'Enid is a Target city': Retail consultant discusses future plans

City of Enid retail consultant Rickey Hayes discusses development plans Thursday during the Enid Regional Development Alliance luncheon.

ENID, Okla. — Enid could be experiencing some major new retail developments in the near future.

During an Enid Regional Development Alliance luncheon Thursday afternoon, Rickey Hayes, a retail development specialist in partnership with the city, revealed that three potential tenants have expressed interest in moving into the vacant Kmart building at 4010 W. Garriott.

Hayes is founder and CEO of Retail Attractions, LLC, which specializes in economic development consulting, and has been working with Enid for six years.

The owner of the vacant Kmart building is currently "working with the three tenants," Hayes said.

"With old buildings like this there's benefits, which is it's already there, we just have to remodel it, but there's also hindrances and the asbestos word comes up, because it's an old building," he said. "What we're trying to do is get these tenants comfortable with the depth of the market and then see if we can make the economics work."

Hayes also discussed the possibility of another well-known national retail chain opening in Enid.

"I still think Enid is a Target city ... it's just a matter of time," he said.

The Minneapolis-based retailer is preparing to expand, he said, and is "focused on new growth."

A statement from Target received by the News & Eagle Friday, April 12, 2019, reports that while the retailer "is continually evaluating potential store locations to serve new guests" there was not "any new-store news to share for Enid."

Store openings announced through 2022 can be found at https://corporate.target.com/about/shopping-experience. There are no listing for Oklahoma.

As to why Hayes thinks Enid is one day destined to have a Target of its own, he highlighted the city's unique geographic location, assets and economic strength.

"We try to sell them on the fiscal health of the entire economy of the city, and yours is very, very strong, and that's why these other people are investing," Hayes said, referring to recent additions like TJ Maxx and Academy Sports + Outdoors.

Enid isn't just the regional hub for commerce, he said, it is the regional hub for banking, medical services, educational services "and a ton of other things that make this market very desirable."

Amid the forecast of change, there is at least one, massive, piece of real estate expected to stay the same.

"You like the mall? Good, because it isn't going to change," Hayes said.

After two attempts to revitalize the largely empty Oakwood Mall, Hayes and city leaders are doubtful it will turn a corner any time soon.

"The mall's going to be just like it is 10 years from now," Hayes said.

In June 2012, Jim Dill, CEO of Tulsa-based developer Vector Companies, announced plans to “de-mall” Oakwood Mall by eliminating the enclosed spaces and creating exterior entrances for the shops. However, Vector and J. Herzog & Sons, mall owners at the time, could not reach agreement on a deal and parted ways in 2014.

Then, in fall 2014, S Squared Development entered the picture, signing a contract to acquire the property. But, fell through as S Squared terminated the contract in 2016.

In 2016, the mall was purchased by Sb Retail Group Carlsbad LLC.

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Willetts is education reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. He can be reached at mwilletts@enidnews.com.

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