FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Katelyn Little
BIRMINGHAM, AL (December 15, 2022) – Oklahoma State University Extension and Northeast Oklahoma Regional Alliance (NORA) partnered with Retail Strategies to provide training to small business owners, made possible by a Walmart grant, CREATE BRIDGES (Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Development Growth Economies).
Covering an eight-county area in rural Oklahoma, the trainings were completed over a four-month timeframe. Oklahoma State University Extension, CREATE BRIDGES, and NORA chose to work with Retail Strategies to help expand the area’s business recruitment and retention efforts.
“The CREATE BRIDGES program is a great way to provide technical assistance and training to retail and hospitality-focused small businesses in Oklahoma. The team at Retail Strategies has a comprehensive, four-part program that provides practical training to participating business owners.”Sara Siems, Extension Assistant Specialist, CREATE BRIDGES Pilot Program at OSU
“The project brings an innovative approach to addressing business and workforce development at no cost to the region, thanks to a Walmart grant to Southern Rural Development Center which partners with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service,” said Sara Siems, extension assistant specialist, CREATE BRIDGES Pilot Program at Oklahoma State University.
This custom partnership provides live technical assistance, tutorials, deliverables, data, and 1:1 coaching directly to the owners and operators of local businesses and property owners on topics such as digital marketing strategies, restaurant resiliency, retail readiness for property owners, and preparing for special shopping seasons like the holidays.
“Our Small Business Support services were created during the pandemic, realizing communities and counties needed to provide training and assistance to small business owners,” said Clay Craft, vice president of client services at Retail Strategies. “We believe in giving small business owners the tools they need in order to grow their business.”
Participating businesses included women’s boutiques, gift shops, children’s clothing stores, furniture stores, restaurants and breweries.
About CREATE BRIDGES
CREATE BRIDGES (Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies) is a pilot project designed for multi-county regions to focus community development resources on the retail, tourism, accommodations, and entertainment sectors. CREATE BRIDGES is a community-led and asset-based three-year project with partners in Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. The purpose of CREATE BRIDGES is to raise awareness of the role that retail, accommodations, tourism, and entertainment businesses play in the local workforce and economy; determine challenges, barriers, and opportunities related to those businesses; and develop and implement strategies to strengthen the retail, accommodations, tourism, and entertainment sectors within a region.
About Retail Strategies
Retail Strategies is the national expert in recruiting businesses and strategically developing communities. Our mission is to provide the real estate expertise, tools, and human effort that position deserving towns as alluring locations for national businesses and destinations for tourism and quality of life amenities. With confidence, we pursue this mission by delivering unparalleled customer service as a unified team with unmatched real estate and community development expertise. Our activities pay a return in sales taxes, added jobs, and businesses that enhance and add to the unique qualities of your community.