The start of the new year means new opportunities for entrepreneurs and business owners in Tulsa.
This month the city is unveiling new programs to help and give incentives to retail and business developers.
This is all part of the city's commercial revitalization strategy. It's something that has been years in the making.
"Tulsa's retail trends really closely follow national and global trends,” said Kian Kamas, Tulsa’s chief of economic development. “You've seen people shift away from in-store shopping to a lot of online shopping."
In fact, despite Tulsa growing by nearly 6% in the last two decades, retail sales adjusted for inflation are $291 million less than in 1998.
To help fix that as part of a 2016 Vision Tulsa Sales Tax Package voters approved nearly $3.5 million specifically for commercial revitalization.
"The first step in deploying those dollars was to undertake a retail study,” said Kamas. “We did that last year and completed it in January of 2019 and we spent the rest of the year looking at the results of that study."
So now in 2020, the city is launching 10 programs thought of in that study to help businesses.
For example, one program will modify the city's retail incentive policy to allow businesses who move in to vacant big box stores - like ones near 71st and Memorial to qualify for a return on the sales tax they generate.
Another program is a revolving loan fund, which allows small businesses to apply for a low interest loan.
Kamas said the goal is to help businesses find the programs best suited for them.
"We want to make sure all Tulsans have access to the services and retailers that they really want and need to live happy and successful lives,” Kamas said.
To learn more about all 10 programs, click here.