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The Theme Scene

If you’ve never been to Boomtown Tees, it’s time to take a trip down memory lane — Tulsa style — and support the unique and fun retailer that offers a wearable treasure trove of childhood memories.

Article
Tiffany Duncan
Photos
Marc Rains
Posted
December 1, 2016

In recent years, pride in Oklahoma’s rich legacy and culture has manifested into an actual fashion statement — especially where t-shirt design is concerned. Whether it’s a famous slogan, a sports team, or just a simple outline of Oklahoma, we like to show off our state love here in Tulsa. And nowhere else in town will you find a more diverse selection of unique, locally designed and printed Tulsa t-shirts than Boomtown Tees, located in the bustling Blue Dome District.

Originally conceptualized and owned by Blake Ewing, Boomtown Tees has been representing the most iconic facets of Tulsa for seven years. The current owner, Joann Frizell, previously fell in love with Boomtown while doing Ewing’s marketing and eventually convinced him to sell it to her. Along with a bit of mentorship from her husband, Mike, who’s had 25 years of experience as a business owner, Frizell has been running the charming tee shop for over a year now.

Although the storefront may appear tiny from the outside, the cozy interior is surprisingly packed with floor-to-ceiling shelves of quirky tees, tanks and hoodies that celebrate all things local.

“Our designs are based around Tulsa’s heritage,” says Frizell. “We are completely unique and kitschy, with a lot of iconic landmarks on our shirts like the Golden Driller, the big Blue Whale of Catoosa, and the Admiral Twin Drive-In. A lot of the popularity of our t-shirts comes from their nostalgic appeal.”

If you grew up in Tulsa, Boomtown is
 a wearable treasure trove of childhood memories. Remember Bells Amusement Park? You can purchase a shirt that proudly declares, “I rode Zingo,” or another that depicts Bells’ token haunted house, the Phantasmagoria. And for a really obscure reference, do you recall Crystal’s Pizza?
 The restaurant where children could load up on pizza from a buffet and eat while watching cartoons in a movie theatre-styled dining room? Yep, Boomtown has a shirt to commemorate that bygone gem, too.

Because Boomtown Tees screen prints everything
 in the store, all of their shirts are completely customizable. (Photo: Marc Rains)

“Our most popular shirts are definitely the ones that can take people back to another place and time. We have many shirts that reference Tulsa’s history, including one that celebrates ‘ The Outlaws,’ Tulsa’s pro-football team from back in the 1980s,” Frizell says.

“There’s also another tee that references an old television commercial that says, ‘Don’t lay that trash in Oklahoma,’ and many others depicting old Tulsa landmarks like the Rose Bowl and the Camelot Hotel. People come in all the time and say, ‘Man! I haven’t thought about that place in years!’”

Other t-shirt designs include references from The Outsiders, Route 66, Oklahoma-isms, famous quotes, and college sports team fandoms, among others. There’s also a slew of shirts that depict the Tulsa cycling scene, the ever-popular 918 area code, and Oklahoma’s state outline. Whatever it is that concerns your Tulsa or Oklahoma pride, Boomtown has what you are looking for.

To further honor Tulsa, Frizell also strives
to keep all of her business practices as local as possible. Most of the t-shirt designs were originally done by Ewing, and Tulsa-based graphic designer, Cody Bailey, handles all custom design. Boomtown’s shirts are all printed right there in the back of the shop by Frizell’s son, Travis, who attended screen- printing school through the Tulsa Hardesty Arts Center to guarantee the quality of 
each shirt. All of the screens used to print Boomtown’s tees are made at the Hardesty Arts Center as well.

Because Frizell keeps Boomtown’s printing process so Tulsa-centric, she is able to offer a kind of service and convenience that is virtually unheard of in retail.

“Because we screen print everything
 right here in the store, all of our shirts are completely customizable. If you need a different size, or would prefer a certain design on a hoodie rather than a tee, we can just pop in the back and make it for you,” says Frizell. “We can even print in a different color for no extra charge.”

But that’s not all — Boomtown also takes outside orders for custom designs, either in bulk or individually. If you know anything about the screen-printing business or have ever tried to have shirts printed for a group, you know that almost all screen-printing businesses have a minimum amount customers must order. With Boomtown, however, that is not the case; almost like a tattoo, they can assist you in designing whatever it is, even if it’s just for you.

Although the storefront may appear tiny from the outside, the cozy interior is surprisingly packed with floor-to-ceiling shelves of quirky tees, tanks and hoodies that celebrate all things local. (Photo: Marc Rains)

“We can screen-print all kinds of custom orders, anywhere from one t-shirt to 10,000. For bigger orders, we partner up with Ambition — a larger local screen-printing business based out of Broken Arrow. We can print custom designs or logos on any color for whatever type of event you are needing shirts for,” Frizell states.

With Christmas in just a few weeks, you
 can knock out your whole shopping list by designing awesomely unique t-shirts for friends and family, or by shopping the ones Boomtown already has in stock. Take your friends and family back to the good ol’ days with one of the many nostalgic tees, or maybe place a group order for a clever design that incorporates your family surname. And as far as stocking stuffers go, Boomtown has all kinds of Oklahoma trinkets and treasures including mugs, shot glasses, and locally made jewelry.

“For Christmas, we will also be offering limited-time tees that depict the Golden Driller and Catoosa’s Blue Whale wearing ugly Christmas sweaters. We will also have a couple Tulsa-themed ornaments that would make excellent gifts or additions to your own Christmas tree,” Frizell says.

LOCATOR
Boomtown Tees
114 S. Elgin Ave. | Tulsa
918-938-6000
boomtowntees.com
Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday: Noon-6 p.m.