One of Oklahoma’s most productive oil and natural gas plays is referred to as the STACK. The acronym stands for Sooner Trend, Anadarko (Basin), Canadian and Kingfisher (Counties). It’s one of the hydrocarbon-rich hot spots in the western part of the state.
Kingfisher, Oklahoma lies in the heart of the STACK play, about an hour outside of Oklahoma City. The city is experiencing impressive growth generated by increased oil and natural gas production.
Longtime resident John Gooden serves as president of the Kingfisher County Development Foundation and chairman of Kingfisher Trails. These days, he’s heavily involved with plans to create concert and festival grounds in the downtown area.
“It should bring in all sorts of interesting acts,” says Gooden. “This new economic development tool will be a wonderful thing for the city of Kingfisher.”
Participation by energy producers is helping bring other new projects to life such as a community park.
“We’ve been blessed by several oil and natural gas companies that got the vision, stepped up, provided volunteers and financial help to make these projects possible,” said Gooden.
Gooden has witnessed an influx of new residents to Kingfisher as a result of oil and natural gas activity. He sees trail development as key to welcoming them to Kingfisher.
“We’re creating green, open spaces for them to find one another outdoors, have fun and build community.”
Local restaurants often are among the first to experience the benefit of a growing population and workforce. That’s certainly the case in Kingfisher. Omar Ortega is the manager of longstanding local restaurant, El Charro. He’s grateful for the steady stream of oil and natural gas workers frequenting his family business.
“We’re becoming one of their regular spots. We see them a few times a week and are really excited to serve them,” Ortega notes. “Large to-go orders have also been very popular lately. Managers of the rigs will take 40 orders of fajitas back to the worksite. With the increase in sales, we’ve been able to staff up.”
While El Charro has been a Kingfisher staple for 27 years, the growing demand for local eateries is also creating opportunity for new establishments like the Stack Grill. It opened in the summer of 2017, and as the name suggests, is based entirely around the oil and natural gas industry. You can even order a meal named, “the Messy Engineer.”
Scott Osborn, General Manager of the Stack Grill, welcomes the changes he sees happening around town as a result of the industry’s growing presence.
“There’s lots of new apartments being built, duplexes going up, car washes going in,” he says. “Our tax revenue has gone up significantly year over year. It impacts every part of our community in really great ways. We have a new splash pad and an indoor swimming pool being completely renovated.”
Restaurants aren’t the only local businesses that are busy. Kevin Isenbart co-owner of K&S Tire which has been in Kingfisher for 15 years.
“The shop is extremely busy with trucks coming in and out daily for tires and inspections,” says Isenbart. “Eighty percent of my business now is oilfield-related in some way or another. We’ve added three or four extra people here just to handle the workload.”
In fact, he says adding another location could be in the cards if growth continues, which would call for more employees.
“There’s a big demand for good quality people. There’s a lot coming from Oklahoma City and back over west and south to meet the demand,” said Isenbart.
It’s likely you’ll hear plenty about the STACK play well into the future, as it produces record levels of energy resources and drives economic progress for Oklahoma and the nation. As for Kingfisher, locals are optimistic about the future.
“We’ve added new menu items and we’re bringing in a full bar, which we’ve never had before,” said Ortega. “From what we’ve seen with new car dealerships, hotels and housing, I think Kingfisher will become as big as Moore (Oklahoma) one day.”
It’s a sense of hopefulness you hear all around town.
“It’s very apparent the oil and natural gas industry is having a very positive impact on the entire town,” says Scott Osborn. “From Walmart to the newspaper office, I think everybody is hiring right now, which is great.”
Stay up-to-date on progress related to the SCOOP and STACK at EnergyHQ.com.