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Stillwater needs to get on Target

June 10, 2009

The Daily O’Collegian at Oklahoma State University
Jared Gallagher
June 10, 2009

When will Stillwater get a Target? Like everyone else, I’ve heard the rumors. “It is coming. Give it time.”

Still, I do not see any progress. It is not that I am against another particular store. No, this town just needs some variety. A college town with almost 50,000 citizens needs more than just Wal-Mart.

What about us shoppers who do not enjoy the “all-inclusive” experience of a Wal-Mart visit? For instance, I do not understand how people can buy groceries at the same place where they do their banking, get their hair cut, have their nails done and their family portraits taken. That seems almost unsanitary to me.

I also cannot figure out why we need two Wal-Marts in Stillwater. We are, in fact, the 10th largest city in the state.

Enid and Midwest City, both of which have larger populations than Stillwater, have only one Wal-Mart.

Our two Wal-Marts are about 4 1/2 miles apart. Are we really so lazy that we cannot drive an extra 4 1/2 miles?

Now, it is not my intention to vilify Wal-Mart. I admit that it is a great place for emergency midnight snacks.

Yet, I need something different. And, apparently the agreement is that we will not secure a Target until the city has a population of more than 50,000 people, a point emphasized by “Count Stillwater.” Former Stillwater mayor Roger McMillian initiated Count Stillwater to bump the population up to that magic number.

By doing so, large retailers are supposed to take more interest in our community, resulting in a more balanced economy and so on and so forth.

That, however, doesn’t explain why smaller communities in Oklahoma have a Target. Owasso has a population of just more than 26,000 residents. It has had a Target for several years.

Owasso also has a Best Buy and a Red Robin, neither of which have made their way to Stillwater.

We have nearly twice the population of Owasso, support no less than two Wal-Mart Supercenters and someone high up on the ladder still believes we can’t support a Target.

Isn’t this a time of change? I want to see change, and I want to see it begin with a Target in Stillwater.