Posted: Jan 07, 2020 2:13 PMUpdated: Jan 07, 2020 2:24 PM

Bartlesville Business Buzz

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Tom Davis/Ty Loftus/Max Gross/Garrett Giles

The city of Bartlesville has recently welcomed a developer and a combo restaurant business--both at the site of the old Kmart property at the intersection of Frank Phillips Blvd and US 75 --with monetary incentives.

In October of 2019, The Bartlesville City Council moved to accept the recommendation from the Bartlesville Development Authority to approve an allocation of just over $200,000 to build a shopping center at the old Kmart site. The funds will go from the economic development fund to the Foraker Group to bring a four-store development to the site at the intersection of Frank Philips Boulevard and Highway 75.

The stores include new brands like Ollie’s Bargain Market, Burke’s Outlet, Tuesday Morning and a relocation of Dollar Tree. BDA president David Wood said this is the highest traffic count intersection in Bartlesville. Wood says the BDA considered all sides before entering the agreement.

The BDA approved its side of things in late September. The council gave approval to the matter as well. The store front is anticipated to open in the first quarter of 2020

The Bartlesville City Council voted this past Monday night to take $150,000 from the economic development fund and use it as development assistance for the combined Jimmy's Egg/Bricktown Brewery Building on the former K-Mart site. Bartlesville City Councilor Paul Stuart says the former K-Mart site is now being called The Shoppes at Turkey Creek.

President of the Bartlesville Development Authority, David Wood, said this is much needed for the city.

The Bartlesville City Council asked the BDA to address plummeting retail sales six-years ago. According to Wood, the BDA's research showed that they had 10-percent job growth and two-percent population growth in the last decade. He said the study determined that the young professionals in Bartlesville were choosing to live somewhere other than Bartlesville even though they were working within the Bartlesville City Limits.The data suggested to the Bartlesville Development Authority that there was not enough variety in Bartlesville's retail, bars and restaurants.

There are some local restaurant owners who are upset about financial incentives going to incoming competition such as the with the Jimmy's Egg/Bricktown Brewery combo on that property.

Co-owner of Midway Cafe, Payam Sharifi, says the addition of another breakfast restaurant is not needed. He claimed that the addition of a Jimmy's Egg continues the dissolution of mom and pop restaurants across the area. Sharifi said it is ridiculous to think that Jimmy's Egg will make more people stop and eat in Bartlesville. He said the only thing it does is steal business from the other two restaurants that are within the same half-mile, including his own.

Councilor Stuart contends the economic study tells them that it will take some drive-by business away from the established businesses, ‘but they are also going to bring in newer business (to the city) that they (Jimmy's Egg/Bricktown Brewery) wouldn’t have gotten without them being there. It also makes it (Shoppes of Turkey Creek) more of a destination. With the five shops and the restaurants, they will build off of each other and get some synergies there.’

As for Sharifi, it means there will be three different breakfast restaurants within a half-mile. Sharifi said he the concept of a Bricktown Brewery is a great idea, but a Jimmy's Egg is not ideal.

Stuart says the city of Bartlesville has helped so-called “mom-and-pop” businesses, too. Stuart says, “We just did Pies and Such, Crossing on 2nd--those are both ‘mom-and-pop—and Cooper and Mills, the new brewery. We try to help where we can. We just have certain criteria they have to meet, but we don’t discriminate mom-and-pop versus brand name.”

Mayor Dale Copeland, a business owner himself, knows this is a touchy subject but believes the approval is important for economic success in Bartlesville. To Mayor Copeland, business is finite. He said there is a certain challenge, and competition is not a bad thing. Brand preferences will be there, and like the mayor said, there will always be hard choices to make.

Referencing what David Wood had presented, Mayor Copeland said this is a highly desirable brand by a segment of Bartlesville's population. He said it is a good thing to have someone come in and invest in Bartlesville with a belief that the city is a good place to be.

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