July 2, 2009
Joe Malan, Staff Writer
The city of Enid always is looking to bring new economic and retail opportunities to the region. That’s why the city, along with Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, hired Rickey Hayes to bring those opportunities to Enid.
Hayes was keynote speaker for Enid/Garfield County Development Alli-ance’s annual meeting, held Thursday at the James W. Strate Center for Business Development at Autry Tech-nology Center.
Hayes is president of Retail Attractions, an economic development consulting firm that focuses mainly on retail development.
Most notably, Hayes led economic efforts in Owasso that resulted in development of more than 4.2 million square feet of new retail space and restaurants during his six-year tenure in Owasso.
“There are four kinds of cities,” Hayes said. “There are forward cities and backward cities, and there’s backward cities trying to get forward, and there’s backward cities that have absolutely no intention of changing.”
Enid, he said, is a forward city.
One of Hayes’ key points was the benefit of a city bringing in large sales tax revenues from retail businesses. To illustrate, he said Owasso increased local tax revenues from the retail sector from $600,000 a month in 2002 to $1,000,005 a month in 2007.
“That’s economic development in base terms,” he said.
As for Enid, Hayes envisions building the city as a regional economic and retail hub.
According to data prepared by Hayes, about 125,000 to 130,000 people live within Enid’s retail marketing area. That region includes northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas.
Hayes said a few assets Enid has for the surrounding area are existing space for new retail opportunities and a central location for banking and health services.
So what kind of new businesses can he foresee coming to Enid?
“I know at least half a dozen national restaurants who have already identified Enid as a target city,” Hayes said. Other stores, such as Target and Best Buy, also might be convinced to open in Enid through incentives and phone calls. Even an outdoor store with guns, such as Cabela’s, could thrive, he said.
Offering incentive packages to restaurants and other new businesses is key, he said.
Other small things, he added, could be done to enhance the attractiveness of the city for business growth.
“I think there are some minor changes that could improve (the city) vastly,” Hayes said.
Brent Kisling, executive director of the development alliance, said after meeting with Hayes he was surprised at the number of opportunities Enid has to grow.
“We realized that we didn’t know a whole lot of stuff about what people were going to Oklahoma City to buy or to Tulsa to buy or to Wichita to buy,” he said. “We didn’t really know what our trade area was.
“Just within a couple of months, (Hayes) was able to identify some of that stuff for us.”