Sustainable Businesses in Oklahoma City
Traveling to Oklahoma City and wondering about some sustainable businesses to visit?
Well, recently, I was too. I love to travel, and always make it a point to visit places that demonstrate a commitment to similar values as mine: sustainability, social justice, and conservationism.
I was thrilled to find a number of businesses in OKC that are practicing sustainability. When I reached out to the city’s sustainability department, I received a lengthy, thorough reply that helped guide the trip. And now, I can pass along my experiences to you!
About Oklahoma City
If you don’t live in Oklahoma City, you might wonder what it’s like, and if it’s worth visiting.
In my experience, it feels like a new city; updated, fresh and clean. Obviously, there are parts where this isn’t true, and some dangerous parts, but the districts listed below are comfortable.
The city is really approachable and there truly wasn’t a lot of traffic. And it’s renovating certain areas, cleaning them up and turning them into art districts and livable, up-and-coming entrepreneurial sections. While this is offering local artists, entrepreneurs, and farmers new, local opportunities, there is always the problem of gentrification.
(I’m not going to discuss that here, but it would be remiss to just celebrate the artsy districts and newly renovated spaces without understanding there are likely some social justice and inequity issues surrounding these urban renewal efforts.)
There are cool murals all around the city; tons of green spaces to check out; breweries, museums, memorials, parks, and restaurants of all kinds.
And a few really neat sustainability-oriented businesses! I’ll break them out by districts, for easy planning, and point out that there are likely several sustainable businesses missing from this list, but these are the ones that I have had the chance to visit or speak with.
And, the city is relatively small, so although they might not be in the same district, many of these are not far from each other and you’d be able to see many of them in one day.
Sustainability Style: Secondhand clothing, upcycled jewelry by local artists, and diversity in modeling
I didn’t have a chance to visit this place, but I spoke with the owner, Amanda, and she was more than generous in explaining her shop and its commitment to diversity, local artists, and sustainability.
They have clothing from the 1940s to today’s trends. They host over 50 local artists that create mostly upcycled jewelry and clothing. A lot of their artists take stained or otherwise nearly end-of-life articles of clothing and upcycle them through trendy accouterments, unique tie-dye styles, paints, airbrushing, and more, creating works of art out of discarded fabrics, and providing festival-loving customers with fun, interesting, one-of-a-kind options.
This unique shop might be best described by a direct quote from the owner, Amanda: “Our local artists make jewelry from doll parts, records, animal bones found while hiking, old playing cards, miniature figures like Shopkins, erasers, and even dried out Juul pods. We have one artist that paints on old skate decks and another that takes broken skate decks and makes rings and keychains.”
As you might guess, I’m a sucker for reclaimed materials, and it looks like this shop is full of them.
Another interesting social approach worth mentioning is their modeling efforts. They have their own customers model their clothing to demonstrate diversity and reality in their promotions and get the community involved.
What a cool place! If you ever stop by, let me know what you think!
Sustainable Style: Locally sourced produce, meat, dairy
Ludivine was recommended to me by Oklahoma City’s Sustainability Office. Ludivine was on the list as a well-known eatery that sources the majority of its produce, meat, dairy, and eggs from local farms.
The reason this is important is that it meets that trifecta of sustainability: economic, ecological, and social wellbeing. Sourcing local reduces food miles and associated carbon emissions, offers local farmers an economic market for their goods, keeping money in the community, and provides healthy, fresh, better food within the community. (Did you know that the longer produce travels, the less nutritious it is? So, restaurants that buy local will typically have healthier, fresher, better-tasting food.)
And, they make nearly everything from scratch, like their incredible noodles.
They were delicious, very flavorful, and you could tell they were made fresh. The cream in my coffee was an absolute delight. And our server was a joy, and willing to show me around the space, as well as explain some of their sustainability tactics.
The bar interior was all metal and leather: a unique balance of antiquity and historical reverence with old paintings framed in metal, and modern leather high-top seating, lit by silver candelabras.
This would not be a place for vegetarians- much of their menu has a meat element, except their noodles. But if you just want better, grass-fed, locally sourced, organically raised meat – this would be a great option.
Holey Rollers: An Inclusive Donut Shop
Sustainability: Equity-based, with a gluten-free vegan menu, always natural ingredients.
This tasty little business started off as a food truck and has made its way to the Paseo District as a brick-and-mortar shop.
The brand is heavily focused on sustainability, offering vegan desserts by removing egg and dairy from their recipes, as well as artificial sweeteners and dyes. Think sweet vanilla bean baked down for hours; homemade orange zest glazes, sticky, citrusy, and sweet… or a light lavender glazed cake muffin, decorated with lavender blossoms, and the slightest hint of vanilla. (That’s the deliciousness I enjoyed.)
They locally source their dairy for coffee and work with 2 local coffee roasters to supply their beans.
But their commitment to sustainability isn’t just in their locally sourced pantry and multi- diet-friendly deliciousness… They work with a local group called “Fertile Ground” which provides commercial and residential composting of food scraps. They also take their cooking oil, which fuels their trucks! (I just LOVE a good application of circular economics!)
Holey Rollers uses compostable storage and to-go containers, as well as biodegradable ‘plastic’ wrap, when necessary.
