The F Word with Blake Smith, Admiral Twin Drive-In

A landmark in Tulsa since 1952, the Admiral Twin Drive-In still draws crowds each summer seeking a fun, nostalgic night out. It’s alive and well today thanks to owner Blake Smith, who’s been immersed in the theater industry his entire life. And while the Admiral Twin continues to see success, Smith’s other local, indoor theaters have been dramatically impacted by the ever-evolving nature of the movie industry, forcing him to close multiple locations in the past few years. Listen as Blake talks about adapting to change and making hard choices in the midst of unexpected trials.

[TRANSCRIPT]

Blake: We did okay. We made money, but it wasn't like a home run.

Lauren: This week on The F Word.

Blake: I was actually hopeful that the dollar business would hang in there, but I knew that the possibilities were there that we would either have to turn it first run or I'd have to flip it to somebody else.

Lauren: Blake Smith, the owner of The Admiral Twin Drive-In.

Blake: She says, "Oh my God," and she said, "We gotta go." And I was like, "What?" And she said, “The drive-in's on fire.”

Lauren: A summer in Tulsa would not be complete without a night at The Admiral Twin. It's Tulsa's only drive-in theater. Blake Smith is the owner of The Admiral Twin and has kept it going strong for many, many years, even in the midst of big trials like an industry that's changing incredibly quickly and a massive fire that forced him to rebuild from the ground up. Blake also owned Tulsa's last dollar theater and the theater that used to be down at the Riverwalk. We'll get into all of that today. Blake, thanks for coming in to share your story.

Blake: Absolutely.

Lauren: So movie theater management is a family business for you.

Blake: Yes. I guess I'm a second generation theater professional. My dad was in the business. From the time I was born, we were in the movie theater business. He managed theaters for different companies, General Cinema, Cobb Theaters, he was with AMC. So as I was growing up, we actually moved around an awful lot because back then, you would move for $25 a week or whatever. It sounds funny now, but when you had a family in the 70s and then going into the 80s. So it's kind of second nature to me. I love the business. I love movie theaters just in general. I actually like movie theaters more than I like movies, probably.

Lauren: Really? That's so interesting.

Blake: I love movies, but I really love movie theaters.

Lauren: What do you love about them?

Blake: I don't know. It just seems at home. I remember going as early as two and three years old, or maybe maybe not two, but somewhere three, four-ish, of always going with my dad to the theater. It'd be real easy. I'd go and he'd say, "Just go play," and it'd be a big huge place and I can go play and do whatever I wanted to do and he'd do his work. And so I've always been in movie theaters. So when I go in and I smell popcorn and I smell old pop syrup, it smells like home to me. So I still like it. I still like going. If we go to a movie then I'm more interested in looking around at the theater and what people are doing with their theaters than I am necessarily in the movies. I know that probably sounds a little bit funny because I get this all the time. You must see every movie. Well, I really don't watch that many movies, to be honest with you. But yes, I've always been in the business.

Lauren: I read somewhere that even your first job was a janitor in your dad's movie theaters.

Blake: Yes. My very first job, I've done every job in a movie theater. So I started as a janitor and then I guess worked my way up, if you will.

Lauren: What do you think made you stick with it? Because I feel like there are a lot of children who are expected to continue in the family business and want to rebel against that and do their own thing. What made you be like, no, this is what I want for my life?

Blake: Gee, I don't know if I still know what I want for my life. There was no pressure to be in the theater business. I just liked it. My father didn't ... I think probably he would have preferred for me to be a professional baseball player but I wasn't quite good enough at that. So I don't know. Like I say, I really do enjoy the business.

Lauren: So back in 2000, you bought The Admiral Twin from your dad. How was that transition? I feel like that could be tricky if that was his baby for so long and you're getting it passed off to you.

Blake: Yeah. So it kind of went down a little bit differently. It wasn't completely passed down to me. That would have been great, I guess. I think at that time, he was getting a little bit burned out in the business. I think I love the movie theater business more than he loved the movie theater business. He was also an entrepreneur and always would have side things going on. So I was always around kind of that type atmosphere. I guess I've done the exact same thing. So in 2000, I'd have to back up just a little bit.

Lauren: Yeah, please do.

Blake: So besides The Admiral Twin, dad also owned the Fox Ford Theater, which was at 51st. I don't know how long you all have been here, but was at 51st and Harvard. When we took it, it was a dollar house. We took it from General Cinema. We added two screens, made it into a four screen theater. The reason why that's sort of important to the story is that it was a really well known theater. We played Rocky Horror for years there.

