Tulsa, Oklahoma experienced a mass exodus of retail from downtown in the ‘70s and ‘80s. But it has been enjoying a lot of downtown revitalization in recent years, with loft apartments filling up vacant office space and mom-and-pop shops moving into the storefronts that were abandoned long ago by the national chains.
In Tulsa, as in cities all across America, locally-owned, one-of-a-kind businesses are what make a downtown unique and quirky, and that’s one reason people want to see downtown revitalization in the first place.
The recent announcement of major retail chains moving downtown is, to some, a triumphant confirmation of downtown’s renewed vitality, and they’re predicting it will trigger a massive wave of retail redevelopment.
Others fully expect that wave of redevelopment, but they’re afraid it will drown out the little guy and, in the long term, make downtown less local, less quirky and, frankly, less appealing.