By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
The retail future looks bright in this northwest Oklahoma community of about 12,000 people.
Woodward Chamber of Commerce President CJ Montgomery said the city’s retail sector is looking “great.”
“We’re extremely excited about the retail future here,” he said. “Northwest Oklahoma never did suffer as much as some other areas of the state and country.”
Montgomery said the city is on the rebound from the recession, and sales tax numbers are on the rise.
“Last month, we were well over $100,000 more than what they were the same month last year,” he said. “Sales tax receipts are over $1 million higher than what they were last year.”
Ongoing construction projects and a resurgence in the energy industry are what Montgomery credits for the city’s growth.
“The development of wind energy is playing a huge part,” he said. “The resurgence of oil and gas activity also is playing a major role.”
The construction of a $10 million county jail and an ongoing $25 million project for improvements at Crystal Beach Park also are being credited for Woodward’s retail growth. Ground was also broken on the Woodward Conference Center project, which will create a 29,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility.
“I’m extremely excited,” Montgomery said. “It may not be back where it needs to be, but we’re doing well.”
Montgomery also attributes the city’s success to the “pioneering spirit” of the its people.
“It’s a combination of the work ethic and the mindset you find in folks that separates you from everybody else,” he said. “It’s just a great area to call home.”
To accommodate expanding energy interests, several hotels have been constructed over the past few years.
“Within the past year, probably close to 200 new hotel rooms were added,” Montgomery said.