Lauren: Classic.

Blake: Yeah. It was a very popular theater until AMC opened their 20 screen theater and 1996 or '97. It was either late '96 or early '97. I can't remember when they opened. When they opened, they almost overnight closed every theater in the market because they came in with 20 screens. It was completely new. So they came in and they had stadium seating. So everybody's like, "Oh my gosh, stadium seating." So literally, almost every theater closed overnight. And what they did is they started holding onto product real, real long. So it took away from the dollar business, so it just killed everything. So we closed the Fox in '98 and then I went to work actually for Dickinson Theaters at Star World 20, which is at 101st and memorial. So I went out there as a manager and I opened that theater and I was there for about seven years. During that time though, my dad had started getting kind of burned out, so around 2000 while I was still working for somebody, myself and I had a partner, we bought my dad out. That's how it kind of went down. So anyway, I don't know if anybody cares about that.

Lauren: No, that's great. So you were balancing working a full-time job while also owning a business.

Blake: Correct. Yeah.

Lauren: How was that?

Blake: I guess it was somewhat difficult. I was younger so I had been around the drive-in really since '87-ish. And sort of during that time, drive-ins had kind of went down. They're kind of cool again now. Things kind of go in cycles a little bit. And the drive-in was just doing okay at that time. Again, dad was getting a little tired I think. And so we bought it and then there's a lot of hours. It was just a lot hours. The drive-in, the one good thing about it is it's a seasonal business. So you do have time to be down. We're really only seven days a week when school is out, so we kind of follow the school pattern. When school goes back in, we go back to weekends.

Lauren: What do you do with your time in the seasons when the theater is not open?

Blake: Well, so when the drive-in's not open, I always seem to have something else going on. At that time, I was working for Star World and I did that until '95. At that time, I was building the Riverwalk and oddly enough, the people that owned Star World didn't like me building another theater.

Lauren: Shocking.

Blake: Shocking, yes. So we parted ways and so then I built the Riverwalk and it was there from 2005 to 2015, I guess. So I've always had something else going on. It really just hasn't been, I really haven't been in a situation at the drive-in where it's just downtime. I've not had that. I own Magoo's so right now, I'm spending time over there. So I just haven't had that situation where all I own is The Admiral and then you close up. Theoretically-

Lauren: Now I'm on vacation.

Blake: Theoretically, we could go to Florida for the winter, but I'm not to that point. I have no interest in selling the drive-in. I want to keep it. Maybe at some point that does happen, but we're not there yet.

Lauren: So you mentioned you own Magoo's too. As someone who's just so passionate about the theater business and that's been your life, why branch out to a sports bar?

Blake: Right. Good question. So the appeal of Magoo's at the time ... So when I bought Magoo's I was buying it, I was in the process of buying it when the drive-in burned down.

Lauren: Which I want to talk about later.

Blake: Literally, the exact same time. That was really a crazy time just trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to get that done. But the appeal to Magoo's was its busy season is when the drive-in's closed. So our busy season over there starts really in October after the fair goes away. So we have October through probably mid April. Once the weather starts kind of getting a little nicer than the sun goes down a little bit later, Magoo's doesn't do quite as well. It just seemed to kind of balance. That was the appeal to it.

Lauren: And do you still enjoy owning it?

Blake: That's a good question. Yes and no. I mean, I do. I'm more involved probably now than I was when I put ... I put that deal together to buy that, like I say, in 2010. Kind of at the very beginning, I was going to really operate it and be the main person operating it, but the third partner decided that he wanted to have more control so we moved some stock around and I gave him more control so I had less control. So I kind of stayed out of it and just was kind of a silent partner to some degree. I'm more involved now than I was then as we bought him out about a year and a half ago now. And so I'm getting more and more involved. That feels like work to me. To be honest with you, working in the theater business feels like I've never really had a job. It's just I'd get up whenever I wanted to get up and theaters don't generally have too many AM shows real early. So I've never really worked off of an alarm. Now that I got kids, I do, but before then, I didn't.

Lauren: Little walking alarms.

Blake: Yeah. Yeah. So I've always kind of, I don't know. I work but I've never really felt like I worked. That's a little bit, owning Magoo's is a little bit more like working.

Lauren: It makes sense because there's that cliche saying that if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.

Blake: That's right.

Lauren: Looking back, based on your experience, do you think you would encourage entrepreneurs to stick to what they love or do you think it's good for entrepreneurs to branch out and try something new?

