By Tim Farley
A retail development firm hired to attract more businesses to Piedmont has contacted 39 companies about locating here, according to the company’s latest activity log.
Rickey Hayes, owner of Owasso-based Retail Attractions, Inc., submitted a report that shows he contacted numerous national chains that own multiple brands. The contacts included Advance Auto Parts, Luby’s, Family Dollar Stores, Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, Sprint Nextel Corporation, AT&T Mobility, Wendy’s and Mexican Restaurants, Inc., which owns five restaurant brands.
Hayes wrote in his report that he also contacted grocery outlets Reasor’s, Homeland and Aldi’s about new store sites and development strategies in Piedmont.
Piedmont attracted Tuttle-based Williams Grocery Store in 2012 when the city council approved a 15-year sales tax rebate agreement. The pact requires the city to return $1.9 million to the store during the life of the agreement. City officials have said they pay Williams at least $10,000 a month in rebates.
Hayes also contacted clothing and shoe stores such as Claire’s, Name Brands, Maurice’s and Payless Shoes.
City Manager Jason Orr said some of the companies have been “very receptive.” He declined further comment. Hayes was unavailable for comment on the report.
Hayes also wrote in the report that he contacted Furniture Factory Outlet, Children’s Orchard and Winmark Corporation, which owns Plato’s Closet, Music Go Round, Play It Again Sports and Pete First.
The retail development work for Piedmont also took Hayes to a Dallas conference that included a “lot of site selectors,” Orr said.
Other contacts include Taco Mayo, Sport Clips, Papa Murphy’s, Whataburger, Autozone, Captain D’s, U.S. Calvary, DryClean USA, Rib Crib, K&M Tire, DryClean USA and Crow-Burlingame Company, which owns auto repair stores Bumper to Bumper.
Hayes met with city officials and citizens Wednesday to discuss the business recruitment progress.
Before landing his contract with the city, Hayes said the business recruitment process could take up to two years.
Retail Attractions will be paid $4,000 a month for 10 months plus travel expenses to economic development conferences in Texas and Las Vegas. The contract can be renewed at the beginning of the next fiscal year in July.
Hayes assured the Piedmont city council in August the community is ripe for retail development. He cited Piedmont’s educational attainment, median household income and housing value as three key figures that already have drawn interest from national retailers.
Hayes told the council during his August presentation that he discovered 47 percent of Piedmont residents have college degrees and the average household income is $96,446. He also told the council the city’s median housing value is slightly less than $200,000.
“That is astronomical. It’s off the charts,” he said at the time. “I don’t know of any other community in Oklahoma that has near the income your city has.”
More figures provided by Hayes proves Piedmont residents are spending large amounts of their money outside the city limits.
Hayes also told the council in August that residents are spending $10 million a year on food and beverages outside of Piedmont. With a 5 percent sales tax, Piedmont is missing $500,000 a year in revenue based only on food and beverages sales.
Comprehensive market surveys, also known as leakage reports, conducted by Retail Attractions show Piedmont residents are spending more than $80 million a year outside the city limits on items ranging from auto parts and building materials to food and drinks.
Retail Attractions shows people living in Piedmont city limits spend more than $24 million on vehicles and parts at businesses in Oklahoma City and elsewhere. In addition, Piedmont residents spend more than $10 million at general merchandise stores and restaurants and bars located outside the city limits.
The leakage report also shows Piedmont is losing $8 million in supermarket and grocery sales, nearly $6 million in gas and convenience store sales, $5.5 million in building materials and garden equipment and almost $5 million in clothing and accessories.
Based on the $80 million in leakage figures, Piedmont is losing an estimated $4 million in sales tax revenue. Piedmont has a 5 percent sales tax rate.
“Obviously, that is a lot of revenue. If you just had the sales tax for the online purchase, you’d have a quarter million dollars a year,” Hayes said.
The leakage report shows Piedmont residents spent $9.4 million on online purchases in the last 12 months.
Another leakage report that examines the purchases of residents within a 5-mile radius of Piedmont shows $186 million in sales outside the city limits in eight categories. Those classifications are motor vehicles and parts dealers, general merchandise, restaurants and bars, online, supermarkets and grocery stores, building materials and supply dealers, gasoline stations and convenience stores, clothing and accessories.
A third report detailing purchases by people living within a 10-mile radius show the leakage figure at $625 million.