With a population of more than 20,000 residents, Del City has successfully recruited Sav-A-Lot Food Stores and Dollar Tree.

Del City, OK



Del City, Oklahoma, an inner ring suburb of Oklahoma City, had worked for years to revitalize commercial districts and rehabilitate neighborhoods in the community. Once they had made those improvements, Tom Leatherbee, director of community services for Del City, knew the city was ready to begin telling their story to the retail community.

The biggest challenge he faced was not being able to identify and communicate with the right people or the right retailers to showcase the city’s opportunities. He didn’t have access to the right people to tell Del City’s story – until he met Retail Strategies.

In 2014 Del City decided to partner with Retail Strategies to take a proactive approach to recruiting new businesses. “The first thing I saw was the value in the data, analytics and research service that I was able to have by partnering with Retail Strategies,” said Leatherbee. “I was in the process of pricing data, but the Retail Strategies team took the work off of my plate directly. Anything we received beyond that was free return on our investment as far as I was concerned.”

We were trying to improve our situation as a whole and make it ready to facilitate development, but all those efforts went by the wayside because we didn’t have connections to retailers.
Tom Leatherbee
Dir. Community Services


The Retail Strategies recruitment team went to work analyzing the trade area and reviewing real estate for retail development. Del Crest Shops was identified, and a shopping center owner that specialized in distressed shopping centers had recently purchased the center. With nearly zero tenants in the center, the Retail Strategies team was able to work with the new owner to make the center viable for retail.

“Retail Strategies was invaluable during that time because I would bounce ideas off of the team, and Clay was able to have back-channel conversations with the owner that ultimately led to the redevelopment of the Del Crest Shops.”

We’ve moved from ‘wouldn’t this be a great redevelopment area’ to ‘wouldn’t this be a great site for this retailer that is expanding in Oklahoma.
Tom Leatherbee
Dir. Community Services


The team was able to assist in the recruitment of both a Save A Lot Food Stores and Dollar Tree to Del Crest Shops, and the center got a complete facelift. The shopping center is now a viable community shopping center. The community development team for Del City now knows the local developers and brokers to talk to, and the right businesses that are a fit for the city. “Having someone to facilitate the conversations with retailers has been a huge help,” said Leatherbee.

The team from the city has become much more knowledgeable themselves as well. “Our community has matured, and our city is more site ready. We’ve moved from ‘wouldn’t this be a great redevelopment area’ to ‘wouldn’t this be a great site for this retailer that is expanding in Oklahoma.’”

Success is not always defined just as store openings and the Retail Strategies team has successfully assisted in driving interest to many other sites and proposed retail developments in the market during the partnership. These conversations don’t always lead to immediate store openings, but the team has been very successful in getting retailers and developers to take a very close look at the market where previously they would have passed over it.

“Being a megaphone for the change happening in Del City to the retail world is one of the most vital roles we play,” said Clay Craft, Retail Development Director for Retail Strategies.

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Beyond Retail Recruitment

“The single biggest thing has been for me to have a sounding board,” continued Leatherbee. “To have someone knowledgeable in the industry, that truly knows commercial real estate and the conversations going on now. I can pick up the phone and tell Clay I have this crazy idea, is this something that might work or should I move on? You can’t put a price on that.”

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