In a May 3, 2012, interview with The Journal Record, former Nichols Hills Mayor Sody Clements noted Chesapeake officials had assured her at the time they were hoping to have a store open by fall 2012. She was told the store would sell more mainstream grocery staples in contrast to a Whole Foods opened nearby at Chesapeake-owned Classen Curve.
Whole Foods and the remainder of Classen Curve is outside Nichols Hills city limits, and the drugstore is moving to an Oklahoma City address.
After the loss of Crescent Market, sales tax collections for Nichols Hills dropped 17 percent, for the year ending June 30, 2012, when compared to the same period the previous year, Oklahoma Tax Commission records show.
Nichols Hills City Manager David Poole and Mayor Peter Hoffman did not return numerous calls from The Oklahoman this past week inquiring about how the loss of retail and sales tax revenues at Nichols Hills Plaza would impact the town’s operations.
Construction on the former Crescent Market space started and stopped repeatedly over the last year with no announcement of an operator.
In a June 7, 2012, story, Reuters reported internal records at Chesapeake showed the energy company was planning to go into the grocery business itself and put two grocery store managers on its payroll with combined salaries exceeding $200,000.
Black said he is uncertain whether the grocery is still on track.
“They (Chesapeake officials) came in six months ago, and said they weren’t going to build me a space in the market,” Black said. “They had another space across the way, but those folks didn’t want to move out. So we got a take it or leave it on another spot on the west side. But it was too big for us.”
Pemberton, who has since retired from the grocery business, said he is not surprised that a market has failed to materialize as planned.
“It’s pretty much going the way I thought it would,” Pemberton said. “It’s more than they really planned on — the grocery business is not easy. And they’re used to dealing with a lot better percentages.”