The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

2 August 2005

On the ostensible upswing

A quarter-million dollar updating of Balliet's at 50 Penn Place prompted these observations from Mayor Cornett:

The perception that Oklahoma City is a value-oriented market is outdated. What we notice is that higher end opportunities are doing better than they ever have, whether it be higher end concerts at the Ford Center, upper-end restaurants or higher-end retail such as Balliet's. A lot of tourism and retailers are seeing we've got to reinvest in what we've got.

It's not that outdated, sir; the 250 large Balliet's is putting into its store is roughly equivalent to a slow week at Wal-Mart.

Still, if we're going to have this upscale stuff, and lots of folks (including myself, I admit it) are hoping that we are, we do have to make those investments.

Cornett continues:

When stores like Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom look here, they don't find strong enough demographics to support their stores. So we have a vacuum. We do, however, have very fashion-driven consumers, and we have enough customers to support such shopping on a smaller scale.

Patience, good fellow. And it would help if we could get some higher salaries around here so we could afford to shop at Neiman's. (Macy's, of course, will be here shortly, the result of the Federated/May merger; the existing Foley's stores will be rebranded.)

One could argue, I suppose, that high-end retail and services are the very definition of self-indulgence. But entire industries, including the one in which I toil, are built on self-indulgence: the ascetic may have his philosophical points, but he doesn't bring in any revenue.

Posted at 7:54 AM to City Scene