Despite a strong market, it’s fairly complicated to bring retailers to Enid because of where they want to be located, a city retail consultant says.  “There’s usually other development already there. The model has kind of been a redevelopment type situation,” Rickey Hayes, of Retail Attractions, says. “You can apply that to the Academy (Sports and Outdoors) deal that just got done. That was on dirt that already had been developed. “Even though the market’s strong and good, it just takes a little extra time to get it done because of all that’s involved.”

It’s not hard to distinguish the community’s retail corridor on Garriott, he says. “In Enid, the corridor is fairly defined. It’s the same in Stillwater,” Hayes says. “That’s one of the things that has maybe slowed stuff down, is because a lot of it has to be redeveloped. That’s a little bit more tenuous and a little bit harder, but … the market’s strong and it’s strong enough to make the private sector do what they have to do to get the retail on the ground; and the retailers are so determined in the desire to get in the market, to the extent they’ll go through the hoops you have to, to get open.”

Hayes thinks a lot of future Enid retail will be deals like Academy Sports and Outdoors, which picked an area to redevelop. “Oakwood and Garriott is really the heart of the watermelon, in terms of where the tenants all want to focus. Obviously, you know about a site at Cleveland and Garriott that we’re working on, and there’s interest there. There’s interest in the Oakwood Mall site, obviously. You just saw McAlister’s restaurant open on a redevelopment site,” he says.  Hayes has worked in 36 states and more than 350 cities.

“One of the hardest parts of my job is to educate elected officials sometimes on how long this process takes. It’s a long, long process,” he says. “We’re about to go to the International Council of Shopping Centers Convention in May … and we will be talking, out there, about 2017 retail deals. That’s the thing, the retailers that you’re seeing come — like McAlister’s, and Academy and these other retailers that you see coming to the market now — these were deals that we’ve been working on for 24 to 36 months prior to you actually seeing them coming to town.” At the end of 2015, the city of Enid was approaching a billion a year in retail sales, Hayes says.

“We’re over $900 million in retail sales, which makes us probably the seventh or eighth largest retail market in the state of Oklahoma,” he says. “So, Academy’s going to be a great fit for filling that sporting goods gap that’s been not filled for a number of years.” Dick’s Sporting Goods is going to be a part of the mall deal, Hayes says. “The two leading national retail sporting good retailers are going to be in your market. That’s a category that has always been leaning. We haven’t had that category filled in the whole time I’ve been working there,” he says. “I believe, not only will that keep sales tax — that has been leaving the market — in Enid, I think it will draw some regional sales tax in that’s been going to Oklahoma City and others.”

Story by:  Enid News & Eagle