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Design-Forward Repurposing

Comprised entirely of shipping containers, The Boxyard brings a new kind of aesthetic to Tulsa — the kind of minimalistic, industrial chic that is usually only associated with larger metropolises.

Article
Tiffany Duncan
Photos
Marc Rains
Posted
February 1, 2017

Just a simple drive through downtown Tulsa proves that this isn’t the same city that it used to be. So much development and growth has occurred that even visitors from bigger cities would be surprised to find such an energetic, thriving downtown scene here. And nowhere is this cosmopolitan vibe more present than in the shopping/multi-service retail center known as The Boxyard.

Comprised entirely of shipping containers 
(39 in all), The Boxyard brings a new kind of aesthetic to downtown Tulsa. Conceptualized and owned by Tulsa local Casey Stowe, The Boxyard displays the kind of minimalistic, industrial chic that is usually only associated with larger metropolises like Denver or Austin.

Stowe actually came up with the idea for The Boxyard while visiting London for the 2012 Olympics. “While I was in London, I would take the train to get around, and each day I would pass by this shipping container retail center,” says Stowe. “I was completely fascinated by it. When I got home, and people would ask me about the Olympics,
I spent half my time talking about those shipping containers.”

When the opportunity arose for Stowe and a few close business partners to develop a piece of land, Stowe decided to replicate the design he had glimpsed in London. Two years later, in December 2016, The Boxyard had its grand opening. The stacked shipping containers form a two-story semi-circle around a center courtyard, and the containers house 20 independent, micro-crafted businesses — from coffee, candy, food, libations, and ice cream to clothing, gifts, toys, and locally made goods. There are also specialized services available, like a barbershop, foot and shoulder massage, and even a place to evaluate the quality of the tap water within your home.

When selecting vendors for the Boxyard, Stowe had a certain feel that he was going for. “I wanted businesses owned by passionate people who were not only business owners, but also entrepreneurs. I wanted forward- thinking individuals who are just really,
really into what they do. Carley Johnson, for example, owns one of our shops called My Modern Mess. She’s only 23 years old, but she’s so focused and excited about what she does that I knew I wanted to include her.”

My Modern Mess is one of three women’s boutiques within The Boxyard, and it is certainly a great place to find a stunner of an outfit that no one else will have. And the contemporary men’s clothing retailer, East + West, carries many items handmade in America, with other products coming from as far as Europe and Japan. They are also the only place in Tulsa to carry TOPO Designs
— an ultra-exclusive backpack, bag, apparel, and accessories company out of Colorado.

With all of its incredible food, drink and tasty treat options set in such a stylish venue, The Boxyard will undoubtedly become a hot place to meet up with friends once the weather turns warm. (Photo: Marc Rains)

The STEMcell Science Shop is another entirely unique vendor within The Boxyard. Specializing in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), shoppers can find gadgets and gifts that will not be found anywhere else in Tulsa. Also opening in The Boxyard soon is WirWar, which is — are you ready for this — Tulsa’s first and only Belgian honky-tonk. Providing Belgian street food, beer, and hillbilly music, WirWar will bring a new kind of party to Tulsa.

As if these business concepts aren’t enough Tulsa firsts, The Boxyard will also host
 Rose Rock Microcreamery. What is a Microcreamery, exactly? Prepare yourself
— it’s small-batch ice cream made with 16 percent butterfat and less than 30 percent air, making for the most dense, creamiest ice cream you’ve ever tasted. With traditional as well as nontraditional flavors like lemongrass buttermilk and salted caramel, Tulsa will be screaming for Rose Rock ice cream.

Dwelling Spaces, previously located at
2nd and Detroit, has made its new home 
in The Boxyard as well. Dwelling Spaces offers a large assortment of locally made jewelry, apparel, accessories and other fun trinkets, as well as also housing local favorite coffee shop, Joebot’s. If you are looking for something stiffer than coffee, however, there is a high-end cocktail bar on The Boxyard’s second level called Open Container (which, incidentally, is also the best pun of the year). The bar itself is tiny — only one shipping container long. But there is an expansive deck patio just outside with an absolutely breathtaking view of the Tulsa skyline.

Just across the way from Open Container is another expansive, open deck. “We plan to program out the second-floor deck with many nights of live, low key music,” says Stowe. “The Boxyard will also participate as a street party site during the larger Tulsa events like Blue Dome Festival and Tulsa Tough.”

With all of its incredible food, drink and tasty treat options set in such a stylish venue, The Boxyard will undoubtedly become a hot place to meet up with friends once the weather turns warm.

“One of the things I think we’ve done is created a place where Tulsans can sip a glass of wine while looking at the skyline and feel proud to be a Tulsan,” Stowe says. “I am so proud of all of our business owners working hard to make The Boxyard what it is. We have had a great reception so far, and I am very much looking forward to the spring and summer months.”

LOCATOR
The Boxyard
502 E. 3rd St. | Tulsa
tulsaboxyard.com