Show Me Rolla (2020-2021)

By Derek Zboran

“Show Me Rolla” was a father-son adventure embarked upon by Derek Zboran and his dad, Jim Zboran. At its core, the project aimed to shed light on the vibrant business community in Rolla, Missouri, through a series of engaging interviews with local business owners. The interview questions were meticulously crafted to peel back the layers of entrepreneurship and reveal the human stories behind the storefronts. This initiative wasn’t just about understanding business mechanisms; it was a journey into the passions and dreams that fuel the small Midwestern city popularly known as “the middle of everywhere.”

Despite working with limited resources, Derek and Jim managed to create content that resonated deeply with their audience of over five-hundred subscribers. They possessed an innate ability to ask the right questions, driven by genuine curiosity and a desire to understand the essence of each business owner’s journey. Interview footage was edited into compelling narratives that captivated viewers. Their approach demonstrated that impactful storytelling doesn’t require extravagant budgets; rather, it thrives on sincerity and the willingness to listen.

Celebrating the diversity of Rolla’s business landscape was a cornerstone of the “Show Me Rolla” project. From the imaginative world of a comic book store owner to the cozy warmth of a pub, from the essential services of a neighborhood bodega to the healing touch of a chiropractor, Derek and Jim showcased the rich tapestry of entrepreneurship that exists within the community. Each interview served as a testament to the variety and uniqueness of the dreams that contribute to Rolla’s identity, highlighting the city’s capacity for inclusivity and innovation.

Jim Zboran’s fascination with the project stemmed from his profound interest in personal transformations, perseverance, and the pursuit of one’s passions. He often reflected on how each business owner’s story was a narrative of overcoming obstacles, adapting to change, and relentlessly pursuing what they love. For Jim, the most gratifying aspect of “Show Me Rolla” was witnessing the myriad ways in which individuals transform challenges into opportunities, a theme that resonates deeply with his own values and the work he does with his coaching clients.

On the other hand, Derek Zboran’s engagement with the project was fueled by his enthusiasm for initiating, maintaining, and concluding media projects. He found immense joy in the process of community-building and in amplifying diverse perspectives on transforming innovative ideas into sustainable businesses. Derek’s passion lies in the intersection of creativity and entrepreneurship, where stories of ambition and resilience inspire a collective spirit of possibility.

The overarching purpose of “Show Me Rolla” aligned seamlessly with Rolla’s ambition to be perceived as the “middle of everywhere.” By highlighting the personal journeys and insights of local business owners, Derek and Jim contributed to a broader narrative of growth and community spirit. Their project not only celebrated individual achievements but also underscored the collective potential of Rolla as a hub of innovation and human connection.

Reflecting on the lessons learned from the “Show Me Rolla” project, it’s clear that the endeavor was more than just a series of interviews. It was a profound exploration of human endeavor within the framework of local entrepreneurship. The project underscored the importance of storytelling in building community, the value of perseverance in the face of adversity, and the power of diversity in fostering a vibrant business ecosystem. And for Derek and Jim, “Show Me Rolla” was not just an opportunity to connect with the business community but also a chance to deepen their own father-son bond through shared purpose and discovery.