Kyle Arnold: Trader Joe's, H&M, IKEA, Costco on Tulsans' wish list
BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Sunday, February 10, 2013
2/10/13 at 7:31 AM
Even if the effort by Tulsa Young Professionals to bring hip and trendy grocer Trader Joe's to Tulsa hasn't gotten its point across, many of the nation's hottest retailers have been ignoring Oklahoma.
TYPros, a civic group for Tulsans under 40, will make a four-hour drive to a Trader Joe's outside of Kansas City to pick up more than 200 orders of chocolate covered almonds, tomato-less salsa and all-natural beef jerky.
Sadly for many, the group can't take orders for the store's famous Two-buck Chuck, a line of wine that sells for $2 a bottle.
Trader Joe's has more than 360 stores nationwide. The store is so popular not only because of its trendy all-natural and organic offerings but also because of low prices and variety that aims at middle-class shoppers.
In fact many national retailers and restaurants would be a perfect fit in Tulsa for the same reason, a working-class population that embraces new ideas.
Here are a few more that would fit the Oklahoma mold:
H&M: The Swedish clothing retailer moved hard into the United States with a high-profile store in 2000 and now has more than 200 locations.
The stores are obsessed with modern fashions oriented toward younger buyers, and the clothes are reasonably priced. Shirts are priced $15 to $35, and pants don't go for much more. Best of all, shoppers aren't worried about 10-year-old styles when they are paying 2003 prices.
IKEA: The Swedish company is known for its massive Scandinavian-inspired selection and rock-bottom prices on assemble-yourself furniture.
But alas, it will probably be a long while before Oklahomans can pick up their own Afjarden (bath towel), Boksel (coffee table) or any of IKEA's ridiculously named products because the state lacks the population to support such a large store. There are just 38 IKEAs in the United States, and the location outside of Dallas is nearly 310,000 square feet.
Costco: The Seattle-based warehouse club may be easy to confuse with Wal-Mart's Sam's Club concept, but the retailers are worlds apart in terms of quality and service.
There have long been rumors about Costco looking for property in Tulsa, and there have been cries about how Oklahoma's liquor laws would preclude the nation's fifth-largest retailer from locating in Tulsa.
And if you think that's not an issue, consider that Costco spent nearly $9 million in a $22 million effort to allow the sale of wine and liquor in its home state of Washington.
Costco has been a staple of cost-conscious shoppers for 30 years, and the company is famous for its generous pay and benefits, starting employees at about $11 an hour.
Original Print Headline: While we're begging for retailers ...