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Keep It Local Blog

Stories, interviews, and local insights that we hope will inspire you to support the local shops, restaurants, and services that make Oklahoma unique.

Get to Know...Jack Surya


Get to know...Jack Surya of Roll & Rock Sushi Station

Roll & Rock Sushi Station is a fun, new sushi restaurant located in Northwest Oklahoma City. We asked owner, Jack Surya, to tell us a little bit about himself and what it's like to own and operate his business here in Oklahoma:

Name: Kang Jaka (Jack) Surya
Business: Roll & Rock Sushi Station
Title: Owner/Operator

How would you describe your business to someone who hasn't had the chance to visit yet?
We are a family-owned, casual dining restaurant serving affordable, quality Japanese cuisine.

Tell us your origin story. 
I was born in Indonesia and have been creating sushi for over 13 years. I've owned or worked at a few sushi restaurants in the Oklahoma area. If you’re familiar with Ichiban Sushi in Penn Square, Ninja Sushi in Del City, and Jiro Sushi on 23rd - I was the sushi chef there!

What do you love about operating a small business in Oklahoma?
The friendly, appreciative and supportive people!

What challenges or risks have you faced operating a local business?
Recent pandemic, weather, and competition from bigger restaurants.

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of starting their own business someday?
Be passionate about what you're doing and be ready for anything.

What are the most popular items that you sell?
Popular items are the Tiger roll, Jack roll, Dragon roll, Meridian Roll, Roll n Rock roll.

What’s your favorite thing about your job? 
Meeting new people and being able to fulfill my passion for cooking every day!

What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Getting through tough times (i.e. Covid,etc.) and when we experience technical issues in the restaurant.

Who do you admire in your line of work? Do you have any professional heroes?
My parents have always been my inspiration. They went through tough times of losing their businesses when I was little, but they were still able to raise me and my siblings, which paved the way for me to come to Oklahoma and open my business.

Do you have any favorite moments or milestones since opening your business?
When local celebrities and business owners visit the restaurant and show their support.

What motivates you to keep doing what you're doing?
My family.

In your opinion, why is it important for people to support locally-owned businesses?
Locally-owned businesses are owned and operated by your neighbors. They care about and are invested in the well-being of your community and its future. Local businesses are also more accountable to their local communities.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Explore new places, try out new local restaurants and businesses, play guitar, hang out with family.

Roll & Rock Sushi Station is located on the corner of NW 63rd Street and N Meridian Avenue in Oklahoma City. They serve fresh sushi every Monday through Saturday from 11am-8pm. Use your Keep It Local Card when you visit to receive free Gyoza with any order of $15 or more. 

Get To Know...Paige Mitchell


Get to know...Paige Mitchell of Recess OKC

Recess OKC opened in 2020 to provide a place for parents to work professionally while their children play and learn in the same building, allowing them the best of both worlds - a place to focus on their career and time with their kids. We asked Paige to tell us a little bit about herself and about what it's like to own & operate her small business:

Name: Paige Mitchell
Business: Recess OKC
Title: Owner / Founder

How would you describe Recess OKC to someone who hasn't had the chance to visit yet?
Recess is a co-working space with on-site childcare. It's the perfect place for parents to focus on work while their children play and learn. We offer private offices, shared workspace and Parent’s Day Out on Tuesdays & Thursdays.

How did you get your business started?
I’m a mom of two boys and an entrepreneur. The past few years have been very challenging working from home with my kids. I was working from home as a start-up coach - helping other moms start their own online businesses. At that time, I was also babysitting and providing after school care for parents in my neighborhood. I’ve been in childcare since I was 16 years old.

One day, my mom and I thought about how cool it would be if we could solve both my clients and my own problem - we all needed childcare and a place to work. Many of my families that I cared for would work at coffee shops or drive back to their home while I watched their kids. My family has been very supportive in my new business. We didn’t get any loans, grants or funding, just my family coming together to help me offer this service. I have to give a shout out to the community, too. The moment I shared my idea on Facebook, people began donating desks, chairs, toys and almost everything we needed to get started. I’m forever grateful for the support. 

What do you love about operating a small business in Oklahoma?
I have been inspired by small Oklahoma businesses since I was a kid. I used to walk around the Paseo Arts District, The Plaza, and Downtown OKC and dream of owning a small shop in this city someday. I’ve always known I’d be a small business owner here in Oklahoma. I love it because of the community. Oklahoma is just enough city and just enough country for me. You get the best of both worlds here! The people make it great! I wouldn’t want to live and run a business anywhere else! 

