Although Enid has seen a number of business closures in the last year or so, the city’s economic development continues to trend up as new businesses have become either established or announcing plans to open.

“Enid’s no different from any other community in the country in that it had its own share of closings unfortunately. Retail, as everybody understands, is changing drastically,” said Rickey Hayes, the city’s retail consultant. “Retail is changing, and the retailers that are growing right now are retailers that understand the new consumer attitudes toward purchasing and understanding the online phenomena that’s taking place.”

In the past

Closures during the last year or so and in the near future include Kmart, Payless ShoeSource, the Hallmark store and Western Sizzlin after its owner retired.

“Enid’s retail market is growing year to year because the annual retail sales going up prove that. The thing about Enid is it’s really the retail hub for a huge geographical area in Northwest Oklahoma. You guys have consumers coming in from north and west and south and east of you that come for the banking and the medical services, and for the retail,” Hayes said.

In the present

Some recent openings include Land Run Steakhouse, Casey’s General Store, Putnam 6 Bookstore and the ALDI renovation. Some businesses underway are Enid Brewing Company, Discount Tire, Best Western GLŌ hotel and Swadley’s World Famous Bar-B-Q, the latter locating in the former Western Sizzlin location.

In addition to those businesses, officials recently announced at an Enid City Commission meeting the Lahoma Courts addition at Garriott and Cleveland is finally going to be developed for retail industry.

The commission approved the sale of the Lahoma Courts property to Kyle Williams, who has plans for a Colton’s Steak House & Grill and Jiffy Trip and is working on a movie theater, as well.

“It’s taken a long time, and it’s taken a lot of work, and there’s been a lot of people frustrated at times over it, but it finally is coming together. (It’s) just a testament to the city’s and the commissioners’ vision and their tenacity to make stuff happen,” Hayes said. “We’ve got some others coming, too. I can’t name them yet until we get a little bit further down the road, but a lot more activity on the way.”

In the future

Following that city commission meeting, Ward 3 Commissioner Ben Ezzell said developing the property will continue to boost Enid’s economic growth.

“This is the best deal we have been offered in this property,” Ezzell previously said. “It is going to bring a lot to the heart of Enid … this is going to be a really fantastic project, and I am confident that Williams is going to do a really good job.”

It does help that the roots of retail in Northwest Oklahoma are in Enid, Hayes said.

He attributes that to a number of factors including the economy, residential growth, the work of Enid Regional Development Alliance and the city’s aggressive nature in pursing economic development. He referenced a recent night driving downtown and by the event center to justify his belief in Enid’s ability to continue to grow.

“The whole downtown, all you could see was cars, you couldn’t see any parking lot. So when you get those people coming in out of town spending their dollars, that’s what turns the sales tax up and really creates what we’re trying to really establish in Enid as a regional retail draw that brings in outside dollars into the city,” Hayes said. “Enid’s population generates a great deal of sales, but what’s really stellar for the city is the outside dollars coming in.”

Story provided by Enid News & Eagle

Written by: Ryan Miller