Photo courtesy of www.dallasarboretum.org/

Hi everyone. Hoping all of you are doing well and getting settled into your Fall routine. In just a little over two weeks, it will be Fall Break for most of your kids. With almost everyone who follows EdmondActive at Instagram and Facebook, it appears we all took off on some sort of adventure outside of the State this summer and early Fall. Most everyone drove and arrived at a location that required very little contact with anyone outside of our circle we traveled with.

For my husband’s 55th birthday and our 31st wedding anniversary, we chose to fly to San Diego for the weekend, and pricing allowed us to do so, with flights, hotels and rental cars finally tapering back down to better than pre Covid rates. We don’t travel often, because we work, but this was a wonderful visual break from the everyday, after all of the fun that the Covid pandemic has not been over the last 18 months.

We drove to Florida for my birthday and to celebrate our 30th Anniversary in May, and there was quite a juxtaposition between the two coasts, for certain. My takeaway is that I like Florida for swimming in the warmer ocean, and California for the ocean air scent that is clearly missing on the western gulf coast of Florida, something that completely took me by surprise, and was due to lack of decomposing material in the Florida ocean and beaches. I never knew this because I had never visited Florida before, but that won’t keep me from returning in the future.

If you are looking for a fall getaway in Oklahoma, there are many great options to choose from at TravelOK.com, including a fall color day trip that is absolutely stunning! Also, if you haven’t been, and are looking for a getaway outside of Oklahoma with your kids, be sure to check out the Dallas Arboretum’s ‘Autumn at the Arboretum’ display that runs until October 31 at https://www.dallasarboretum.org/

Governor Stitt postpones decision on Julius Jones case to wait for clemency hearing October 26

Yesterday evening, Governor Stitt made an announcement to disregard a Pardon and Parole Board commutation recommendation for Julius Jones, in the case of Paul Howell’s murder. The commutation hearing was an appropriate venue, however new as opposed to what has always been done in a clemency hearing in the past. The Governor refused to decide whether he would grant commutation for Julius or not  and clearly disputed the two AG’s citing this hearing held September 13th was an appropriate venue to hear Julius’ argument, who stated clearly a commutation hearing was allowed for any inmate, per the Oklahoman July 1, 2020:

“Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said Tuesday death row inmates are eligible for commutation hearings through the state’s Pardon and Parole Board. In a letter to the board, Hunter said former Attorney General Scott Pruitt previously issued an opinion that would allow the board to hear proceedings and recommend any inmate for commutation through the governor.”
 
 
So, now both parties have to sit down for more than 6 hours and have an almost identical hearing again at the Pardon and Parole Board October 26, 2021, extending both parties family and friends pain and suffering – in front of the same PPB that recommended commutation of Julius’ death penalty to life in prison with possibility of parole due to too much doubt according to Governor Stitt appointed member Adam Luck of the Pardon and Parole Board on September 13th citing his belief that executions should be held for prisoners to which there is no doubt in their case.
 

SHOP EDMOND National vs. Independent Retailers vs. Online Shopping

 
Fall ushers in holiday shopping each year, and during Covid, it ushered in online shopping like we have never seen before. Now that vaccines have arrived, and masking is optional, heading out to your favorite shopping haunts is safer than it was only a year ago.
 
However, due to the pandemic and the closing of businesses during 2020, some retailers that were independently owned didn’t make it, and we are left with 17 or so locally owned boutiques here in Edmond. 
 
When I started EdmondActive Magazine in late 2009, I was five months into publishing this blog, Around Edmond, that included my print feature Shop Edmond. Spring Creek Plaza was on fire with national brands and really is still on fire.
 
The west side of Bryant and 15th at Spring Creek Village was fully rented with some of the hottest local independent boutiques. The only boutique left on the Village side from 12 years ago is Lucca, and Muse by Lucca, which has recently moved into the old Tiger Lily space, with the center boasting more currently available spaces than ever before.
 
The hottest Edmond retail and restaurant development of 2020/2021 in my 12 year long observation would be the Shoppes at Cheyenne on Bryant just southeast of 33rd St. It is a happy mix of restaurants, desserts, a hair salon, a coffee shop and wine bar hangout space, new pizza/gelato concept, art classes from Oops I Arted, a new clothing retailer and OKC based home accessory retailer. It’s not lopsided with regard to the types of businesses, it filled up almost immediately and has some of the top independently owned businesses in our area.
 
The east side of Edmond is seriously lacking this type of development and I am hoping the Shoppes at Cheyenne can be replicated the further east Edmond grows.
 
The northeast side of Edmond is developing with the spaces just south of the new Hilton Convention Center beginning to expand with new retailers that compliment the area with Cultured Clothes, Starbucks and more. This is a really nice area I can’t wait to see further expand.
 
I had really high hopes for the Edmond Railyard, which I love, but it turned out to only include restaurants and a bar in 1884, leaving only two antique stores, two home accessory retailers, 3 clothing retailers, two jewelers, two hair salons, an appliance store, a small independent grocer, a new bookstore and Native which offers sporting and adventure gear in Downtown Edmond. It appears that the most popular concepts in the Downtown district of Edmond are the main street Broadway restaurants, coffee shops, bars and experience businesses, which is a complete and welcome surprise, as they offer movement in an area most known during the last 15 years as being closed after 5 pm.
 
