Chickasha Economic Development Council to share #TheGoodStuff with community

By Jim Cowan, Chickasha Economic Development Council 

My family first moved to Chickasha in 1964. My Dad was a  teacher and coach in Colorado, but wanted to move back to Oklahoma to be closer our extended  family in Western Oklahoma. When he moved our family to Chickasha, he told my Mom it would only be for a few years, little did we know Chickasha would become much more than just a stepping stone for all us.

My first job was at The Dixie Department Store. Stan Levine and Bill Miller were the owners and they made a lasting impression on me at my young age.  They taught me the importance of teamwork when selling quality merchandise. I may have only been making signs in the basement, but they made me believe I was an important part of the success of the store.

In my next job, I was one of the first two employees of Jake’s Rib before it  opened. I learned about the service business from the ground up, doing almost every function in the restaurant, including being one of the first “male” waitstaff in Chickasha. I watched a business grow by word of mouth advertising. Huge portions of BBQ and an enormous basket of french fries showed me the impact that positive public relations can have on a business.

After graduating from Chickasha High School in 1981,  I spent my first two years at USAO.  I learned how to be an independent thinker and how to come up with different ways to answer traditional challenges. I finished my business degree at Southwestern in Weatherford, but as I look back now I can better appreciate the teachings of a Liberal Arts University.

Like many that grew up in Chickasha, I was anxious to experience bigger cities and all the excitement they offered. I spent time in Charleston South Carolina and Palm Spring California, before coming back to Oklahoma City and opening up a business in the Bricktown Entertainment District. I witnessed first-hand how a City can revitalize itself when everyone comes together and believes in a Vision. Confidence and Civic Pride made “Big Dreams” into an incredible reality.

When I found out about the opportunity to come back home to work in Economic Development, I immediately thought of “The Good Stuff” I remembered from growing up in Chickasha: shopping at businesses where everyone knows each other, home town parades, sports, rodeos, fireworks, a place where people help each other, and most importantly a feeling of belonging.

I know we have plenty of challenges here in Chickasha, but I look forward each week in this column to talking about #TheGoodStuff. I would love to hear what you think of when you think of #TheGoodStuff. Send me an email at and share your thoughts.