Homeland starts construction of northeast OKC store
Homeland has broken ground for a new 30,000-square-foot store at NE 36th Street and N. Lincoln Boulevard in Oklahoma City. The store will serve several neighborhoods that are currently in a food desert and will share the block with the new MAPS 3 Senior Wellness Center that is planned to be complete in mid-2022. The store and wellness center will be served by a new Embark bus shelter.
CareerTech enrollment rebounding from COVID-19
Enrollment in CareerTech programs in Oklahoma took a sizable hit in the spring when COVID-19 arrived in the state, but it has since been on the rebound, CareerTech Director Marcie Mack said. Career technology students across the state numbered 455,124 in June as compared to 558,169 counted in the same month of 2019. Mack said enrollment in short-term career training for adults was affected most obviously after many businesses closed down and Oklahomans stayed close to home due to coronavirus fears.
New roadway expected to boost development
A new roadway has opened in Stilwell that is the first step in the city’s economic development project to bring new businesses and jobs to Stilwell by providing an effective roadway to get to them. Cherokee Nation and city of Stilwell officials dedicated the new three-lane access road during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Wingfield Crossing. The new annex provides access to and from Walmart as well as expands potential new businesses on Highway 100 east.
Air Force, OSU form research partnership
The U.S. Air Force and Oklahoma State University have agreed to a five-year partnership that will develop research projects and create new educational opportunities for students and service members. The Air Force, by way of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker Air Force Base, and OSU, through several colleges including the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, will pursue joint research in areas such as radar and related sensing and communications systems, computer engineering, flight dynamics, aero propulsion and power and many more. The partnership will provide OSU faculty members and students opportunities to work in conjunction with USAF members to conduct research and develop solutions to real-world problems.
Real estate booming in military towns
Military communities in Oklahoma have weathered the coronavirus storm relatively well and are even ripe for investment in housing and commercial development, according to local leaders. In Midwest City, Lawton and Altus, which are home to Tinker Air Force Base, Fort Sill and Altus Air Force Base, real estate markets are thriving and the future looks bright for commerce supported by active-duty military members and civilian workers associated with the installations, community leaders said. Midwest City Economic Development Authority Director Robert Coleman, Lawton-Fort Sill Economic Development Corp. President Brad Cooksey, and Altus City Manager Gary Jones met Sept. 25 during an online forum on the impact of military installations in Oklahoma. The webinar was sponsored by Tinker Federal Credit Union and hosted by The Journal Record.
Devon Energy, WPX to merge
Devon Energy and WPX Energy announced they have entered into an agreement to combine in an all-stock merger. The strategic combination will create a leading unconventional oil producer in the U.S., with an asset base underpinned by a premium acreage position in the economic core of the Delaware Basin. The combined company, which will be named Devon Energy, will benefit from enhanced scale, improved margins, higher free cash flow and the financial strength to accelerate the return of cash to shareholders through an industry-first “fixed plus variable” dividend strategy.
Combination dog park, restaurant, bar to open
An off-leash dog park combined with a restaurant and a bar – Red Solo Pup – will open at Chisholm Creek in the spring. The concept is from Oklahoma City native Julianne Thomas. It is designed to allow for adequate social distancing. Thomas, a 16-year restaurant industry veteran, is creating an approachable menu that will include burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and salads. Both dine-in and grab-and-go options will be offered, and guests also can order food and beverages from a walk-up window. Only humans are allowed inside the restaurant, but leashed dogs are welcome on the patio. The 1.1-acre dog park will include separate areas for large and small dogs and feature mixed surfaces like turf, granite and mulch.
OKC sees boon in equine events
The hospitality industry continues to suffer, but during the pandemic Oklahoma City has experienced a boon in equine events that have brought thousands of visitors – and thousands of dollars – into the local economy. Greater Oklahoma City Chamber President and CEO Roy Williams presented an economic update before the Oklahoma City Council, meeting by teleconference. While the pandemic has cut deeply into revenues from some sectors of Oklahoma City’s economy, economic development professionals have worked hard over the last few months to make the most of new opportunities and to develop businesses that may have been overlooked in the past.
Experts: Childhood obesity is bad for business
Too many children in Oklahoma are too heavy. Weight issues plague teens and adults as well, to the point that the state’s workforce has been critically impaired and its ability to attract new business investment is threatened. Oklahoma Secretary of Veterans Affairs retired Brig. Gen. Ben Robinson said a lack of physical fitness also contributes to rising concerns about the nation’s ability to defend itself. Robinson, along with numerous other professionals, including a senior leader at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, a doctor who specializes in pediatric weight management, and the director of chronic disease prevention at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, offered insights during a special study session on obesity held Tuesday by state lawmakers.
Webco earnings off sharply for fiscal year
Webco Industries Inc. reported net income for the fiscal year ended July 31 of $4.2 million, or $4.74 per diluted share, down from $25.6 million, or $27.78 per diluted share, for the previous fiscal year. Net sales for the fiscal year totaled $428.8 million, a 21.8% decrease from the $548.6 million in sales for the previous fiscal year. The Sand Springs-based provider of carbon steel, stainless steel and other metal specialty tubing products reported a net loss for the fourth fiscal quarter of $1.1 million, or $1.35 per diluted share, compared with net income of $4.3 million, or $4.69 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal year. Net sales for the fourth quarter were $89.1 million, a 31.4% decrease from $130 million a year earlier.
Junk has become a growth industry
COVID-19 has made a lot of people sick – sick of being stuck at home and sick of the clutter they used to find it easier to ignore. Those symptoms of the pandemic have resulted in an increase in business for at least one Oklahoma City firm dedicated to helping people clear away junk and other excess. The company, 1-800-JUNKPRO, has seen its business grow by at least 50% from last year, and Chief Operations Officer Shawn Govern said more growth is anticipated. The local franchise is part of a company that was founded in 1999 in Wichita, Kansas. Since it started franchising in 2016 it has grown to include locations in seven states. Chief Executive Officer Mike Davis said all of the locations have seen a jump in business since April, when the pandemic forced people to start staying close to home.
Audit raises concerns about Epic
“Deeply concerning” results of an investigative audit of Epic Charter Schools, including findings that money paid by Oklahoma taxpayers to support the schools was diverted to advance interests of Epic’s founders in California, will be turned over to the office of the Oklahoma attorney general and other state and federal law enforcement agencies, Oklahoma Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd announced Thursday. Byrd released results of “Part 1” of an audit that focused on funds held by Epic as well as on the complex infrastructure of the state’s largest charter school system, which is publicly supported but includes a for-profit arm. The more than 120 pages of findings resulted from a 2019 order issued by Gov. Kevin Stitt to look into Epic’s finances.