By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Norman and Moore are turning into boom towns with all of the construction going in along the Interstate 35 corridor. But for Norman, construction isn’t limited to the west side of town.
Firehouse Subs is kicking off a 30 restaurants expansion starting with the store in Norman on 12th Avenue Southeast between Alameda and Boyd streets.
Known for hearty, oversized portions, Firehouse plans are for market build-out in 10 years. Climbing from 258 to more than 485 locations in four years, Firehouse Subs witnessed an average 15 percent year-over-year sales increase since 2007, despite the economic downturn.
Further south, construction of a new Circle K is underway near the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 77. John Proctor sold that property to Circle K in July. Buffalo Wild Wings bought property from Proctor in November. Construction should start on the restaurant in January and be open by June.
On the north side of Norman, On Cue Express will open soon at 3601 N. Flood which is at the Tecumseh intersection.
In addition to the much touted IMAX Theater and Dick’s Sporting Goods, other businesses are coming into Moore, expanding the regional draw to Cleveland County.
Fitness One is under construction at 647 SW 19th St. The new location will have 40,000 square feet with 24 hour access, a three lane lap pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, and child care. Members also will be able to utilize other the Fitness One location in Norman.
Oklahoma Fidelity Bank at Interstate 35 and South 19th Street is also under construction in Moore. Oklahoma Fidelity is a division of Fidelity Bank out of Wichita, Kan.
Opening soon in Norman’s University North Park on 24th Avenue Northwest are Homegoods, DSW Shoe Warehouse, and Michael’s Arts & Crafts, joining several other recently opened locations in UNP including Mathis Brothers Lady Americana, Valliance Bank, and Starbucks. Michael’s is moving from Ed Noble Parkway.
Crest Foods is expected in the fall of 2013, also in the UNP.
West Main Street east of I-35 is seeing a revitalization with the coming of Mitchell’s Jewelry and Freddy’s Custard. Forward Foods also moved westward from it’s downtown location and La Baguette is relocating west and expanding to a new location on Main Street, while the former site of Hobby Lobby on east Main Street will soon house a natural food store chain, Sunflower Farmers Market, out of California.
Bob Moore Cadillac celebrated the grand opening of the new dealership site in early December. The 26,000 square foot of state-of-the-art dealership is the first Cadillac dealership in the United States to be built entirely to Cadillac specs, including marble, custom cabinetry and wood provided by Cadillac.
Several new businesses opened this year in Historic Downtown Norman including Massive Downtown, Syrup Restaurant, Das Boot Camp, and Ampy Shanty.
In September, Norman said good-bye to Native Roots, a locally owned and operated natural grocer.
Co-owner Sara Kaplan said leaving was the hardest decision the family has ever made.
The Kaplans worked with Norman developer Richard McKown to put a store in the ground floor of his newly completed high-density residential apartment building, Level in the Deep Deuce area of Oklahoma City.
“Our intention was to have two stores,” Kaplan said in August. “There’s only so many dollars that people spend on groceries. Sunflower’s coming, Crest is coming, a new Neighborhood Walmart is coming. Before everything explodes, we’re going to move.”
Kaplan said only a handful of cities nationwide have policies to protect small, locally owned stores from encroachment from larger chains.
“We’re sad to leave Norman. It’s our hometown. It will always be our hometown,” she said.
Norman also said good-bye to Marc Heitz, owner of Marc Heitz Chevrolet and welcomed David Stanley Chevrolet as the new owner of the auto dealership in mid December.
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