Blake: Look at you. Good question. Well, I don't know. I think you have to kind of be an opportunist a little bit. I do think it's harder in today's world to operate businesses than it was in the 80s and 90s.

Lauren: Why is that, you think?

Blake: I personally, this is just ... And anybody else that's really good at this side of things would be like, "You're crazy. That's not true." And you see it every single day because the way the media covers things, that social media has made it, and just again, just my opinion, I think it's made it a lot harder to get to people. Everybody's like, "Well, if you're on Facebook." Well, Facebook is algorithms and all this stuff. I don't even get it. I don't understand it. I've got somebody doing the Facebook. At the drive-in, I have a kid that's 17 that does the Facebook. Then over at Magoo's, I've hired a guy that's got a lot of experience. I'm all over the board when it comes to that and I can't quite get my head around it. And again, you guys are young, but in the 80s and 90s, I could place an ad in the Tulsa World and put something on KMOD, which is a local radio station, I don't know if you even know what it is, and everybody knew about it. Or you could do The Edge in the 90s because it was so popular. That's how everybody knew everything. Now, you can't even do, it's hard to even do TV. I mean you even watch the Emmy's and things that are winning people don't even know what those shows are. They don't even know what they are and then you'll have this huge fan base of something. It's just a kind of a crazy time. It's hard for me to get my head around it, but getting back to that question, I think you have to be opportunistic and look at what is working that's out there. And if you can find a business that somebody has already set up and they are getting tired of it or there's a lot of younger folks that are starting businesses and doing great right out of the box, just huge numbers. Mine's been just kind of a slow build. I make a decent living. It's not a get rich quick, like I told you. My business is not get rich quick.

Lauren: And I don't think it is for most people. And I appreciate you saying that because I think there is this idea people, people see what's in the news and what's in the news are the unicorns, the anomalies. And I think it's really good to hear that no, it is a slow build more times than not. It's learning new things as they come and adapting to new ways of business.

Blake: Yeah. Like I say, I think it's way harder now to do business and it's mostly just getting to the customer base. But you just got to keep going, you know?

Lauren: Yeah. What keeps you going?

Blake: I have obligations and, like I say, for the most part I get up and I can kind of do what I want to do. I don't really have a set schedule. I don't know. I guess to some degree now that I have children and I'm having them late in life, it's starting to feel a little bit for me, even though they're really, really, crazy young, that maybe everything I'm going to do is going to end up being for them, and I never even thought about that. Maybe a drive-in, God willing, will still be relevant in 25 years and it'll be something for them and it'll be paid off by then and we'll have 26 acres out there. It'll be a great deal for them. I'll probably be gone. I don't know. You just do what you gotta do.

Lauren: Okay. I'm going to go back and talk about the fire. So in 2010, Admiral Twin caught on fire and I was going back and looking at the old video footage and it was not a small fire. It's like all whole drive-in screen, however tall those are, just totally in flames. Walk me through that day and the next year that followed.

Blake: Well, so that day, I don't know what time it was. I'm going to save maybe 3:00 or 4:00 or something like that. I was at the Riverwalk, at the theater over there. At that time, I had somebody working with me, so they called my assistant and we were doing some paperwork or something. And she says, "Oh my God." She said, "We got to go." And I was like, "What?" The drive-in's on fire. So that was the longest trip that I've ever made from Riverwalk all the way around to the drive-in. It's not short to begin with, but that whole way you're just going, "Oh my God." That was a screen tower that was built in 1951 and parts of probably '52. And it was an all wooden structure, nine stories tall, and it went down pretty fast. By the time I got there, it was already about halfway burned down. And even at that point, they had already blocked off, I couldn't even get down the road. They let me down the road, but they had it all blocked off. People were stopping on the side of the road, 244. People were taking pictures. There was already people ... It was a madhouse. It was just people standing out there by the box office and people crying. It was interesting. Anyway, it burned pretty fast and almost immediately, all the media were out there. It was a media event and they're all sticking microphones in my face. What are you going to do now? What are you going to do now?

Lauren: And you're like-

Blake: I don't know. I had planned to work tonight. I guess I'm not working tonight. I don't have any idea. This was not planned. So it took a while for us to try to figure out what to do. We still owed money on the land. Like I said, I was in the process of trying to buy Magoo's and I was building a theater in another market. I had a lot going on and oddly enough, people started giving us money. It was just, "Here, rebuild, rebuild, rebuild."

