ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Ardmore businesses saw a nearly nine percent increase in retail sales in 2018 compared to 2017, according to the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce.
At the end of November 2018, retail sales for the year in Ardmore totaled $558.3 million. This is an 8.5 percent increase compared to year-to-date sales in November 2017 at $514.5 million.
Merron McCormack owns Main Street Mercantile and says 2018 was one of the best years for her business, seeing an increase of 25 percent in overall sales.
"A lot of people told me they didn't want to go out of town this year," McCormack said. "They wanted to do everything local. Instead of giving to big corporate, they're giving to hometown families and people they know. I think that's made a big difference."
Around the corner, Kourtney McMurry, sales manager at The Rage boutique clothing store, saw more customers this year. The store owner reports a five percent increase in sales.
"We are on a one way street so we're a little difficult to get to, but we always have people that come in from out of town and come see us," McMurry said.
Jennifer Laird works in Ardmore but lives in Madill.
She said she visits The Rage often to find clothes for her three kids.
"Madill has some good options too," Laird said. "I shop there for myself a lot. (The Rage) just seems to be what keeps my kids happy."
Ardmore Chamber of Commerce said the reconstruction of the Ardmore Valero refinery, which brought as many as 1400 contractors at one point, helped retail sales as well.
City sales tax collections also saw an increase of about $1.2 million.
According to the Ardmore City Clerk, sales tax collections so far in the 2018-2019 fiscal year (July to January) are $13.8 million. At the same time last year in the 2017-2018 fiscal year (July to January), Ardmore only saw $12.6 million in sales tax.
This means there will be more money for city funds like street improvements and community enhancement.
Downtown development as well as new restaurants and Market Street at Ardmore gives business owners, like McCormack, optimism.
"You know, downtown is just starting to boom and it's just gets better and better every day," McCormack said. "I think we're headed for another great year."