Recess OKC

What challenges or risks have you faced operating a local business?
We opened in November 2020, right in the heat of Covid, which was pretty risky. Business was very slow for us during that time, but we are growing everyday and I’m grateful that I jumped out there when I did to offer this service because people needed it. 

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of starting their own business someday?
Start where you are! Stop looking at what you don’t have and use what you do have. When we first opened, we didn’t have anything. We took it one office at a time, one chair, one plant, one toy and today we are almost fully furnished. Don’t be afraid to start small...many great things have small beginnings! 

What are the most popular services that you offer at Recess?
Our Work + Play passes are a favorite! It gives guests the opportunity to experience Recess without a full time membership. This pass is available as a pay-as-you-go service. 

Recess 2

What’s your favorite thing about your job? 
My favorite thing about my job is hearing the life changing feedback from my clients. When one of our moms tells me that she’s gotten all caught up on her work without being stressed about childcare, I know I’m doing the right work. We are doing purposeful work! I have a blast in the Play & Learn program too! We literally play all day - crafts, stories, dancing and fun. It’s amazing to teach the children as they play and watch how they grow here with us. 

What’s the hardest thing about your job?
The hardest thing about my job is team building. I’m struggling to find childcare teachers and assistance. It would make my job much easier with a consistent team.

Who do you admire in your line of work? 
I admire many other small business owners here in Oklahoma that I have met. I reached out to a few of them before I opened and they were all so supportive of my mission. One of them owns a childcare business and came over to my apartment to help me brainstorm one day - it meant the world to me. Our local small business owners are my heroes for sure!

Do you have any favorite moments or milestones since opening your business?
We were on the front page of the Oklahoman newspaper in April...that was really special to me!

Recess OKC

What is something that people might be surprised to learn about your business?
People are surprised at just how flexible I am with our services. I have a client that comes in once a week, some twice a week and some fulltime Monday-Friday. We keep it flexible around here to give parents options!

What motivates you to keep doing what you're doing?
I’m motivated by my boys - they are always with me at Recess, learning and growing too. I know they are watching me, and if I keep going, it will teach them to follow their dreams too. This business has given me the freedom to be more present with them and that’s what entrepreneurship is about to me - the freedom to use your time the way you desire. I’m also motivated by helping others feel this feeling of freedom, too. I know when parents drop off their kids to us, they feel safe and confident in our services. For 100% of our clients, Recess is the first childcare provider they have trusted their child with. It feels good to be that great and provide this service - it motivates me! 

In your opinion, why is it important for people to support locally-owned businesses?
It is important because when you support a small business you are literally helping support a family that gives their all to service and build community.

Recess OKC

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be many things - a teacher, a pastor, and a business owner.

What was your first job?
My first job was working at summer camps at my parents church. I’ve always worked with children between church, daycares and summer camps.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to cook for my family! I cook every day and love it.

Is there anything that you'd like people to know about you or Recess that we haven't covered yet?
We are family owned and operated. I couldn’t offer our services without the help of my mom!

Recess OKC

Recess OKC is located at 9 NE 9th St. in Oklahoma City,'s Automobile Alley. They offer amenities like their five private offices that are available for rent, a common space for working, a kitchen, a conference room and a nursery suitable for children six weeks old up to five years old. Use your Keep It Local Card at Recess OKC to receive $5 off a work pass or $20 off any membership at sign up.

Get To Know...Jake Beeson


Get to know...Jake beeson

You've probably admired Jake Beeson's artwork on the walls of local businesses like Heirloom Rustic Ales (Tulsa), Empire Slice House (OKC & Tulsa), Vanessa House Beer Co. (OKC) and Supreme Auto (Tulsa). He has also been a staple at Mural Festivals across the state of Oklahoma including Habit Mural Festival (Tulsa), Plaza Walls Mural Expo (OKC), Rollin' Deep Mural Festival (Edmond) and Mural Fest 66 (Miami,OK) just to name a few. We've been big fans of Jake's work for a long time, so we were excited for the opportunity to chat with the Tulsa-based artist/muralist who also happens to be the local artist featured on the new 2022 Keep it Local Card.

