When Claremore Main Street Executive Director Jessica Jackson speaks to locals about the number of developments underway, she is met with the buzz of excitement and curiosity.
“The downtown district is the heart and soul of Claremore. It’s a place that other communities are hard-pressed to find in their own backyard,” said Jackson. “Within the deep history found in these buildings and places is a bright future.”
It doesn’t take long to recall the many strides the downtown district has made in the last year and the Claremore Main Street board of Directors says that there is no sign in sight of the momentum slowing down.
“2015 has been a defining year for our district,” said Brandon Irby, Main Street Board Member and Chair of the Economic Restructuring Committee. “Partnerships with the City of Claremore coupled with private investments into the district have resulted in exciting expansions and developments that are well underway. This and a collaborative spirit have brought many new exciting features to downtown.”
That collaborative spirit led to a successful public-private partnership. Claremore City Council approved an agreement between the City of Claremore and Main Street Tavern, LLC at the June 15, 2015 council meeting. The lease agreement with option to purchase the former Senior Citizens Building comes as the result of focused effort by the Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority to recruit a unique dining experience to the downtown district.
A few weeks following the announcement, local media company and cultural movement “More Claremore” began to make plans to purchase the blighted building across the street from the former Senior Citizens Building. This week the building is open for business.
“Almost two years ago, my brother and I decided that we loved Claremore. This wasn’t something new, but it was time to set out to let everyone know how wonderful our community is,” said Amy Gordon, co-founder of moreClaremore.com.
Gordon and her brother, Robert Melton, are fourth generation Claremore citizens with deep roots in the community. They began moreClaremore.com as an incubator business at the Innovation Center at Rogers State University and quickly outgrew their space.
“We began looking for a place that would meet the needs of our growing business, but our goal was to build a space that would physically tell the message we’ve been sharing. The new office celebrates Claremore,” Gordon said.
They quickly identified a blighted building one block north of the historic Will Rogers Boulevard in downtown Claremore. It was a diamond in the rough, but what they learned next is nothing short of a story-book ending.
“When we learned that this exact same building was the location that our great-grandfather began his first business we were speechless,” Gordon remembers. “Come to find out, our family has been on Missouri Street in Claremore since 1929. I am so excited to have this historic location come full circle and return to our family.”
George Melton started his first grocery store in Claremore in 1929. Today the building, known as the North Block Commons, is full of modern and quirky amenities. Exposed brick walls and restored tin ceilings tie the building’s origins into its new purpose. According to Gordon, the space is a place for others to join moreClaremore.com as they continue to push the message about Claremore forward. Some consider it office space, but they consider it a place for collaboration and shared working.
Their first tenant is a Washington D.C. transplant who grew excited about raising their family in Claremore following their discovery of moreClaremore.com and the growing community of young families who are active in the city. “The transformation of this building is story worth sharing,” comments, Jackson. “When I tell my Main Street colleagues across the state what is happening in Claremore, their ears perk up. This is an exciting new chapter in the continued development of Downtown Claremore.”
Interested citizens are welcomed to visit the newly renovated North Block Commons building located at 115 N. Missouri one block north of Will Rogers Boulevard in Downtown Claremore.
Claremore Main Street, Inc. is a local organization focused on the historic preservation and economic restructuring of the Downtown Claremore district. It is recognized by the Oklahoma State Department of Commerce and is responsible for championing the past decade of growth in the downtown district.