Citizen’s Bank of Edmond has been operating a Retail Independent Shopkeeper Experience with ISAOK, next door to Citizen’s Bank of Edmond on Broadway and 1st Street and it has been awesome to have new retailers or retailers from OKC step into a downtown suburban experience. Edmond is lucky to have experienced last holiday’s visit from Cargo Room, Dear Reverie, Shop Mode and more, with new retailers stepping into the space every three months or so. 
 
The South and South West side of Edmond is sustaining in popularity in the Design District with Two Doors Down Consignment and Emory Anne Interiors on 150th Street east of Santa Fe, in combination with appliance, window covering and lighting stores that offer everything you need when building or renovating your home, while keeping your business with independently owned businesses.
 
The west side is lacking in independently owned retail, except restaurant and catering concepts. It is hard to expect everyone to shop and support locally owned businesses each week much less daily for they don’t offer what we’ve all been convinced we need from deeply discounted national retailers.
 

More for less almost always means less quality, and lower quality home accessories, for instance, this means there is a high possibility you will be replacing the lower cost items you purchased at Target, Walmart or Kohl’s much sooner than you would have had you purchased a higher quality like item. I certainly know this isn’t always the case but most times it is, and that is when shopping sales at higher priced retailers, no matter whether they are national or independently owned retailers, is a must. And this also brings the value of retailers like 2 Doors Down on 150th Street, who consign gently used high end items and whose inventory changes regularly.

I love Target, except when Target buyers focus on really unappealing trends, like the whole prairie dress trend right now. They are cute on some but look like unappealing bags to me. Also, I love lots of color and textural interest. This year it appears their national buyers are, too, very tired and uninspired. Same goes for Home Goods and At Home.

Most everyone that I know, however, is happy with whatever they can now purchase online. We did see a store pivot completely when the 2020 shutdown happened at Plenty Mercantile. Not only did they offer curbside pickup, but began shipping items from posts on social media to very quickly offering every single item in store online for purchase. On top of that, they expanded with a mini store at Chisolm Creek, between their Automobile Alley and Edmond stores. This was one of the most magnificent pivots I’ve seen by a retailer in the 13 years of publishing my Shop Edmond feature section. Cultured Clothes did the same with Instagram shopping and by opening a second location in Chisolm Creek besides its flagship Edmond store.

I am hoping that more locally owned independent retailers do the same and capitalize on the online sales they may be missing solely because because they do not have Instagram shopping set up or an online store. I promise this online shopping trend is here to stay and it’s definitely worth the pivot as a secured second expanded source of income for retailers. 

I realize that shopping is personal whether due to taste or budget. I realize some whom can afford more choose to save money where they can on items they deem so temporary they change the item out every three or four months. I also realize there are many who can only afford so much when it comes to clothing or decorating your home.

My why in starting Shop Edmond was not to pit businesses against businesses nor to only cater to one wealthy demographic ( and to be honest most retailers/businesses only want to advertise to those they perceive as wealthy, sadly, as if somehow you aren’t their likely consumer should your household make less than $100,000 per year), and even in knowing my opinion is one in thousands, I have brought my opinion all of these years simply to bring to light what is unique in Edmond. More retailers who care about their businesses effect on our community, not only with their giving actions but their choices of products and services they offer us, certainly means the better the offerings will be available to all of us, due to healthy competition.

In the case of less competition, you simply find higher prices at locally owned boutiques because of the rent they are being charged from $3,000 to $4,500 per month by developers, and without a great selection to choose from at the boutiques, this causes price conscious consumers looking for more for less to shop with national discount retailers. If you LOVE a local independent retailer, do them a favor, and yourself too, and shop with them at least twice a month or more if you can afford to do so. This will ensure a local retail environment that reflects the rich diverse community we all love. 

We all have certain national retailers we will shop at because in fact local retailers just do not fill the need for certain items we use and or are looking for daily. A good example of certain niches that could be filled by independent retailers: the only place you can buy clothing for little boys (I’m a boy mom) is at Kohl’s, Target or Walmart, or at the mall. A hard lesson for some new retailers who start their business because it is their dream, and who open their doors in extremely expensive spaces that cause an extremely high mark up on pricing, is doing so without thinking about consumers needs in the general vicinity of where their brick and mortar is located.

A great example of this great combination are two retailers in particular, Emory Anne Interiors and Cultured Clothes. Both have high end items to be sure, but for the most part, both owner’s take time to understand what is already available here in Edmond when they are at market and they select items that are truly unique. 

I’ll be out starting October 1, in search of that uniqueness for the holidays. My very first retailer visit in 18 months will be to Emory Anne Interiors and Botanical Bar on 150th se of Santa Fe and I can’t wait to be inspired by Anne McCarthy’s sense of style and whimsy!

Have a good week, and be sure to stop by Friday to see what’s happening in and around Edmond for the weekend!

Sherri