What’s your back story and what led you to pursue art?
I have enjoyed drawing and looking at art since I can remember. I went to college to play basketball with no real thoughts of education or a career in mind. I ended up having some health problems and had to call that quits. I figured I was already in school and had taken a few drawing classes so I started down the path of a degree in Two Dimensional Studio.

How long have you been creating art?
Like I mentioned previously, I have been creating since I can remember. I graduated college in 2004 and have been pursuing different avenues of a life in art ever since then. I've had a few other jobs over the years, but mainly art. I have been a full time artist for at least the last 10 years.

How would you describe your artistic style?
This is always a tough one for me, and honestly, I have yet to settle on what I would feel is an accurate description.

Supreme Auto - Tulsa, OK

What inspires you when you’re creating art?
The things I see in life and stories that I hear. Seeing other artists push the envelope makes me want to try and make my work better all the time.

Who are some artists whose styles you really admire?/Is there any specific artist who has particularly influenced you?
This list is extremely long and as soon as I answer this I will think of someone who I am missing. Most of my favorite artists I am lucky enough to be friends with. I am a huge fan of Tony Thunder’s artwork. He creates things that I wish I could pull off. I work with Aaron Whisner and Justin Baney with Clean Hands a ton, and they are always pushing me to try new things. My good friend Tone at No Parking Studios is cranking out mind blowing work at a rate that I can’t wrap my head around. As far as artists who have influenced my work who I don’t know, first I would have to say Jack Kirby. Seeing his work as a kid is one of the things that inspired me to draw even if I was unaware of it. His line work is the level that I still aim for. It’s probably obvious, but Roy Lichtenstein also heavily influenced my work. When I first saw his work I knew that is the type of thing I wanted to create. 

What would you consider to be some of the highlights of your art career?
I have had the opportunity to do some really cool things through art, picking one, or even a handful doesn’t seem possible. The highlight for me is the people I have met. I have made life long friends because of art.

A few years back you painted a wall in Atlanta for rapper, actor & activist - Killer Mike. How did that opportunity come about? 
I met Mike in 2014 when he came through Tulsa for a show. He had nice things to say about my artwork and mentioned he would like to do some work together, including a mural on one of his buildings. We stayed in touch and I did some smaller work for him and his wife Shay over the years. Eventually we worked out the details on painting the shop. Mike is an amazing individual and I am glad our paths crossed.

The Swag Shop - ATL, GA

What do you love about the current art scene in Oklahoma?
I love so much about what is going on in the Oklahoma art scene these days. We used to have to beg people to let us paint walls around here, now you can hardly throw a rock without hitting a mural. Public art inspires me the most. There was very little of that to be found until somewhat recently. 

Where can people find your art?
Mainly outside.

Do you have any current/upcoming projects you can tell us about?
I have quite a few mural projects lined up, but I haven’t been painting as many canvases in the last year. I am really hoping to get some inspiration and desire to knock out a bunch of those over this next year.

The Motherland - Tulsa, OK 

What advice would you give to someone who’s aspiring to make a living as an artist?
Dive in and start creating. A ton of people say it’s not possible, but there are people doing it every day. 

How can people support you and where can they follow you?
I try to keep my instagram updated with what I am currently working on. I am a bit of a dinosaur and not the greatest at social media though.

What do you like to do when you’re not creating art?
I have an awesome wife and 3 awesome kids and I spend most of my time with them. We all ride and race our bicycles, so I spend as much time as I can on a bicycle.

66 Mural Fest - Miami, OKAll photos: and Instagram: @jakebsn

Buy a 2022 Keep It Local Card - still only $15!

Get to Know...Nina Madsen Puckett of Jersey Girl Bath Co.


Jersey Girl Bath Co.

Jersey Girl Bath Co. was launched in 2019 after Nina Madsen Puckett accidentally ordered 55 pounds of Himalayan Salt for a small project she was working on for her massage therapy clients. We asked Nina to tell us a little bit about herself and about what it's like to own & operate a small business:

Name: Nina Madsen Puckett
Business: Jersey Girl Bath Co. 
Title: Owner + Maker

How would you describe Jersey Girl Bath Co. to someone who hasn't had the chance to try your products yet?
Jersey Girl Bath Co. offers Handmade, Natural and Organic Salt Scrubs + Bath Soaks with a Jersey Flair. Our best selling products are our Himalayan Salt Scrubs with Dead Sea Salt, our first products we started out with. We are based in Tulsa, OK and sell on our website online ( We also sell gift boxes.

