By BOB LEWIS Managing Editor
Retail development is not an ideal undertaking for those who must have instant gratification. "We are working on 2010 and 2011 deals," said Rickey Hayes, a noted retail developer who has been retained by the Broken Arrow Area Chamber of Commerce and BA Economic Development Corp. to help plug the retail leakage that has plagued the city for years. Will the changing political scene in Washington and today's roller coaster economic environment be a factor? "Absolutely. But when the market rights itself which it will do those aggressive cities that are well zoned will be in a tremendously strong position," Hayes noted.
His goal is to use his extensive list of contacts and all forms of communication to make sure Broken Arrow is one of those cities.
Looking candidly at the community, Hayes believes BA has more advantages than did Owasso, the city where he earned his reputation as a master in enhancing retail environments.
"This city is growing rapidly and it is absolutely true that rooftops grow retail," he said. It also has what he called "a diamond on the hill" in Bass Pro.
The importance of that store, he said, cannot be overstated because of the impact it has on other major retailers. The Target store coming here is also a major plus, Hayes believes.
One of the factors that traditionally works against Broken Arrow is the lack of separation between it and Tulsa and the close proximity of Woodland Hills Mall.
"That doesn't help us," Hayes admitted, "but it doesn't keep us from spreading the word that Broken Arrow is an under-served retail market."
In terms of "hot areas" for retail, Hayes pointed to the developing eastside project as an obvious choice. But he said areas along the Creek Turnpike and Broken Arrow rnpike Expressway offer a number of opportunities as do individual corners in heavy residential areas.
Hayes said his long-term goal is to help Broken Arrow become a regional shopping site that attracts business from Wagoner, Muskogee, Haskell, Coweta and other nearby communities.
"Bass Pro being here proves we already have the ability to do that. What we need to do now is build upon that ability," he said.