Business is Booming
Construction work on the new Mathis Home store in MWC is nearly complete. (Photo by Valerie Scott)
By Valerie Scott
In spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, Midwest City has continued to experience economic growth in recent years.
Several new businesses have moved to Midwest City. The Sooner Rose Shopping and Entertainment Center on Southeast 15th Street is booming with new businesses and restaurants. Center Marketplace, which neighbors Rose State College, has flourished despite the challenges faced by the pandemic. Midwest City has since welcomed a Smoothie King, Teriyaki Madness, Dutch Bros., Nashbird and The Baked Bear, along with a few other popular food destinations.
Recently, Mathis Home started construction in Town Center Plaza. The building was formerly occupied by JCPenney, which declared bankruptcy in July 2022. La-Z-Boy and Ashley Furniture will also be located inside the store. Mathis Home is expected to open in April, but as inflation rates rise, the building process could slow down.
The Midwest City Beacon reported that Mathis Home is expected to bring in 70 jobs and welcome an estimated 115,000 new customers to Town Center Plaza.
The pandemic proved to be taxing for citizens, business owners, face-to-face employees and the economy as a whole. In 2022, some 3 million fewer people nationwide are employed than before the pandemic, though steady progress has been made, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
With such a drastic economic blow, it has taken time to recover within households and on a business level. However, when comparing the pandemic recession to recessions of the past, the economy has been cut deeper by the pandemic but is recovering faster than during the Great Recession, as seen in the CBPP’s breakdown of U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis data.
Even though America faced a worse economic downturn than in previous years, a clear path to recovery was made considerably faster than with recessions in recent history. Oklahoma alone has regained 60.8% of its gross domestic product since the pandemic, according to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
Oklahoma’s economic growth is among the highest in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. From the second to the third quarter, the state’s GDP grew at an annual rate of 5.5%, leaving Alaska and Texas in the lead with over 8% growth.
“With the state’s recent increase in jobs and massive population gains coupled with these GDP increases, Oklahoma is on an exciting trajectory,” said Chad Mariska, Oklahoma’s secretary of commerce and workforce development, according to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s website.
It is safe to say that Midwest City is showing signs of Oklahoma’s development. Sooner Rose on Southeast 15th Street is not the only shopping center with a booming business front. Town Center Plaza has recently welcomed a Tacos 4 Life and a Carter’s, a children’s clothing store.
However, Town Center Plaza has hit quite a large bump. Dick’s Sporting Goods closed in December 2022 because of a lease disagreement, according to sources quoted by The Midwest City Beacon. The biggest challenge posed will be finding a store large enough to fill the 50,000 square-foot building. The store stopped carrying hunting gear, guns and ammunition in 2020. According to The Midwest City Beacon, this could have led to a loss of profit for the company at this location.
Overall, Midwest City has seen a boom in vacant buildings being filled. As inflation continues to increase construction costs, Midwest City can expect to see fewer new builds but will continue to fill empty spaces with new businesses.
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