December 10, 2010
STILLWATER, Okla. — Rumors surrounding new businesses in Stillwater circulate around the community, and while some of those rumors are not true, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director for Economic Development Josh McKim is excited about various projects for next year.
The buzz about one prospective business has been discussed on multiple occasions. McKim said Target Corp. considered Stillwater as an approved site for a new location before the economy was in trouble. Now that the economy seems to be improving, the rumors about Target are surfacing again.
Target officials said they will not be building a location in Stillwater in 2011, however. Raslyn Wooten, senior specialist communications for Target, said the retail store plans to open a location in Moore, but does not have plans to build a new store in Stillwater in 2011.
“I’m very hopeful for (Target) in the future,” McKim said.
McKim said he is hopeful that some projects will come to fruition in 2011.
“We’ve got some great projects on the cusp,” he said.
While business recruitment is important to economic development in Stillwater, he added, business retention is more of his focus.
“Business retention consumes more of my thought process than business recruitment,” he said. “Existing businesses is where you have to focus economic development.”
McKim said he sees a positive movement in the economy that he is excited about. One of those positive movements is an interest from major employers. McKim said he has seen a rise in interest from them.
One way of looking back on 2010 and how Stillwater fared is the city sales tax numbers, which McKim said are up from projections. He attributed some of that growth to Price Gregory.
“Price Gregory had a lot of impact on the community,” he said. “Even after Price Gregory I see positives in the community from local growth.
“2010 hasn’t been a bad year. I’m optimistic about 2011 being a good year.”
One of the ways the Chamber of Commerce is encouraging economic development now is through the Jingle Bell Sweepstakes.
The sweepstakes encourages Stillwater residents to shop locally, which McKim said is important during the Christmas season because that is when retailers either make or break themselves.
McKim said shopping locally makes a huge difference in the local economy, and he encourages people to try and find products in Stillwater before going to Tulsa or Oklahoma City. The tax dollars that come from people shopping locally provide various services, he said.
The Jingle Bell Sweepstakes has a $500 winner each week and will have the final event at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 18 in Pioneer Stadium when the $10,000 grand prize winner will be drawn. McKim said none of the weekly winners have picked up their prizes yet. Those winners have until Dec. 17 to claim them or the prizes will be given away during the final event.