ADA — The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service recently prepared a presentation delivered at the Century Cities public meeting which highlighted interesting details about retail trade in Pontotoc county. According to data between 1980 - 2005, the city of Ada has seen steady growth in sales taxes collected (not accounting for inflation) while population remained almost constant. According to sales tax returns, Ada’s 2005 sales tax revenue (4 percent) was $11.3 million dollars generated on $282 million in sales. Sales tax returns are important to a city because they reflect the general health of a local economy and also represent significant revenue for the city budget.

Breaking down the 2005 retail trade industry into eight categories, the data shows that Ada’s highest sales are from the general merchandise category, mainly because Wal-Mart lumps all its sales into that category. Ada’s next highest sales are in the clothing category, followed by restaurants, auto sales, miscellaneous, furniture, building then grocery. The miscellaneous category includes flower shops, gift stores, jewelry stores, antique shops, etc. Stonewall, according to the data, has a high percentage of its sales coming from the auto parts category. Byng, Allen, and Roff’s high sales come from the grocery category.

The data also indicates Stonewall, Roff and Allen have had spurts of economic activity with their sales tax collections also climbing. The financial analysts looked at the Trade Area Capture (TAC) which is basically the number of people shopping in Ada annually, using estimated figures from the Oklahoma Tax Commission sales tax returns (only taxable sales). From 1980, the TAC was just under 29,000 people shopping in Ada annually, with a sharp increase in 1982 and steadily increasing to a peak of 36,000 in 2004.

By dividing Ada’s TAC by the town’s population, roughly 15,000 in 2004, one can see the town is drawing in shoppers over and above its own population. If the TAC estimate is larger than the city’s population then two explanations are possible: either the city is attracting customers outside its boundaries or the residents of the city are spending more than the state average. This “pull factor” index allows analysts to compare trade in different cities and towns. Ada’s pull factor over the last 25 years has consistently been above 1.7, sometimes nearly 2.3, indicating Ada pulls in customers from outside its boundaries, which has not been achieved by Ardmore, Durant, Duncan, Chickasha or McAlester. Ada has consistently done better than the average for cities of populations 10,000 - 25,000, and Pontotoc County is one of only 10 Oklahoma counties that achieved a pull factor of 1.0 or greater.

Allen only once in 1980 achieved better than a 1.0 pull factor index, with Byng, Francis, Roff and Stonewall all falling below an index of one over the last 25 years.

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