Leadership Notes - August 2011

Posted by: Roy Williams on Monday, August 1, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

You may have noticed a few more retail options springing up in Oklahoma City these days: Whole Foods. Anthropologie. Sunflower Farmers Market. Over the past few years, new retail has arrived or staked out a spot in Oklahoma City's expanding market. And it's not hard to understand why.

Oklahoma City shoppers annually spend 21 percent more per person on apparel, shoes and accessories than the average national consumer. And while cities like Chicago, Boston and Denver saw the rate of job growth decrease from 2000-2010, OKC enjoyed a 4.45 percent upswing. All of these things combine to make us a prime spot for national retailers.

Research shows that Oklahoma City residents have a higher than average disposable income, and they are willing to drive to stores that interest them, even if it means going a few miles out of the way. The downside of this willingness is that we consistently lose retail dollars to nearby metropolitan areas when OKC stores don't fit consumer needs. It's important to keep those dollars in our local economy, which is why the Chamber works so hard to continually attract retail and fill in those gaps.

In early August, OKC's retail sector will have the great addition of The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City. Located at the intersection of I-40 and Council, the 65-acre center will have a wide variety of well-known designer outlets, including Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Coach, Banana Republic, and Carters. It will be the only outlet center in the state, and is expecting six million visitors a year. This will not only be a great amenity to our residents, but it is also a testament to the magnitude of retail that our residents can support.

In addition to some of the bigger name retailers, we also have a great selection of local retailers. Homegrown stores such as Hobby Lobby not only put Oklahoma City on the map, but they support our economy in a big way. Anytime you shop at a local business, $73 of every $100 remains in our local economy. As we watch our retail sector grow, it is important not to forget our locally-owned businesses.

From the Outlet Shoppes to Classen Curve, Bricktown to Western Avenue, OKC is emerging and retailers are paying attention. When it comes to retail, it appears that Oklahoma City has arrived.


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