Don't expect to see an Ikea in OKC metro in near future
The Oklahoman's Brianna Bailey chatted with readers Thursday morning about Oklahoma City retail and other business news. You can join Brianna's Q&A's at 10 a.m. the second Thursday of every month. Below is an edited excerpt from the chat.
Q: With Trader Joe's and H&M now in OKC, the retail players that used to force my wife and me to make at least a yearly trip to Dallas are diminishing. The one that remains that has no real counterpart here is Ikea. There seems to be a lot of talk in the rumor mill about how they will never come here due to the population size. However, now that there is a Jacksonville, Fla., store in the works, does our market stand any better chance? It's my understanding that it is a relatively comparable community in population, with OKC being larger in physical size. Do you have any thoughts or insight on this?
A: Ikea looks for a market with a trade footprint of at least 2 million people. Oklahoma City still falls a little shy of that, and people are willing to drive from Oklahoma City to Dallas. Ikea also likes port cities. It just makes sense. Jacksonville is a port city.
Q: Is there any update on Trader Joe's?
A: Trader Joe's still has not announced an official opening date, but management at Nichols Hills Plaza says they have heard the store will open in September.
Q: What ever happened with that downtown Park Avenue retail study from way back when?
A: The study found that Park Avenue needed to be made more inviting to shoppers. The study also recommended some city incentives to help lure stores to the area.
Unfortunately, there is no funding right now for any of the recommendations made in the study. Sales tax collections are down and Oklahoma City is tightening its belt right now. But that's not to say it won't happen in the future.
Q: I saw Hooters closed in Bricktown. Any idea what may replace it? I went down there, and it was very disappointing. A scattering of businesses. Limited options. A couple of restaurants and a ton of empty buildings.
A: Yes, Hooters is closing. Captain Norm's Dockside Bar and Coach's have closed in Bricktown as well. And we lost Spaghetti Warehouse. Bricktown isn't as hot of an area as it was 10 years ago, but there's still new stuff popping up there. All About Cha just opened in the old Mercantile building.
I think Bricktown can be a tough place to make money as a retailer because your business depends a lot on what is going on during weekends and things might be dead all week.