Tammy Fate is the manager of retail development and recruitment for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.
Why is retail important?
Retail is the lifeblood to our community that ultimately funds critical services like: police, fire, public safety and enhances our quality of life. That means every dollar you spend in OKC keeps our city going. Beyond that, retail helps give areas a sense of place. Whether it is local or national retailers, places like the Plaza, Bricktown, Western Avenue, Uptown 23, Midtown, Penn Square or the Memorial corridor, creating an experience and gathering spot is a way to keep retail alive and vibrant.
What makes Oklahoma City attractive to national retailers?
National retailers are really number driven. Average household income, number of people within a given area, traffic counts and commuter patterns are crucial to identify the perfect site. Competition is another factor that weighs in on decision making. Retailers are attracted to a city with a positive population growth and a vibrant and affordable quality of life. Having a healthy downtown core resonates throughout the city and makes Oklahoma City an attractive market.
What is Oklahoma City’s strategy in recruiting retail?
Attracting new-to-market, destination retailers and working with developers to create experienced based retail options in our community. Given the size of Oklahoma City, grocery stores continue to be an important component in developing outlying areas in our city. In addition to recruiting new, we work with existing retailers to provide research, data and a variety of tools to help grow and identity opportunities in our market.
How does local retail fit in the picture?
Local retail is extremely, extremely important to us. So much of our local identity is defined by our unique/one of kind local restaurants and boutique shops. We are thrilled every time we can recruit a Trader Joe’s or Cabela’s to the metro. However, lots of cities have Trader Joe’s. Concepts like Big Truck Tacos, Kitchen No. 324, Plenty Mercantile and Black Scintilla help create the fabric in our community that people identify OKC with when they visit our market. It’s a part of our DNA. It takes a healthy mix of local and national retailers to cultivate a city and provide a variety of diverse offerings to you as the consumer.