How did your business get started?
Jersey Girl Bath Co. started out of an accidental order of 55lbs. of Himalayan Salt. I thought I was ordering 5.5 lbs and ended up with, instead, 55lbs. So, with all of that extra salt and a mentorship my old NYC roommate (owner and maker for The Soapranos based in Manila, Philippines), Jersey Girl Bath Co. was born. I started in 2019 with my first line of Himalayan Salt Scrubs with Dead Sea Salt, and during the pandemic formulated the Clay Collection and Soaking Salts. 

What do you love about operating a small business in Tulsa, OK?
I love the vibrance of the city and it's people. Especially their willingness to try new products, even if they have a "Jersey Flair."  I love everything about Tulsa, OK and feel it is a perfect place to grow a small business because of the enthusiasm of Tulsan's to try new things. I will always hold a piece of NJ in my heart, as I grew up in Sussex County, N.J. and wanted to bring some of my experiences and passions from living there and in Brooklyn, NY to the city that I love and have called home for the past 12 years - Tulsa.

Jersey Girl Bath Co.

What challenges or risks have you faced operating a local business?
The challenges I face operating a local business include educating the public on the benefits of self care, but with social media and the enthusiasm of Tulsans to learn, it has been a challenge, but one that can be overcome.

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of starting their own business someday?
To always reach for your dreams.  People always say to keep things in perspective, and "be realistic." I like to say, "We sent someone to the moon.  So if we could send someone to the moon, with keeping things in that perspective," your small business can thrive with determination, perseverance and dedication."

What are the most popular items that you sell? What are your favorite items?
The Himalayan Salt Scrubs with Dead Sea Salt (On the Boardwalk and Wildwood Waves are our best sellers), the Stillness and Submerge Soaking Salts and Dead Sea Salt Clay Scrubs, and the Down the Shore Sea Salt Peppermint Foot Scrub.

What’s your favorite thing about your job? 
Participating in markets, meeting new maker friends and locals, and making scrubs. I have an anxiety disorder, and making scrubs has been a part of my therapy and healing process.

Jersey Girl Bath Co.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?
The spring and summer markets, as I have found, are very hard on my products. So keeping them in a cool, dry place in the summer and not participating in markets in the summertime is something I realized I had to do so that the products' expiration date of 6 months is not less than that. Also, educating the public on the benefits of a salt scrub and that includes exfoliation to help slough off dead skin cells in addition to stimulating blood and lymphatic system for overall health, self care and wellness.

Who do you admire in your line of work? Do you have any professional heroes?
Mary Pilares, my mentor, and owner of The Soapranos in Manila, Philippines. She and I are actually collaborating on a new line of facial scrubs set to be revealed late this summer. 

Do you have any favorite moments or milestones since opening your business?
I recently was accepted to online wholesale marketplace and was so excited to have my first wholesale orders this year, and my having my products in Queen City Oils and Vinegars in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Jersey Girl Bath Co.

What is something that people might be surprised to learn about your business?
That I started the business out of a mistake of a ridiculous amount of Pink Himalayan Salt. 

What motivates you to keep doing what you're doing?
I absolutely love making scrubs, and love helping people with self care. I am also a dancer, somatic movement therapist and owner of Madsen Massage Therapy, so my life long goal is to help people with self care and achieve relaxation and rest. I also care a great deal about mental health, and recently started a 501(c)3 mental health nonprofit called Erase the Stigma Through Dance, and my mission with that is to help others not feel so alone, and to change perceptions on mental illness, as I suffered from schizoaffective disorder for many years. Making scrubs, because I am facilitating the use of both of my hands, both sides of my brain are working, as my psychiatrist told me, and that, along with dancing helps with my condition. It is all very healing for me, and I am deeply passionate about other's well-being.

In your opinion, why is it important for people to support locally-owned businesses?
When people support other local business within their community that they live, the local community thrives, and thus people's lives are, in turn, better and they can thrive financially, which will allow for less stress, and more time to do the things that they are also passionate about in addition to work, whether that is spending more time with their family, volunteering or simply living a fulfilled life in whatever way they imagine.