Lauren: Just handing you checks?

Blake: Handing money and lots of coins and stuff like that. I didn't ask for anybody to give us any money.

Lauren: That shows the impact that you've made. You didn't just create a theater, you created a communal space where people made memories.

Blake: Well, the drive-in did. Right, sure, sure. It meant something to people. Generations have been going out there for years. It was the only one that stood the test of time in the Tulsa market. At one time, we had 10 or 11 drive-ins.

Lauren: Oh really? Wow.

Blake: Yeah, so going back to the heyday. I sort of understood that element of it. And then from that point, we did do a few things where we tried to raise some money mostly just because there was kind of this wave going on. I was sort of riding that wave, if you will. And I certainly didn't want to come across as my hand out. I was trying to give something back for it. We did some concerts and people did some other benefits and whatnot. And we definitely raised a significant amount of money, but not as much as what everybody thinks because a lot of people think that I got that thing for free and I did not get that thing for free. But I'm very appreciative of what we got, but we raised about $30,000.

Lauren: And how much did it cost to rebuild?

Blake: About a million two.

Lauren: Woo.

Blake: So there's a shortfall from $30,000 to a million two. But again, you do what you gotta do. We still owed and maybe this was a blessing that we sort of still owed money in the sense that I probably still owed $300,000 on that property. But my banker, who is just the greatest guy, what he really saw was the sentiment that it was the people wanted it to be there because the grosses had been down a little bit over the last few years. The screen tire was starting to look worn, no doubt. At that time, I had Riverwalk and I was building another theater. I didn't know ... Again, we had some good years in the 2000s. Even right around when we bought it, it was down a little bit, then it kind of hit a little bit of a cycle where it went back up in the mid 2000s. But by the time we got to 2010, we were kind of in a down cycle there where we're not grossing a whole lot out there. And so anyway, we owed money. My banker saw the sentiment that people wanted it back. It was probably front page news for six weeks or something. You couldn't have bought the advertising. And so he really came to me and said, "Look, I think we would back you to rebuild it." We did have to come up with a little bit of money besides the $30,000. So we rebuilt it. We missed the year of 2011. Mostly, it just took us awhile and for everybody to kind of figure out, what do we need to do?

Lauren: In the midst of all this, at any point did you just want to quit and walk away? Just like, this is just not worth it, this is taking too much out of me?

Blake: Well, I just didn't feel like you could do that. I just didn't feel like I could do that. I owed money on the property, but if we owned that thing clear and we didn't owe anything on it, I don't know that it would still be there. It was because we owed money on it, that there wasn't a whole lot of choice for us but to figure out how to get out of it. I know that sounds funny because I probably could have sold it for more than what we owed on it, but nevertheless, it still takes a while for property to sell. So I had a few people that kicked the tire on maybe wanting to buy the drive-in, but nobody was really serious. I didn't have anybody that just was like really serious about it.

Lauren: So you rebuilt and you were reopen within year, the 2012 season.

Blake: 2012, we made it back in 2012.

Lauren: So with the rebuild, what did that give you the opportunity to do? What all did you freshen up and change?

Blake: Whether this was a good idea or not, I don't know. Maybe in hindsight ... I felt like we needed to pay homage to the original architecture and we needed to build it in a way that looked similar before.

Lauren: Yeah, I think that's great.

Blake: I could have done it a lot cheaper. I could have done it the way most people do. Usually, you put your projection booth in the middle and you have a screen on either side. So I've got two different projection booths. And so that's what we decided to do. I think now we probably wouldn't have done it that way just because. But then because we were able to do that, we put a new concession stand with a new kitchen and new bathrooms, everything fresh underneath the screen. So now everybody comes into the center. And from a management standpoint, that works great.

Lauren: I do want to talk about some of your other business ventures. Two things I want to talk about. One, the theater at the Riverwalk, and the other is the dollar theater. So let's talk Riverwalk first. You opened that theater back in 2005. By 2015, you were closing it. You sold it and they leveled it and put in FlyingTee. Was that hard to let go of that? Or what were you feeling in that season of building up this theater only to turn around and sell it?

