Stand Tall, Shop Small for OKC: The OKC Outlets announces new national tenat while providing opportunity for local retailers

Published Tuesday, July 13, 2021
by Marcus Elwell

With an impressive and diverse array of name brands, 394,000 square feet of shopping space and proximity to I-40 there is no secret why the OKC Outlets attracts shoppers not just from all over Oklahoma but from bordering states such as Texas and Kansas.

“I think the average person would be very surprised at how much out-of-state shopping the OKC Outlets attracts to our community,” said Tammy Fate, senior manager of retail development for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “People coming in from outside of Oklahoma City and spending their money here is important because the sales tax it generates helps us fund those critical city services and quality of life initiatives that have transformed OKC.”   

The OKC Outlets are the only outlet center in the state and one of the only true outlet centers in the whole region.

While maybe no industry was hit harder by the pandemic than retail, the OKC Outlets has seen a quick rebound, partly because they are an open-aired shopping center.

“We’ve seen a lot of research that has said consumers feel a lot more comfortable shopping in an open-air environment coming out of COVID and we’ve seen that,” said Jeannette Smith, general manager of the OKC Outlets. “Our traffic has surpassed our expectations as we’ve started to come out of the pandemic and our sales are supporting that as well.”

The OKC Outlets is adding to its plethora of national brands as Adidas recently announced they would be opening a store there sometime in August.

This will mark the first Adidas store in Oklahoma and one of the few, if not only, new stores Adidas is opening nationwide this year. Adidas will also have one of the biggest footprints at the center with more than 10,600 square feet of space.

“We are very excited to open the first to the market Adidas in the center,” said Smith “This is a brand that our customers have been asking for, and we believe they will make an excellent addition to the center." 

Already home to Under Armor, Nike Factory Store, The North Face, Asics, Columbia Factory Store, Converse and Reebok Outlet Store, the OKC Outlets is quickly becoming a can’t-miss destination for anyone looking for athletic gear or shoes.

While the OKC Outlets is known as the home for national brands offering great deals, the presence of local retail is quickly becoming an important part of the outlet’s growth and success.

“We have had a lot of interest from start-ups and local retailers. Our strategy is to have a variety of national, regional and local retailers,” said Smith.  “Local retail is a great fit for us because it diversifies our offerings and adds to the overall shopping experience for our customers." 

Fate said the OKC Outlet’s ability to draw shoppers from all over the region makes the presence of local retail all that more important.

“When someone comes from Texas or Kansas to the OKC Outlets they are coming for that name-brand experience,” said Fate. “But they also want to take a piece of Oklahoma City back with them. They want items they can only find here. Seeing the OKC Outlets balance attracting the biggest names in retail with giving opportunities to some amazing local retail startups has been great to see.”

One way the OKC Outlets has helped establish a local retail presence in their center is by providing short-term space for pop-up opportunities.

“It is becoming trendy with retailers because it is a great opportunity for them to test an idea or location,” said Smith. “Our pop-up opportunities range from a weekend to a couple of months. It really creates a great incubation period for start-up and local retailers.”

In the past month, four local retailers have opened their doors at the OKC Outlets.

Collection 405 is a boutique that gives local artisans a chance to sell their apparel and more at the OKC Outlets. Collection 405 also has an impressive display of local art you can purchase. The store is all about the power of collaboration and working together as evidence by its motto “Standing OUT, Together!”

“Collection 405 is a one-stop shop for 30+ local brands in Oklahoma City,” said owner T’Aira Smith “We believe that teamwork makes the dream work and we pride ourselves on #StandingOutTOGETHER. Our goal is to give brands an opportunity to be seen and supported while they work towards expanding their business ventures.”

Smith also said one of their key factors in deciding to open her store at the OKC Outlets was the way the outlets represent the state to its customers.

Woodsman Trading Co. is all about the great outdoors and features unique clothing and other adventure gear. Woodsman Trading Co. was originally located in another part of Oklahoma City but moved their store to the OKC Outlets in June.

Owner Gaylon Cornsilk said in his short time at the OKC Outlets he has been shocked by how much traffic they get from people outside of Oklahoma. He also said the other local retailers located at OKC Outlets have been extremely supportive and the comradery has been great.

It’s a Vibe opened in late June and brings new and vintage apparel to the OKC Outlets. If you need your favorite pair of retro Jordans, Yeezy apparel or that concert t-shirt from the 90s you can’t get anywhere else It’s a Vibe is a must-visit stop.

In fact, the store has so much apparel a lot of it hangs from the ceiling. Owner Bet Hayes said the inspiration for that came from needing to utilize their wall space and how he would decorate his room growing up. “Shop from the ceiling” appears on the store’s doors and that is about as truthful of advertising as you can get.

Urban Elm Co. is a new boutique that is a great place to find unique and one-of-a-kind women’s and kid’s clothing, footwear, graphic t-shirts and accessories.

Besides these newly opened shops, the OKC Outlets has been home to local retailers like Kicklahoma, Oklahoma Coffee Roasters, the Okie Mercantile and more. More local food is also on tap as Evolve the Burger, Ty’s Delicious Dogs and Crudoolandia will open soon. Even a local barber will be setting up shop at the OKC Outlets soon.

While the OKC Outlets have developed a well-earned reputation as bringing OKC the biggest discounts from national retailers, the shopping center is showing that providing opportunities to one-of-a-kind local retailers is a win-win for all.

Our local businesses still need help coming out of the pandemic and we would love for you to consider being a part of their progress. Join us in supporting local by looking out for the latest district highlight on VeloCityOKC.com, using the hashtag #ShopSmallForOKC, and following @okcchamber on social media to get the latest updates on the campaign.

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