main Street Directors conference before the end of June.
Remember that I mentioned Jacob attended college in small towns? He loves small-town life, and sports. He and Jace often attend Hillcat sporting events. And this is where that comes in to play with his new job. Jacob is passionate about bridging the gap between the community up on “The Hill” and the rest of town. He’s ready for Hillcat Homecoming to be not just a university event, but a Claremore event. He’s already setting plans in motion on how to help make that happen.
Jacob said, “There are a lot of younger people in town who are becoming involved. They’re excited about Claremore. I’m ready to get some boots on the ground and get to know people. It’s all about working smarter, not harder.”
Another Claremore feature that drew Jacob was Route 66. He traveled it several years ago, and is ready to help Claremore capitalize on it. Jacob said, “There is a nationwide Route 66 revitalization happening. Between Will Rogers, and the Blue Whale, and the Totem Pole Park, Claremore has so much going for it already.” The downside is, so many folks in neighboring communities have never been to Claremore, or haven’t been but once or twice. Jacob is eager to start some grassroots growth, spreading the message to nearby towns first.
“There is no better time for me to start this position,” said Jacob. “With my background and the timing of everything, it’s a great time to capitalize on what Claremore has to offer. That’s what excites me the most.”
Claremore Main Street is located at 419 W. Will Rogers Blvd. If you see Jacob and his family out and about (and you will), be sure to welcome them!
Keep it local, Claremore.