Enid’s strong retail sales continued during the end of 2012 and the start of 2013, based on February sales tax distributions to cities and towns from Oklahoma Tax Commission.
The current figures represent local tax receipts from spending in late December and early January. Net taxable sales in Enid during that period were more than $10 million higher compared to the same period in 2012.
According to OTC figures, net taxable sales in Enid during the period were up 15.8 percent over sales during the same period in 2012, continuing a strong series of reports for the past two years.
The city of Enid received $2,681,469 from OTC, an increase of $365,851 from last year’s receipts.
Most county seats across northwest Oklahoma also saw hefty increases in net taxable sales and sales tax receipts.
The town of Cherokee recorded the largest percentage increase. Cherokee, county seat of Alfalfa County, recorded an increase of 67.4 percent — $1,629,753 — in net taxable sales for the December-January period compared to a year ago. Medford in Grant County saw an increase of 46.8 percent — $628,300 — in net taxable sales.
Other net taxable sales increases by percentage and dollar amounts for county seats in northwest Oklahoma were: Alva, 35.8 percent, $3,003,294; and Woodward, 24.8 percent, $6,391,914.
Watonga, Fairview and Kingfisher recorded declines in net taxable sales for the period. Watonga, the Blaine County seat, saw a decline of 18.7 percent, or $824,840 less in sales. Fairview, in Major County, saw a decline of 4.1 percent, or $149,125 less in net taxable sales. Kingfisher recorded a decrease of 8.2 percent, or $658,666, in net taxable sales.
Statewide, OTC returned $135,748,736 in sales tax collections to 510 cities and towns, reflecting an increase of $1,838,062 from what was distributed in February last year.
City Manager Eric Benson said the current economic condition is more than an energy boom, but is part of a planned process the city began five years ago. Benson said the city put its name out and encouraged interest in Enid.
“We made it known Enid welcomes transient trade. We’re now seeing a by-product of investing in ourselves,” Benson said.
He believes that will continue into the future and will be longer-lasting than energy booms or other short-term economic drivers. The new Enid image will continue to be sustained in the future.
“We are seeing what we sought to deliver. It involves more than one person, the city, the commission, the ERDA, the business people in the community. We’re building $100 million in new schools, $30 million in downtown plan; that type of economic input will draw people here,” he said.
He said people are seeing Enid is a good place to do business and a good place to come and stay. The challenge ahead is to bring more reasons for people to shop, including the new mall, movie theater and other projects.
“Those are all in the works,” he said.
Enid is becoming the newest national hotspot, said Brent Kisling, executive director of Enid Regional Development Alliance.
“I contend the biggest reason we’re seeing so much increase is because more dollars are in people’s hands in Enid and northwest Oklahoma. Enid is located where many go to shop, and for health care,” Kisling said.
Kisling said health care is one area that has not been highlighted enough. The medical sector is one reason the Enid trade area is as large as it is, because of the number of people who come here for medical care.
“That’s because of St. Mary’s and Integris, as well as the doctors and nurses in the specialties in the area. That causes people to come to Enid to spend dollars. To me, that’s where most of this is happening,” Kisling said.
Kisling believes there now is an unprecedented amount of wealth in northwest Oklahoma.
“They’ve been talking about the North Dakota shale, but we’re nipping at their heels,” he said.
Enid is being used as an example of job growth, plus the increases in average and per capita income among those who already live here, he said.