The rise of strip malls in Edmond

Popular shopping destinations in Edmond were once empty fields or zoned for residential use.
Petco, Ross, and other stores at Bryant Square in Edmond (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

Over the past few decades, a trend on the rise of strip malls in commercial real estate and retail has emerged. Cities across the country have seen an increase in the development, restructuring, and rise of open-air shopping centers conveniently located close to grocery stores and other retailers that specialize in higher-frequency replenishment goods and necessities. According to askwonder.com, in 2016 alone, there were 68,730 strip malls across the U.S. 

Plaza shopping center at 15th & Broadway in the 1960s (Photo: Edmond Historical Society & Museum)

This trend has completely transformed Edmond, especially in the last 10 years. Shopping centers like Spring Creek Plaza, Bryant Square, Shoppes on Broadway, Market Square, and Danforth Plaza have seen constant renovation and tenant improvements to keep shoppers returning. These developments impact multiple facets of living in Edmond, including traffic and congestion on popular shopping intersections. 

YearRetail Sales Tax Collections at 3.25% – Edmond Sales Tax Rate from approximately 2000 to 2012Retail Sales Tax Collections at (or adjusted to) 3.75% – Edmond Sales Tax Rate from 2012 to nowPopulation
2000$15,596,959$17,996,491 (adjusted)68,315
2005$25,068,879$28,925,630 (adjusted)72,002
2010$31,157,725$35,951,221 (adjusted)82,615
2015N/A$47,949,17989,182
2019N/A$53,693,04493,840
(Data courtesy of the Edmond Economic Development Authority)

For those who have lived in Edmond since the early 90s and prior, we remember when these popular shopping destinations were empty fields and/or zoned for residential use. What is now Walmart Neighborhood Market off 2nd & Bryant used to be a trailer park. What is now Target on 2nd & Bryant was once an open field. The Walmart on Danforth and Santa Fe commandeered the status of grocery provider where the Food Lion supermarket once was in the late 80s and early 90s. Covell is all but unrecognizable between Santa Fe and Bryant with both residential and commercial developments. The I-35 corridor has been completely built out. Starting with a Walmart SuperCenter in the 2010s, the area now hosts a Sam’s Club, Mercy Fitness Center, and ancillary businesses and restaurants.

Commercial Investment (New Construction, Alteration & Addition Permits)

Commercial Investment in
Spring Creek Plaza since 1999
$3,210,800
Commercial Investment in
Bryant Square since 2006
$19,217,325
Commercial Investment in
Shoppes on Broadway since 2007
$7,968,997
Commercial Investment in
Market Square since 2006
$16,694,000
(Data courtesy of the Edmond Economic Development Authority)

Most noticeable to Edmond residents, the changes and improvements made to Bryant Square on 2nd and Bryant have entirely transformed traffic in the already-busy intersection. What once housed Anthony’s, Stage, Beall’s, Daylight Donuts now hosts Ross, Old Navy, Petco, Five Below, Ulta, and Bed, Bath & Beyond. InvenTrust Properties, a Chicago-based real estate firm, played a major role in the bulk of tenant transitions and renovations to the shopping center, according to Jeff Norman, President of JAH Realty.

The revitalized Bryant Square shopping center (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

“They really executed this complete facelift to that center. They’re the ones who tore down the Firestone and redeveloped the corner where Verizon, Five Guys and Torchy’s is,” Norman said. “And they redeveloped PDQ Chicken which is now already converted to Burger King and we finished up the deal with Bath & Body Works, Party City, and Tee for the Soul.” 

These retailers benefit from the high foot traffic to the outer parcel restaurants and the shoppers who frequent Target, Walgreens, and Walmart across the intersection. This shopping center has many anchor retailers that are commonly grouped together in other cities across the nation. Coincidence? Not really.

“What happens is that word gets out, and these [businesses] like to congregate around each other,” Norman explained. “Ulta likes to be by Bed Bath & Beyond and Ross; So does Bath & Body Works. What they’re really looking at is the Edmond demographic. The Edmond [demographic] is what really draws [businesses] to the market, and they zero in on that site because it’s such a good location. Everyone in the market is familiar with it. Even people from West Edmond will travel to Bryant Square to shop. I don’t think you find that the other way.”

Gone are the days you had to travel to Quail Springs Mall or Penn Square Mall to shop for clothing and eat at chain restaurants. With the recent shift in shopping habits due to COVID, strip malls are more and more favored by retailers. According to Business Insider, outdoor and off-mall shopping could be a safer way to shop and create a more comfortable environment rather than a larger enclosed mall. 

So what’s next for Edmond? Are we fully developed? Is there room for more growth and expansion? Regardless of where you stand, I think we can all agree with Jeff’s advice: “We need to support our local businesses as much as we can: Shop local, eat out at your local restaurants because these people need our patronage right now.”

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About Alyssa Weathers-Murphy

Alyssa Weathers-Murphy is the owner & founder of Siren Media, a digital marketing agency that serves the needs of small businesses, nonprofits and startups. She was raised in Edmond and attended the University of Central Oklahoma where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a major in marketing and a minor in professional selling. She attributes her interest in business and marketing to her family's small business in Downtown Edmond. She is a past president of the American Marketing Association of Oklahoma, an active member of the Oklahoma City Midtown Rotary board, and a vocal advocate for women in business and the success of small businesses.