Blake: Yeah, that was kind of a weird deal. That center, that whole project, the whole center and everything was just kind of strange to begin with. I liked my time over at Riverwalk. I like the theater that we built. I designed it and worked very hard on that theater and it did pretty good. The Riverwalk just in general never took off. I think it's doing better now from what I understand. I'm not involved in it, but that's what I kind of see. So Los Cabos was like a home run. It was off the hook, but then you didn't really have anything else from there all the way down to us. We were kind of down on the end by ourselves. We could never quite capitalize on how well they were doing because they did great, but we were kind of in the middle. We did okay. We made money but it wasn't like a home run. And so when the Creek Indians bought it in maybe 2014, they bought it out of bankruptcy. Again, not the theater. The theater wasn't in bankruptcy, but the whole center was.

Blake: That's a whole weird thing too when you're leasing from a group that's kind of an interim basis. It's odd to deal with. So when they came in, they had a lot of grand plans and when they came in I was like, "This could be great," because they have a money machine across the street where it's just, the casino is always busy. I think they had a lot of grand plans. I don't know that the theater was ever part of their plans. When they came in, they had sort of offered to work together and come up with a solution on that. They obviously had the money if they wanted to spend it. And it took me a while for us to get there. We finally did get there, so I thought, "Okay, well maybe they want us to stay." We got things kind of worked out. Then they just didn't quite follow up on several other things. And then finally they just came to me and said, "Look, I think that we want to buy you out of the lease or work out something," whatever, because I had a lease so they couldn't just kick me out necessarily. And so we kind of came to a fair price on the thing. It was not a get rich quick. I also knew that coming in was Carmike at the time was coming in to build Tulsa Hills, which Carmike was a national operator, and that would have been pretty close to us. And I was pretty sure that what I've heard is pretty bad. So when they had announced, I kind of thought the writing was on the wall. So I just accepted their offer. That one was a little painful for it to go away, though, I would say just because that was the first one that I'd really kind of built myself and I kind of designed. In hindsight, I would have done a few things differently, obviously, as far as the design goes, but I was really thrilled to have done it. I will say that. Even though it wasn't a home run, for me it really felt like a big deal. I really thought it was cool.

Lauren: Do you have dreams of building another theater someday? Or have you kind of walked away from that season?

Blake: I haven't walked away from it completely. It's still a natural thing for me. They're just so expensive to build. It's just my gosh. They're just crazy expensive. That kind of keeps me from jumping back in. If you miss on a location on something like that, Riverwalk was $5 million to build. $5 million is a lot of money. If you miss, it's a problem. Now that I got a couple young kids, I got to think about that stuff. I can't afford to miss. But to say that I'm completely out of the indoor business, I wouldn't say that. I still follow it. I still have lots of friends in the business and so my eyes are always open.

Lauren: Like a true entrepreneur, I think.

Blake: I guess.

Lauren: So you also owned Village Movies Eight, which was the dollar theater at 71st and Memorial. And you closed the doors there just this past May. And I think what's really interesting is you bought the dollar theater in 2015 when kind of the writing was already on the wall with that. Dollar theaters were in decline. Why jump into that? How long did you try to keep it going and at what point were you like, "You know what? This is done."

Blake: I knew the landlord there and he and I had talked probably five years before that because Cinemark, when their leases were coming up, was acting like they didn't want to be there. They were the operator before me there. So he and I had been in contact. I was interested in that location because at one time, that was the number one location in the market. It used to not be a dollar house, it used to be a first run house. It had done really well for a lot of years. So the timing was interesting on that. As I was closing Riverwalk, they were getting ready to exit their lease and so the landlord came to me. So I had all my equipment from Riverwalk. So it was kind of perfect timing. I was hopeful. I was actually hopeful that the dollar business would hang in there, but I knew that the possibilities were there that we would either have to turn it first run, go to what's called a movie grill operation where it's a dine-in concept, or I'd have to flip it to somebody else. And so there was some real estate play in there for me that I thought that it was probably a worthwhile venture.

Lauren: That's a great part of town.

Blake: Great part of town. That's one of the busiest intersections in Tulsa. So as long as that mall's going to be there, I think that theater over there will do well. So the new group that's coming in there that I sold to and then kind of helped broker a deal with the landlord to take more space is called Synergy Entertainment Group. And they will do a fantastic job.

Lauren: Oh, so it's going to reopen?

Blake: Oh, it's gonna reopen. It's gonna be huge.

Lauren: Oh, okay. I had no idea.

Blake: It's going to be a huge deal. Yeah. It's going to be great.

Lauren: That's awesome. I want to talk about your industry as a whole. What do you think is the future of movie theaters? It's changing so much. Like you said, it's incredibly expensive to do it well. What do you see the future looking like?

