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Articles

Officials work toward growth of retail market

ENID, Okla. — Enid’s retail market has grown over the past seven years, and officials continue to work on attracting businesses and restaurants.

“I think the important thing to understand with the retail market in Enid is that over the last seven years, we’ve gone from around $650 million in total retail sales to well over $800 million in retail sales. We had peaked a couple years ago at $900 million, whenever we were at the height of the price of oil and gas in our area,” said Brent Kisling, Enid Regional Development Alliance executive director. “We really have a new normal when it comes to retail sales in our community.”

The new normal is the result of continuing to grow in population and in wealth, and Enid has been much more aggressive in its attraction of retail outlets to the community, he said.

“Our goal over the next seven years at the Enid Regional Development Alliance is to find a way for Enid to become a billion dollar community when it comes to retail sales,” Kisling said.

In order for that to happen, Enid needs more people, through population or tourism activities, coming to the community and spending money, Kisling said.

“The second thing we need is more wealth in the area. We need higher incomes. We need to attract jobs with higher incomes. We need things like wind energy and oil and gas production to help pump more dollars into our economy,” he said. “And then the third thing we have to do is we have to maintain our aggressive approach to attracting retail outlets to the community and tell our story.

“Enid is unique in the retail world because we’re a town of 50,000 people, but we have over 130,000 people that shop in our community on a weekly basis. So we have to tell that story to retail, in order to attract them to our local economy.”

Destination creation
The way retail happens has changed significantly throughout the past five to 10 years, Kisling said.

“Retail is no longer about you just pulling up to a store, buying something and going home, because you can do that in the comfort of your home on Amazon or eBay or any online purchasing site. What’s new with retail is now shopping is an experience, and we have to make sure that Enid is a pleasant experience for everybody in Northwest Oklahoma and our current residents,” he said.

Often people come to Enid for health care venues or a sporting event and make a purchase while in town.

“We’ve got to make sure that it is a great shopping experience when they come here,” Kisling said. “Another big priority for us is our movie theater. We’re working very aggressively to work with AMC to improve the movie theater in Enid or to find other options for movie theaters in Enid because, again, that’s an attraction for people all across the region to come to our area, watch a movie and spend more money while they’re here.”

Working to develop
Oakwood Mall changed ownership about a year ago, he noted.

“We would love to see the new owners be aggressive in marketing that space and bring retailers in, but we’ve not interacted with them a lot over the last several months,” Kisling said.

Lahoma Courts is a major focus for the community right now, Kisling said. The properties being accumulated at Cleveland and U.S. 412 are prime for retail development, officials have reported.

“It is certainly not our only focus whenever it comes to locations for retail. We’re blessed with a very significant traffic count on Highway 412, which retailers absolutely love, and that goes all the way from the far west side of Enid, really, all the way to the heart of our community. We’re blessed with very strong traffic counts. It makes the selling of Enid a whole lot easier for us when we talk to retailers,” he said.

City Manager Jerald Gilbert said the city still is working with the same developer with Lahoma Courts.

“They’re working on a proposal,” he said. “We’re expecting to have something to take to the commission early in March, as far as a development proposal at that site.”

The Jiffy Trip will be constructed on the northeast corner of Garland and Garriott, and Gilbert said he expects that development to be happening fairly soon.

“We still have some gaps in our retail that we’re trying to fill,” he said, adding those gaps include men’s clothing, furniture stores, more restaurants and specialty type stores. “Those are the things that we’re working on. That work is primarily done with our retail consultant, Rickey Hayes, and I know that the Enid Regional Development Alliance does some work.”

The city’s retail consultant, Rickey Hayes, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Gilbert also mentioned there recently has been discussion on new restaurants coming to town.

“Nothing I can mention yet, but that seems like that may be promising for the near future,” he said.
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