When my wife Jenni and I first drove through Downtown Edmond in early 2011 on the recommendation from a great family friend (and future landlord), we were a bit surprised by what we found. Not in a “this place is happening and we don’t want to leave” sort of way but a “this place has ALL the potential to be the next great district in the metro” sort of way.
Yes, we said something out loud that had been way out of our minds the three years prior. Something that I never thought I’d give real entertainment to. That Edmond could be the perfect place to adopt as home to our growing coffee company / family.
Edmond? North of 23rd Street? What?
We were coming off a great season being a part of the every changing Plaza District on 16th in OKC. We had seen first hand what the hard work of a community of businesses and their networks can do together in a district when their visions are on the same goal. Driving down Broadway that late afternoon / evening got us amped and questioning: Could we jump in here with these guys and help make Edmond the next great place to be in the metro?
I’m going to fast forward to this week, nearly 10 years later. Back in 2012, I’d often be caught saying (many times in fact) that I was confident that Downtown Edmond would be a different place within 5 or so years. And it was. We saw big change. Great collaborations. New business. New vision. Progress.
It wasn’t playing out like I was seeing it in my head – not as quickly anyway. It felt like those years we had EVOKE were watching a pot boil. We KNEW it was going to boil over at some point, but when?
A few nights ago, my family was walking through the District just before dinner. With the time change, the evening had already been cast and people were finishing their day and starting their night. It was in that convergence that I really allowed myself to stop and breathe it all in. It was happening. It was boiling over in our district and people were loving it.
I was sitting in front of the Commonplace Books pop up, listening to live music from The Blues and Jazz Cafe, listening to folks talking on the streets, sipping beer from Frenzy Brewing, and eating in all of the new StEateries the City of Edmond approved a few months ago.
I think this is it, friends.
With new food, drink, and retail continuing to sprout and residential opportunities coming online sometime soon, the question that now lingers for me?
Why not Edmond?
We dreamed about a district people would buzz about. They would bring their friends to. That they would love and own and be stoked about. We dreamed of a place to call home. That was it. This is it.
Hearing groups of friends walk the sidewalks in town excited and surprised at what they are seeing is a lifeline right now. There is more to come. The current conversation now it seems is “this feels like OKC” and ” I can’t believe this is Edmond.”
Believe it, friends. Trust the progress. This is going to get better and better and I can’t wait for Edmond to be able to stand on it’s own – without compromise – as one of the metro’s great places to be.