Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Economic Developer Reports on Contacts

Rickey Hayes, economic development consultant and founder of Retail Attractions, reported to Sallisaw city commissioners on possible new businesses at their regular meeting Monday.

Hayes said several businesses have indicated they are interested in considering Sallisaw for new locations, but because of confidentiality concerns, he could not name the businesses in a public meeting.

Hayes said he has visited with two restaurants, one a sit-down restaurant and one a fast-food restaurant, several retailers including a small box store, and entertainment and recreational-use businesses.

During Hayes’ presentation he reported the recreational-use business was interested in Brushy Lake, north of Sallisaw, now a city park and the city’s water supply. He said this business recently opened on Keystone Lake, 18 miles west of Tulsa.

That business is Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park RV Campground, which offers, according to their website, camping, cabins, lake and pool swimming, a beach, fishing piers, numerous water sports and other activities.

Hayes said the entertainment industry will need a building which could house six “auditoriums,” which the city commissioners quickly guessed was a movie theater.

Hayes did not name the two new retail businesses, but City Manager Clayton Lucas said later that one was a shoe retailer. He also said the restaurants were a steakhouse and a fast-food restaurant that sold a product not available so far in Sallisaw.

“One of the restaurants,” Hayes said, “has a great deal of interest in your city.”

He said he has put together a “package” about Sallisaw for the restaurants.

Hayes said he has spoken to about 1,500 retailers about locating in Sallisaw.

But “These guys are going to say ‘How can the city help us.’ Just be patient. Because this process requires patience,” Hayes told the commissioners.

He said he would visit privately with any commissioner, one-on-one, about the businesses interested in locating in the city.

He said he hoped to bring several retailers to the city for a tour sometime in October or November. He said the city’s attraction to the retailers was Interstate 40, which most small towns don’t have.

To Mayor Jim Hudgens’ question, Hayes replied he has talked to both Walgreens and CVs but both think Sallisaw “is too small.”

He said he has also tried to interest retailers in the Eastgate Shopping Center, where the old Walmart store is located, “But the national guys just won’t come through there.”

He recommended the city work on strategy.

“Be patient,” he said. “We’ll get ‘em wrangled.”

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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