The employee I spoke with was well-versed on the sustainability aspects of the company and offered lots of good tips about other things to see in the area, such as their Farmer’s Market, right up the road that offers a FREEDGE… a free fridge, for anyone that needs food. They often put any leftover donuts or food items in the ‘freedge’ at the end of the business day.
I wanted to pop into this Farmer’s Market but it was closed on the day I visited. Please let me know if you make it there!
I did NOT expect that I’d find a donut shop on my search for sustainable businesses in Oklahoma City… but they truly do what they can to make their small business accessible, inclusive, charitable, and sustainable. Right on, Holey Rollers!
Shop Good: Charity Driven Tee Shirt shop
Sustainability: Charitable donations and organic fibers and dyes
This was one of the first places I came across while looking for sustainable businesses in Oklahoma City. What a cool place!
And incredibly helpful, cheerful employees.
Firstly, the shop itself is just a joy to be in— with bright lighting, windows, a plant station, and lots of artfully designed t-shirts supporting diversity, equity, and of course, Oklahoma.
The store is spacious, with the print shop open in the back, so you could catch them pulling prints. I asked about the variety of furniture, and it turns out, it was either hand-built from reclaimed materials, and decorated by the owners, or bought second hand, creating a really cool atmosphere of rustic but clean, with a delightful dusting of classy hipster.
They use water-based inks, certified factories, and ethical suppliers for all their products, ensuring they are getting the highest quality, and supporting the most ethical brands they can through their business.
Here’s your optical feast:
Plenty Mercantile: Sustainable Good Store
Sustainability: Bulk items, and all ethically/sustainably sourced products
Right up the road from Shop Good!
This is your one-stop shop for sustainable businesses in Oklahoma City- it has alllll the things… Gifts, homewares, books, kids’ toys, bulk items, cleaning supplies, body care, you name it. This store has it. And I could have spent the whole day here delving into each label, the ingredients, the stories, and the carefully thought-out details of each of these products.
So, basically anything you’re looking for, sustainability-wise is here. And it’s a GREAT place for gifts for those poor saps at home that couldn’t join you on your trip (if you’re into that kind of thing… I only do it if there is a standout, must-get-because-it’s-so-perfect. My friends and family know better than to expect me to lug useless location-specific trinkets around for them any longer.)
Anyway, Plenty Mercantile had just installed solar panels not much earlier. They have an incredible rentable rooftop space that boasts a garden, bar, and rustic high-top seating and tables. On the less accessible side, the solar panels sit, powering their business. They keep the 1920’s Chevrolet sign as a shout-out to the history of the building, as much of the structure is the same as when Chevrolet occupied it.
There’s so much to say about this place, that I can’t even really get started. But, I will share what I walked out of there with…
2 Oklahoma-designed Swedish Dish Clothes (LOVE), some reusable paper towels (last forever), an adorable owl-shaped seed feeder for the birds (didn’t last long AT ALL), a bamboo dish scrub set, with replaceable and compostable head (yesssss).
I was not planning on buying things, as I annoyingly pride myself on my retail restraint… but alas, these are super useful items, which are long-lasting replacements to other, less sustainable, alternatives… Except poor little eaten-up Owly.
Equity Brewing: A Brewery and Book Store inspiring diversity
Sustainability: Focused on the social aspects of sustainability: justice, equity, and diversity
This extraordinary Mother-Daughter Team has set out to bring equity back into brewing, by being the first woman-owned brewery in Oklahoma and opening a space dedicated to the education and enculturation of diversity and equity in society.
What a cool mission!
Using beer as a vehicle to connect, break down barriers, and initiate much-needed conversations about equity and diversity in America, and in their own town, this value-based company is disrupting the male-dominated industry of brewing. Focused on small-batch brewing to avoid waste, they work with local farmers for their brewing ingredients and local chefs for a variety of culinary delights to serve.
In their gathering space is Juste Books— a bookstore that carries books authored by LGBTQIA, disabled, international, BIPOC, and minority authors; not only are they topical but many are authored by members of these groups.
This mother-daughter team is an incredible source of positive, powerful, progressive energy; their minds bursting at the seams with ideas for how to make their space a welcoming, informative, connective location to bring people together and foster social justice.
When I visited, I got a preliminary glimpse into the business and shared a delicious beverage with the owners. It hadn’t opened yet, but they had their Grand Opening in July. So if tasty microbrews, social justice, and eye-and-mind-opening conversation are your thing, I think this could be your place.
I can’t wait to see how this space, business, and mission continue to evolve and take flight over time.
There’s plenty more to see, and a lot of really fun second-hand shops (my FAVORITE thing to do when I travel!)
Sustainable Businesses in Oklahoma City
if you are just hitting up a district in OKC for the day, and want to pop into some places that are sustainable, check out this by-no-means-comprehensive list!
Myriad Botanical Gardens (actually in the Arts District but very close to Scissortail Park)
The Loaded Bowl (vegan restaurant)
Urban Agrarian (locally sourced grocer)
OKC Farmers Market (Farmers Market, Antiques, and Event Space)
Norman — Scratch Kitchen & Cocktails
I’d also encourage you to check out Fertile Ground. I hope this business continues to grow and expand into more cities- it’s incredible! Hopefully, if you are traveling and want to see some sustainable businesses in Oklahoma City, this can help guide you a bit.
As the world opens up, I’ll likely be traveling some more and will share some of my sustainable travel with you.
And of course, I’d LOVE recommendations! Let me know in the comments about some musts-see places.