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Greater Tulsa Reporter

Spears Travel Celebrates 60 Years of Service

Contributing Writer

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: The Spears team in the Tulsa office celebrates the company’s 60th year anniversary. From left are Brad Johnson, Gayla Smith, Julie Christopherson, Carol Faversham, Lynn Scott, Terri Yee, Debbie Rusk and Greg Spears.

GTR Newspapers photo

In November, Greg, Gary and Charlene Spears, owners of Spears Travel/Travel Leaders in Tulsa and Bartlesville, are celebrating the 60th anniversary of their business.
Formerly known as Kelley World Travel, Spears World Travel Service was founded in 1958 by Chuck and Charlene Spears.

What began as a small operation with one desk, one file cabinet, two phones and one staff member has expanded to two locations with multiple associates, travel agents and independent contractors. Agents have expertise and aid in planning both domestic and international travel, cruises, corporate travel and retreats, astronomy trips, group travel, honeymoons and more.

This includes everything from booking flights and hotels to creating trip itineraries to purchasing travel insurance to planning Disney theme park vacations.

It’s no small feat for a local business to reach the 60-year mark, but for a full-service travel agency like Spears, it is an even bigger accomplishment. With the rise of the “web age,” many travel agencies across the nation threw in the towel as their clients took on the job of planning and arranging their own travel via the internet. Spears Travel persisted, however, focusing on the unique value and expertise their agents bring to the table for their customers.

“It’s about expertise. [The agents] have been there, done that and they know what questions to ask,” said Gary Spears, CFO, along with Greg Spears, one of two sons of the company’s founders.

According to Gary Spears, it’s the personal touch, local connection and years of expertise that make the full-service travel agency a win over any internet-based option.

“We’re here. We’ve got the expertise. We’re local. What most people don’t realize is whatever they need regarding travel, we can help with that. We’re not just airline tickets or hotel bookings. We also do corporate travel and even cruises. We’re going to beat any deal you find and probably add on some extras.”

This commitment to high value service has made Spears Travel a consistent source of expertise in Tulsa and Bartlesville for the last 60 years, but according to Spears, it is the employees that have made the true difference.

When asked what has contributed most to Spears Travel’s enduring success in a newly tech-driven world, the Spears’ list had their valued employees at the top, closely followed by the ability to adapt to changes.

“There have been so many changes, and we learned to change with them,” he said
The agency has also relied on good business relationships and a healthy association with Travel Leaders, a national travel company with billions of dollars in sales.

“The added expertise and technology we have access to, as well as the vendor relationships a smaller agency might not have, benefit our customers.” Through this strategic association, Spears is able to maximize the value of the services provided to their customers while ensuring the same local and personal approach that made it successful in the first place.

Value isn’t just a buzzword for Spears, but something by which they live and operate their business. Raised in a faith-filled home, the Spears family didn’t try to separate the two when they launched their business, but instead brought the same principles that ran their home into the workplace. The result is an emphasis on honesty, integrity, candor, trust and dignity.

“We are here to serve. That’s what our business is: a service business,” said Greg Spears. “Our loyal customers feel that way, and hopefully our new customers will feel that way too.”

The Spears Travel family invites their loyal customers and any prospective customers to celebrate this 60-year milestone with them at an open house, complete with refreshments, door prizes and special deals. Each location will hold its own open house from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Bartlesville on Nov. 14 and in Tulsa on Nov. 15.

The Bartlesville branch is located at 500 S.W. Keeler (918-336-2360) and the Tulsa location is 8180 S. Memorial Dr. (918-254-1608).

Additional information is available at

Updated 11-14-2018

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