Blake: Well, I don't think movie theaters go away, personally. This last year or this past summer was a great year at the box office. It wasn't so much for drive-ins. Drive-ins did okay. We'll match last year but there wasn't enough drive-in product per se, but the product by and large for indoor theaters was great. Box office is way up against last year. I have a hard time seeing theaters go away. I hope they don't go away. I still think it's great to get out of your house and go and be in an environment with other people. We can't all just sit behind computers. At that point-

Lauren: At least we shouldn't.

Blake: We shouldn't, yeah. I think there's gonna be a lot of challenges. I think the one big challenge that's getting ready to happen besides, I know we didn't talk about it, but I know you mentioned at one point MoviePass and some of these subscription based things, which I think is healthy for the industry if you can work it out with the film companies. Part of the problem with the subscription based stuff is the film companies. It's not the theaters, it's the film companies. The film companies are the ones that dictate what the theaters can do. So all of the policies and the licensing that you have to do with them, that's where kind of the rubber meets the road with whether the subscription thing will work or not.

Lauren: Do you think it will?

Blake: Well, I think that they're going to have to and the biggest reason why is either one of these two or both of these two are going to get into the theater business and it's going to happen, it's going to happen pretty fast, and that's Amazon or Netflix or both are going to buy movie theaters. So because they're making too much of their own product and they're making too much good product, that it's hard for ... And Amazon can do anything they want to do. They've got the money. So I think you'll see them by a theater circuit and when they buy a theater circuit, it's going to be a game changer in the industry. I don't know that it's going to go to all movies are free. I don't know. I know they bought Whole Foods, but I think you guys watch, that's going to happen if you haven't read about it or heard about it, but it will happen. They're negotiating, I think, to buy one now. That'll be interesting to see what they do to the industry as a whole because I will say that the theater business has been slow in some ways over the years to either adapt or possibly upgrade. The movie theater business was really making more money in the mid 80s than at any time. They made more money during that time because that time, the movie theaters were not great. There was a lot of people going to the theaters, they didn't have as much competition, and they would have, if you had a twin theater, you could go in and make it a four or a six and just putting up some walls and putting some screens in and you had terrible seats and people didn't care. They said, "Eh, we want to go to the movie." So for a long time, the industry was just like, "Well, why do we want to do anything?" You know? And so it took till the mid to late 90s for the industry to start kind of changing a little bit. And that's when the stadium seating craze happened and the megaplexing happened. So I think personally the industry is still going to be there. So it's interesting. It's an interesting time in the business. The people that are doing well are doing really well. It's a have and have not game, really. The independent theater folks struggle a little bit more. The players in the game, the big boys, if they've got a great location, they have a great location where they're making a lot of money. So it's still a good business. I just have a hard time seeing it going away anytime soon.

Lauren: Your story is filled with a lot of highs, a lot of lows. My last question is, what would you say to encourage someone who might be in a low, who might be in the middle of making hard choices like you had to make, maybe making some of the wrong choices, not knowing how to move forward? What would you say to that person?

Blake: Well, I think you just kind of gotta follow what you think is going to be the right thing to do. Everybody's different. If you've got a family, you've got to feed people. So it's not a one size fits all to me. Look, I'm not opposed to going to work for somebody under the right circumstances or if I was really hit hard times, I've got people to feed. Your pride has to be set aside. If you're single, then I think it's a lot easier to say, "Go for your dreams." So I think it depends on where you're at in your life. I'm in my 50s so it's a different time for me and I've got a young family. But when I was in my 20s and 30s and even 40s, I was still, let's go do it. I just think you have to get up and be a self starter. I think no matter what industry you're in or no matter who you work for, just because you work for somebody doesn't mean you can't own that business at some point. Some great stories are people that worked their way up and ended up buying the business from somebody because they knew the industry. And so that's what I would say.

Blake: Yeah. Well, I guess so. But yeah, no. I just think that that's more than anything, I would say just get up and go for it and just follow, I don't know. Follow your heart sounds funny to me, but I guess-

Lauren: Your gut maybe.

Blake: Yeah, your gut. That's probably better. Yeah. That's what I do. Most of my things are, I think this is gonna work. I think this is going to work.

Lauren: Blake, thank you so much for coming in.

Blake: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Lauren: To share your story.

Blake: Yeah.

Dustin Curzon: The F Word is brought to you by 36 Degrees North, Tulsa's base camp for entrepreneurs. To learn more about our workspace, community, and resources, visit 36n.co. The F Word, season two is recorded in the KOSU Studio and produced by Lauren King.