Retailers — from restaurant operators to mall developers — have been very interested in Oklahoma City during this year’s International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas, which ended Tuesday, city officials said.
About 30,000 people attend the convention each year, with retailers scouting new franchisees and locations and cities hoping to attract new businesses. This year, Oklahoma City was getting a lot of attention. "You can tell there has been a real shift in the perception of Oklahoma City’s market,” said Cynthia Reid, vice president of marketing for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. The Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team’s playoff appearance and a recent announcement that Whole Foods is coming to town have given Oklahoma City representatives a lot to brag about. Reid said they have had promising meetings with retailers such as a ladies fashion and home decor store, a gourmet sandwich and bakery chain, a national discount department store, fast casual dining operators, several mall and shopping center developers and a specialty grocery store. The meetings were confidential, so Reid declined to name the retailers. But, she added, the chance of securing at least one new lease deal is high.