Tulsa entrepreneurs are proving with their success that green builds business. They are winning customers, most especially the Millennial Generation, by offering sustainable products and services that are healthier, local and cool!
I was invited to Tulsa by Sustainable Tulsa, a volunteer organization of liked-minded citizens who are dedicated to Tulsa’s success defined by a triple bottom line of people, profits and planet. They are using their collective knowledge and buying power to support the growth of businesses that are contributing to Tulsa’s economic development, community development and improved human/environmental health. Sustainable Tulsa’s Executive Director is Corey Williams. She is a values-driven dynamo of energy, ideas and smiles motivated by a mother’s determination that her two daughters will live in a vibrant Tulsa that nurtures the wellness of people and the planet.
Farm To Fork To Farm!
What I saw in Tulsa was rejuvenating to my hopes that sustainability will become a lynchpin of America’s future success. Two of my favorite entrepreneurs were Libby Auld and Rufus Newsome. Libby owns the award winning Elote Cafe located in the heart of Tulsa’s Deco District of fantastic Art Deco buildings that are now beginning to be given a renewed purpose after years of under use by business owners like Libby. Rufus is a testament of the American spirit. He and his wife Demalda started Newsome Farms to help their African American community develop food self sufficiency and to improve the community’s health by teaching their neighbors how to grow fresh food as a diet alternative to fast foods. Libby, Rufus and Demalda have formed a pioneering sustainable relationship where the food waste from Libby’s restaurant is used as composting by Newsome Farms where LIbby buys fruits and vegetables! Through their efforts the practice of Farm to Fork is being advanced toward its truly sustainable solution of Farm To Fork To Farm.
Green Builds Business Success Stories
I was also able to catch up with two business owners that won one-on-one coaching with me through the Green Builds Business program sponsored by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with funding by Walmart. Vicente Ruiz is the owner of VR Electric. His project was to win customers by offering LED lighting solutions that would reduce electric bills and emissions. While visiting his business he proudly pointed out his front window at a bakery across the highway where he had installed a LED lighting system that was cost competitive with high efficiency fluorescent lighting, was saving money on the bakery’s electric bill and carried a five year warranty!
The other business that won one-on-one coaching was Pancho Anaya Bakery. Katia Anaya is the fourth generation of this bakery’s family ownership. We worked together to develop a sustainable alternative to offering their customers “paper or plastic.” The solution was the design of a reusable container with their bakery’s name on it that provides their customers with a better way for maintaining the freshness of their mouth watering bakery goods. Building upon this success the bakery has also begun recycling and has installed energy saving features at their three bakery locations.
I truly wish I had the space to recognize all the businesses and business owners in Tulsa that are making a difference. But what you should do is visit Tulsa and see for yourself the cool vibe being created by Tulsa’s merchants. They are proving at their cash registers that green does build business by making a positive difference on behalf of their community and human health.
Bill Roth is an economist and the Founder of Earth 2017. He coaches business owners and leaders on proven best practices in pricing, marketing and operations that make money and create a positive difference. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business case studies of pioneering best practices that are proven to win customers and grow product revenues. Follow him on Twitter: @earth2017