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Oklahoma City’s booming business grabbing attention of national retailers

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OKLAHOMA CITY - While many areas around the country were forced to close businesses, city leaders say Oklahoma City's retail industry is booming.

"I think we created a lot of pent-up demand and then, all of a sudden, it exploded. I think that's what's really going on now," Roy Williams, with the Oklahoma City Greater Chamber, said.

Williams said the retail industry has grown 6.4 percent in Oklahoma City in just the past year alone.

"Most markets don't see numbers like that. That's very substantial," Williams said.

It took $15 million to renovate what was once Sears to put in the high-end department store Von Maur, which gives the local economy a boost.

"It's nice that we can create some extra jobs that are permanent,” Jessica Stetler, manager at Von Maur,  said. “You know, most of our stores are full-time."

Von Maur shoppers say the convenience of having the store here is huge.

"There were certain things I purchased here when I was in Indiana, so I would just have them shipped here, so now it makes it convenient," Kathy Lovelace said.

The chamber is now trying to attract specialty stores like Ikea, The Container Store and Costco.

"We know people here are leaving town and spending money in those stores. So if we get them here, we stop them from what we call retail bleeding and you keep those retail sales local," Williams said.

Williams credits Oklahoma's population and wage growth for the booming retail industry.

"They want to go into places that are thriving, and we're thriving," he said.

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