Paint the town 2021 Wildflour Baking Co window

Paint the Town kicks off RSU Homecoming


Story by Claremore Progress News Editor, Chelsea Weeks

Twenty Rogers State University student organizations used cans of paint, brushes and tape to display their school spirit Friday.

Paint the Town — an event where RSU student organizations partner with downtown Claremore businesses to paint windows — kicks off this year’s homecoming week. RSU hosts Pittsburgh State on Jan. 30 at the Claremore Expo Center in its annual homecoming game.

“Paint the Town is a great way to bring the campus and the community together,” RSU Alumni Director Travis Peck said. “We want to see participation grow each year and expand to any and all businesses that would like to participate. Claremore is home to RSU, and we want the town to embrace our students, orgs, and teams as their own.”

Student organizations ranging from RSU Golf to the Student Nurses Association scattered throughout downtown to paint windows and show their school spirit.

These window paintings will be judged by Claremore Mayor Bill Flanagan, wife Lou Flanagan and RSU President Dr. Larry Rice and wife Peggy Rice.

The judges will determine the winners Monday Jan. 25.

First-place winner receives $500, second place receives $300 and third place receives $100. Peck said the money goes directly to the student organizations.

Peck said the RSU Alumni Association partnered with Claremore Main Street and Spectrum Paint.

“We want to say a special thank you to Spectrum Paint for sponsoring this event and their willingness to work with us and make it possible,” he said.

Peck said they want to tie RSU in with the community as often as possible.

Claremore Main Street Executive Director Jacob Garrison said this is the second year to have this event downtown.

“We were blown away in year one with how many student organizations wanted to participate,” he said.

When Garrison started at Claremore Main Street in 2019 he approached RSU with the idea of doing something downtown.

“In my interview process and first month on the job, I had really wanted to work on strengthening that relationship with RSU and getting more students downtown,” he said.

Sixteen student organizations participated last year and 20 participated this year.

“It’s definitely growing,” Garrison said.

Garrison said some businesses who didn’t participate last year made sure to participate this year.

“We definitely have more people this year and more clubs,” he said. “Hopefully that will just keep growing.”

SAAC and District on Main won last year and were awarded the trophy during halftime of the homecoming game.

“We don’t really know how we’re going to do it this year with COVID,” he said.

Garrison said he hopes this event encourages RSU students to get engaged with the businesses downtown.

Executive Director, Jacob Garrison and Board member, Lou Flannagan with new business owner

Claremore Main Street Looks Back

Story by The Claremore Daily Progress, Staff Reports

It was a year of growth and transition for Claremore Main Street. 
On request of Claremore City Council, Main Street Executive Director Jacob Garrison provided a look back at the successes of the program in the last year.

First, he noted, that the organization is funded largely through partnership drives. In the 2016-2017 year the drive brought in $22,495.00 and in the 2017-2018 year it brought in $20,379. The following year, 2018-2019 it raised $16,795.

In the 2019-2020 year, when Garrison began, it doubled to reach $30,168 and in 2020-2021 it hit $40,029.

“I was worried because many of our events serve as fundraisers, which were impacted by COVID,” said Garrison. “But this is an increase of about $10,000 that’s going to stay in our downtown, go to our businesses through grants through the organization.”

In the past year Garrison said they welcomed 6 to 10 new businesses to downtown.

“We’ve also had a façade grant expansion, previously we could give up to $2,000 to businesses who wanted to upgrade their façade and we’ve doubled that to $4,000,” he said, adding that additional, new micro-grants are in the works.

“We’ve worked with CIEDA on a building database to be able to know who owns the buildings, what they’re looking for in terms of tenants, what buildings might be coming available for purchase or rent,” Garrison said. “All of which is helpful to know at a glance for development purposes.”

He said the color-coded, detailed downtown map was another success this year.

“It was a seemingly small thing but we incorporated the map in several ways to help promote businesses downtown,” he said. “We also completed the map kiosk. This was something we worked really hard to get completed. There’s new landscaping, rock, benches, a large map kiosk that shows where businesses are. We took a corner with no aesthetic offering and we took it over.”

Another project saw the windows of Ann’s Cleaner’s wrapped with historic Claremore photos.

“Again, this was a relatively simple thing that added a lot of impact,” Garrison said. “The military banners were also a hit.”

Towards the end of the year Claremore Main Street announced the completion of a project that was more than a year in the making—Christmas lights lining each downtown building.

“Main Street’s purpose is to bring people downtown so we want to be very strategic about that,” Garrison said.

That said, Garrison said two new events were added to the programming this year: Paint the Town and Corporate Olympics.

Paint the Town partnered downtown merchants with RSU student organizations for a window decorating contest during RSU homecoming week, with paint provided by Spectrum.

“We named a winner during the halftime game,” said Garrison. “We wanted to bridge that RSU/Downtown gap and we’ve seen more involvement from them since. Also, Corporate Olympics started this year and will be every spring. We had nine different participants and will grow every year.”
In 2020, Claremore Main Street added a new employee to the team, rolled out new branding, and moved into a new office space.

