“The best business advice I ever had was to work with a hometown bank.” 

While the advice might have come some years ago, Collinsville’s Tyson Baker of Reach Clothing continues to put those words of wisdom to work by partnering with American Bank of Oklahoma. His latest venture?  Manufacturing custom, silk-screened T-shirts and sweatshirts, which Tyson describes as “clothes with a purpose.” And this entrepreneur is downright passionate about both his brand and the ABOK Collinsville team.

Tyson started his first business at age four—yes, four—when he began sketching his favorite football players. He and his father worked the neighborhood selling them. At age 12, he sold candy bars door to door. A short time later, he bought an old display cart—the kind you see in gas stations and quick stop stores. By 16, he was operating his own snow cone stand from that display. Talk about moxie. 

Tyson says upon graduation from high school he planned to join the military with dreams of becoming a pilot. But fate intervened at age 18 with an unexpected back surgery. While recovering, he conceived his idea for Reach Clothing. On one particular day, a young niece happened to visit and mentioned a little boy at school who was bullied for wearing the same shirt every day. “I discovered that something as simple as a new shirt can create greater self-esteem for kids who are bullied and give them a sense of hope,” Tyson says. He developed a buy-one, give-one business model for his proposed startup and—following his recovery–made the rounds to the area’s big banks seeking a loan to jumpstart his business. “Back then, trying to secure financing for a new business at my age was incredibly difficult. I didn’t meet the conventional criteria the larger banks look for.”

Then a friend suggested American Bank of Oklahoma.

“I walked in, met with a loan officer, explained what I wanted to do, and got my loan,” Tyson says. Since then, Reach Clothing has grown into a vibrant hometown success story. Now, more than 10 years in business and with five employees, Reach manufactures custom apparel for Collinsville Youth Football, the SPCA, local schools and sports teams, churches, businesses, races, runs, and special events. And ABOK has been there every step of the way to support Tyson’s ambitions. “The people at American Bank of Oklahoma have trust in me,” he says. “They want to help me grow, not just loan me money. I’ll never bank anywhere else.”

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