Jersey Girl Bath Co.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A professional modern dancer. I'm happy to say, I reached my goal and was a professional modern dancer in NYC, and still dance and choreograph and Co-Direct for Oklahoma Movement, a local Tulsa-based dance company focused on outreach, education and performance to empower the community through movement for well being.

What was your first job?
I was a roller skating waitress at a place called Sonny's Drive Inn, in Augusta, NJ for 3 years in high school growing up in NJ. It was fun, and yes, I fell a ton, but dancing at least helped me with my balance, but those trays were heavy!

What do you like to do in your free time?
Dance, spend time with my rescue dogs, hang out with my husband Craig, spend time with friends, volunteer, and do whatever I can as a mental health advocate. I sincerely enjoy the work I do and the things I'm involved in, so typically if I have time off and am not hanging out with my husband or friends, you can find me working on any one of my businesses or non profit.

Jersey Girl Bath Co.

Jersey Girl Bath Co. is on online business based in Tulsa, OK. Use code: KEEPITLOCALOK when you shop at to receive 15% off your purchase.

How Shopping Local Helps the Economy


(Article submitted by: Travis Voice & Data)

Shopping local in America is becoming more and more popular each year. Over 55% of young people state they are continuing to buy local. Shopping local is easier than ever here in Oklahoma. New efforts like the Plaza District, the farmers market, and the Keep It Local campaign help push Oklahomans to keep their money local. The US Small Business Administration reported in 2016 that 52.4% of Oklahoma's private workforce is employed by small, locally owned businesses. With over half of Oklahoma’s workforce being employed by local businesses, it is important to be sure your money stays local. Here are some reasons on how your dollar stretches farther in the local economy when you shop local:

When you buy local, 68% of your money stays in the local economy. This is a huge turn over rate compared to the 43% that stays local when you shop at a corporate chain. Amy Hartzler, director of communications for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, states “There is a direct correlation between supporting local, independent businesses and having your dollar recirculate to create a multiplier effect.”

Local businesses are far more likely utilize local services like marketing agencies, accountants, and printing companies than national chains, which are next to nothing. Not only that, but they also promote locally sourced products by buying their supplies and products locally which helps diversity the market with locally made products.

Shopping Local Diversifies the Market

Most large chains are required to carry specific brands that are often times other national brands. Local stores tend to seek out unique brands or services that help keep them unique and support the local economy. They are able to tailor their products to meet customer requests by having a shorter turn around time for special orders. A single customer is much more valuable to a small business than a local chain. A local company is small enough that their ordering and billing systems allow them to cater to specific requests.

A local liquor store, for example, is much more nimble as they are able to put in special orders from customer requests for drinks from other small, independent breweries. Large corporation’s inventory mainly makes up other national brands which keeps completion low. Local businesses on the other hand keep most of their inventory local which is often suited toward the local needs and preference. This allows the local community to have more of a voice for what they are looking for in products.

Your Dollar Stretches Father in the Local Economy

Your money is more likely to stay in the local economy when you use local businesses. Let’s say you go to your favorite coffee shop weekly. Each dollar you spend at that local coffee shop is somehow cycled back into the economy. They utilize local services, supplies, and employees. Your money is used to pay their employee’s salary, which will also eventually be used locally. It pays local taxes to fund schools, fire fighters, etc. They will buy their supplies most likely from other local businesses which will then also be used with other local businesses and so on and so forth.

How New Efforts Promotes Shopping Local

Several new efforts are being made in Oklahoma to incentivize consumers and businesses to Shop local. The Keep It Local Campaign created a network of local businesses that Oklahoman’s can buy from. The organization incentivizes consumers to buy local through discounts and rewards that are custom tailored to each business. This makes it more likely for a customer to shop local at one of their participating stores. Keep It Local partners with over 250 participating locations. As of this summer, Travis Voice & Data is joining the Keep It Local community to help launch their business to business (B2B) program. You can find out how to join as a business here or buy a card here.

As a local business, Travis Voice & Data has been dedicated to helping other local companies for 33 years. We know the importance of local businesses and how far a dollar can stretch when spent right. If you are a Keep It Local card holder or participating business, get 50% off your first month of a Hosted Phone contract. Remember to keep your money local and support local businesses as much as possible. For more information on how our local company can help your business, learn more about us through out website.

Visit: Travis Voice & Data Profile Page