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Survey reveals which retailers are looking at Oklahoma

Katherine Boccaccio, senior editor of Chain Store Age magazine, gives in-depth insight into the retail real estate market here.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: September 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm •  Published: September 4, 2012
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REI is moving closer, with its first Kansas store opening in the fall of 2013. The outdoor retailer says it only opens five to eight stores per year so it will take time, but Oklahoma is on the radar.

H&M will open 275 stores globally this year, including one in Austin, its seventh in Texas. The clothing retailer says its target markets are the West, Southwest, Southeast and South Central U.S. so it could make its way here soon.

Grocery

Sprouts Farmers Market, which recently merged with Sunflower Farmers Market, is signing leases in Tulsa and Bixby, adding two more stores to our state. Already, there are stores in Edmond and Oklahoma City, and a Norman location is expected to open next year.

The Fresh Market, another specialty grocery store, entered our market this summer with a store in Tulsa. No additional locations are planned.

Trader Joe's is picking up the pace with expansion this year, with plans to open 30 stores a year. It just introduced its brand to Texas, so it's ripe for expansion into Oklahoma.

Whole Foods is adding a store at 91st and Yale in Tulsa — its third in the state — and is looking to expand in smaller, secondary markets around the country, so there is potential for more announcements here.

Beverages & more!, or “BevMo!,†an alcoholic beverages chain, said it can't do business here because of the state's liquor laws.

Same story with Costco, which has 600 locations around the globe but none in Oklahoma. Company Chairman Jeff Brotman emailed Boccaccio a “frowny face†when asked to comment on Oklahoma.

Restaurants

Panera Bread announced aggressive expansion plans to open 115-120 locations in the U.S. and Canada this year. It's also looking at branching out from its typical suburban locations into urban areas. A local franchisee has plans to open a Panera Bread near downtown, a free-standing restaurant with a drive-thru. Other metro-area locations may be remodeled and retrofitted with a drive-thru.

Corner Bakery Cafe is “very interested†in Oklahoma but a franchise deal fell through and the retailer is looking for a new franchisee.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop says Oklahoma's density “is a little light†and has no plans to open here.

Others

Sur La Table, an upscale kitchen chain, is targeting New York, Chicago, Atlanta and California for expansion right now but expects to take a look at Tulsa and Oklahoma City in three to five years.

The Container Store has been scouting sites here but apparently has yet to find the perfect location.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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