Garrison also shared what they are looking to accomplish in 2021.

“We are in communication with Cherokee Nation about a mural downtown, along Main Street Tavern. I think that will be a great visual,” he said.

Garrison said partnerships with CIEDA and the city of Claremore will continue to be vital.

“We are working on a vision plan for the next year,” Garrison said. “We don’t want anything to be dusty, on the shelf, or out of date for 10 years. We want a vision plan that doesn’t just sit on a shelf but that guides the ways we can continue to show our value and benefit our main street and city.

Garrison said other goals for 2021 include: 
*Secure long-term funding for staffing
, continued focus on community partnerships, evolving their 4-point approach
 and increasing their web and app presence.

Executive Director Jacob Garrison and Executive Assistant Shiloh Johnson stand outside the new offices of Claremore Main Street. Chelsea Weeks / Progress photo

Claremore Main Street Opens New Office

Executive Director Jacob Garrison and Executive Assistant Shiloh Johnson stand outside the new offices of Claremore Main Street.  Chelsea Weeks / Progress photo

Executive Director Jacob Garrison and Executive Assistant Shiloh Johnson stand outside the new offices of Claremore Main Street.
Chelsea Weeks / Progress photo 

Story by The Claremore Daily Progress, Chelsea Weeks/ News Editor

Claremore Main Street’s downtown footprint grew in an effort to match its ambitions when the organization moved into its new offices Monday.

The office, located at 412 W. Will Rogers Blvd., is 1,100 square feet. Main Street occupied office space — about 100 square feet — in the Claremore Chamber of Commerce building.

“This space is going to be great for the next few stages of growth that our organization can have,” Executive Director Jacob Garrison said.

Garrison said the most important aspect of the new building is having a visual footprint downtown.

The process of looking for a new building began in November after the board hired Shiloh Johnson as Executive Assistant.

“At that point, growing to a second employee, we began looking at those long-term goals of where we would like this organization to go,” Garrison said. “This has always been a vision of mine to see our organization have our own location and have the need for it — have the need for staffing and space.”

Garrison said he knew the new office space would become available soon and by Dec. 1 they had started renovation.

“It’s going to consolidate so many things and simplify so many things that will make the sufficiency of our organization a lot better,” he said.

The building offers a storage room in back, kitchen area, two offices, a board room and a reception area.

Garrison said they went from an empty building to a functional office in one month.

“It was very humbling to see how many people wanted to pitch in,” he said. “The time frame and cost that it would take to do this would be much larger than what we would be able to to.”

Whether it was financial contributions or time and talent, Garrison said the contributions of many is what helped make this happen in a short amount of time.

“We’re in here and we’re excited,” he said.

Garrison said a few of the contributors include Tim Nichols with Capital Roofing, Gaylord Construction, Lyon Construction, CRV Demo and Roll Offs, Charlie Brown Electric, Spectrum Paint and Bob Hawkins.

“These people are so excited to help us and it makes us excited to go forward with what we’re doing,” he said.

With the new space, Garrison said he’s able to focus on the longterm goals of the organization.

“This has and will expedite the growth of our organization,” he said.

Garrison said there is not a vacancy problem downtown because people want to get in. Looking forward, Garrison said they’re not focusing on if they can fill the buildings but what types of businesses they’d like to see downtown.

Garrison said they will be working with Claremore Collective to create think tanks and see that what the citizens of Claremore want to see within their downtown and community.

Souper Sat 21 mugs

Souper Saturday 2021, January 9th!

What better way to celebrate the new year with a fun and cozy event in Historic Downtown Claremore! Enjoy the chill in the air with 2021 Souper Saturday!

Back for the 6th year, Souper Saturday is a soup tasting and shopping event in the heart of Claremore. Participating stores will be cooking up their favorite soup or stew recipes and serving them to event attendees from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on January 9th.

Tasting kits are required. They are limited and on sale for $15. Cups are on sale NOW at the Claremore Main Street offices. The kits include a specialty mug, menu, a tasting wrist band and an opportunity to taste over 12 delicious soups, stews and chilies.

Additionally, guests are encouraged to vote for their favorite soups. The business with the most votes will earn bragging rights on the street and a roving trophy to keep until next year. This year’s event is sponsored by the fabulous The Studio by Ethos Yoga!

Masks are required, social distancing when able encouraged. All soups will be individually portioned.



Back in the Day Antiques & Treasures

The Cozy Cottage

Crooked Roots

The District Baby

The District on Main

Dorothy’s Flowers

From Halos to Tiptoes

Lolipop: A Sweet Boutique

Oz Upon A Time

Rhapsody Boutique Saloon & Spa

She Brews Coffee House

Tap on the Tracks

Wildflour Baking Co.

Claremore Museum of History

Water at The Cranberry Merchant


Take any fun pictures at the event? Share them with the hashtags #SouperSat and #Souper21