The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Northwest Oklahoma 2 2011

March 12, 2011

Watonga connected to a development CORD

Recruiting and developing business is not just a larger community endeavor. A number of small communities in northwest Oklahoma are working on economic development and are finding success.

Watonga, in Blaine County, has two projects ongoing, according to Todd Lafferty, member of Watonga Chamber of Commerce’s economic development committee.

The Watonga chamber took the lead in a project to list vacant buildings and their dimensions, so if someone is looking at Watonga for relocation a list of those available buildings will be provided.

The chamber also is involved in a sales tax project currently being reviewed by the city attorney. Lafferty said if an existing business wants to make permanent improvements exceeding $5,000  it can apply for a program that could return a portion of its sales tax earned from those improvements.

The sales tax income of a business is recorded, and if the business’ improvement earns extra sales tax, that amount, above the baseline tax, will be rebated to the business for six years or until the improvement is paid for.

If sales tax does not increase, no rebate is received. Only one project at a time is eligible.

If the business applying is new, the city will figure the first year’s sales tax as a baseline.

Watonga also is a member of Central Oklahoma Regional Development group or CORD. Other member cities include Calumet, El Reno, Geary, Hinton, Kingfisher, Minco, Okarche, Piedmont and Union City, said Gene Pflughoft, executive director.

“You find gems in every community. With our base we are a microcosm of the whole state with both urban and rural areas,” he said. Pflughoft said he tries to teach people to think economic development.

He follows a four-step plan.

Step 1: Work to keep existing businesses. There is nothing worse than to have a business move out or close and no one knows about it, he said.

Step 2: Help existing businesses expand. Pflughoft holds courses on self-development, supervision and customer service to help businesses to grow. One business in his group has been purchasing a product from out of state. Pflughoft discovered a machine shop in another community that could manufacture the product and now one business is buying from another business in his group.

“Two member of CORD are buying from one another,” he said.

Step 3: Entrepreneurship. Pflughoft said he has helped more than 700 businesses start since 1990, including a $2,500 petting zoo and an $80 million soy diesel plant. He thinks there are good opportunities in northwest Oklahoma.

“I always ask where they want to be in five years,” he said.

Pflughoft has started an entrepreneurship club in each community that teaches what it takes to start and operate a business.

“If one person starts a business, others start thinking they can, too,” he said. “Look around and see what your community needs.”

Step 4: Recruiting business.  Pflughoft said he would prefer growing a local business, but there always are companies willing to relocate. The key, however, is businesses must be developed.

“Every community has unique needs. Some are growing so fast they need retail businesses to come in,” he said. “Sam Walton started out with one store. They don’t start as mega-companies.

Pflughoft said someone apologized to him recently because they were “only a mom and pop” store. They employ two people.

“I told them not to apologize because they supported three families,” he said. “They are a good, stable company.”Ⱐ

Text Only
Northwest Oklahoma 2 2011
  • Cover.jpg Northwest Oklahoma Part 2 2011

    One of the attributes of living in Enid and Northwest Oklahoma is the abundant pride residents have in its people, land and businesses. The 2011 News & Eagle Progress edition highlights these areas and pays tribute to all of those who make our region shine 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

    March 12, 2011 1 Photo

  • Kingfisher_Doctors_BH.jpg Is there a doctor in the house?

    Dr. Brett J. Krablan of Kingfisher said it’s hard enough to recruit people to become primary care physicians, rather than specialty doctors, but it’s even harder to get them to rural areas.

    March 12, 2011 1 Photo

  • ChisholmTrailMuseum_5_BV.jpg Museum opens door to the past

    The Chisholm Trail once was the most notorious cattle trail in the nation. The trail served as a pathway leading cattle north to Kansas railheads to be shipped to the other parts of the country. The main portion of the trail ran along what is now U.S. 81.

    March 12, 2011 4 Photos

  • Living history event set in April

    On April 15 and 16 Chisholm Trail Museum, 605 Zellers Ave., in Kingfisher, is having a living history event.

    March 12, 2011

  • T.B.FergusonHome_1_BV.jpg History hits home in Watonga

    T.B. Ferguson, born in 1857 near Des Moines, Iowa, brought his family to Watonga in 1892 after a land run that settled the area.

    March 12, 2011 4 Photos

  • Watonga_Business_1_BV.jpg Watonga connected to a development CORD

    “You find gems in every community. With our base we are a microcosm of the whole state with both urban and rural areas.” — Gene Pflughoft, executive director of Central Oklahoma Regional Development

    March 12, 2011 2 Photos

  • ChisholmTrailTech_1_BV.jpg Smart way to learn

    Students apply for positions based on their desired training areas and learn at computer stations with fellow students next to them working on different aspects of the business.

    March 12, 2011 4 Photos

  • roman nose 2.jpg Renovated, ready for action

    The original lodge structure, built in the 1950s, was renovated with an emphasis on modern architecture showcasing the park area’s past and reason for existence today.

    March 12, 2011 3 Photos

  • Glass_Mtns_3_BH.jpg Northwest Oklahoma slide show

    Northwest Oklahoma offers a lot of resources when it comes to business, entertainment and simply finding a nice landscape on which to rest an eye.

    March 12, 2011 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Hennessey_ShaeBrinson.jpg Hometown Hootenanny

    “I don’t think there are many places you can go for $3. Our intention isn’t to make money; our objective to have place for people to go.” — Cathy Howard, organizer.

    March 12, 2011 3 Photos