Double digit gains in a number of retail sales tax categories was welcome news to an Edmond economic development team Tuesday morning.
During the monthly Edmond Economic Development Authority Board of Trustees meeting, Executive Director Janet Yowell spoke about the most recent retail sales tax report, which contained good news for city government.
In the June report, which compares the current fiscal year (July 2012-June 2013) with the previous fiscal year (July 2011-June 2012), the organization breaks the local economy down into categories. The total fiscal year to date change was a 10.13 percent gain; total taxable sales increased 9.84 percent.
Yowell said given the fact that it is an election year the numbers are especially encouraging. They are positive across the board, she said. Each category had an increase:
• Furniture, home furnishings and equipment had the biggest increase — 20.66 percent;
• Food stores had a 17.72 percent increase;
• Misc. retail had a 10.63 percent increase;
• Eating and drinking establishments had a 10.34 percent increase;
• Auto dealers and gas stations had an 8.84 percent increase;
• Lumber, building materials and hardware had a 7.79 percent increase;
• Apparel and accessory stores had a 7.16 percent increase; and
• General merchandise stores had a 5.02 percent increase.
The food stores category contains grocery stores, meat and fish markets, candy-nut-confectionary stores, dairy product stores, retail bakeries and miscellaneous food stores.
In February, businessman Hank Binkowski opened the 50,350-square-foot Uptown Grocery Co., at the corner of Kelly and Covell. In April, Sunflower Markets opened a store just east of the Second Street-Broadway intersection.
Opening of the new grocery stores aided the food stores category, Yowell said. Edmond’s eating and drinking places always have and continue to be strong, she said. Positive numbers all the way around will help with what the city is wanting to accomplish with projects such as the Public Safety Center, Yowell said.
Regarding the EEDA’s monthly business barometer for June 2012 residential building permits were up 63.89 percent in comparison to June 2011. And commercial building permits were up 50 percent. Some of the activity was related to Edmond Public Schools projects and Francis Tuttle Career Tech’s 3-plus acre site near the Interstate 35-Covell Road interchange as well as an office building at 33rd Street and Boulevard, Yowell said.
“We’re doing extremely well in those numbers,” Yowell said.
The city is also seeing some renovation work on Broadway and great activity in existing home sales, Yowell said.
According to recent EEDA statistics, Edmond has a 3.9 percent unemployment rate compared to the 8.2 percent national rate. The city of 83,019 has an average household income of $100,670 and a per capita income of $38,793. The home ownership rate is 66.4 percent.
In other business, the EEDA Board of Trustees rehired Yowell as its executive director for another fiscal year. During the meeting, Gary Bartley, chairman of the EEDA Board of Trustees, commended Yowell for her work that contributed to the organization coming in under budget for the previous fiscal year.
In her 20-plus years with the organization, she has served as associate director, director of retail and downtown development, director of EdmondHQ and client services manager.
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