Shops at McAlester officially launches with Burkes Outlet | Local News


Terri Brown drove from Eufaula for the grand opening of Burkes Outlet – the first department store to open in the Shops at McAlester Highway mall.

Since she already knows Burkes Outlet for shopping in other cities, Brown is excited to see the new store open in McAlester.

“I was driving in Muskogee,” Brown said of his previous trips to Burkes. “It’s much shorter.”

What does she think of the new Burkes Outlet in McAlester?

“I love it, I love it,” she said.

Brown joined other shoppers along with representatives from the McAlester Chamber of Commerce, city officials and others Thursday morning for Burkes’ grand opening.

Chamber of Commerce Director Brian Flynn attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by patrons who visited Burkes. They converged on the site to discover McAlester’s new shopping option at the Shops at McAlester center, near the intersection of Fourteenth Street and US Highway 69, also known as the George Nigh Expressway in McAlester.

Some immediately headed to the clothes racks, which featured clothes for girls and women, boys and men, children and babies. Others looked at toys placed on store shelves, while others stopped to spin a wheel to see if they would win a gift card.

Store manager Kerry Fessler took it all in as shoppers continued to stream through the door.

“It’s great to be at the grand opening,” Fessler said. “It’s awesome.”

Burkes Outlet had a soft opening earlier this week ahead of the groundbreaking ceremony.

“It’s going really well,” Fessler said. “Sales are increasing every day. This is a real solid opening for us. We expect great things today and throughout the weekend.”

Buyers included Gina Bueno and her soon-to-be 2-year-old daughter Bella Bueno from McAlester, as well as Bella’s grandmother, Liz Coale.

“I like it,” said Gina Bueno. Coal agreed.

“I love Burkes,” said Coale, who lives in Alderson and has shopped at Burkes Outlet stores in other cities.

“I should drive to Muskogee first,” Coale said. She is already looking forward to shopping at Burkes during the Christmas season.

“I’m glad we finally have stores and more choices,” Coale said.

Store manager Kessler said he appreciated the welcome from the Chamber of Commerce. Josh Hass, Kyle Spruce, Ray Wilson and other House members joined Flynn for the ceremony.

“It’s great to see how they’ve put everything together for us,” Kessler said.

Flynn shared the sentiment.

“Burkes Outlet is the first store in the mall to contact us,” Flynn said. “We are thrilled to have the first ribbon cutting at the mall today.”

Chamber Member Jessica Gregg, who is executive director of the McAlester Defense Support Association, also stopped by to welcome Burkes Outlet to the community.

“We’re thrilled to have Burkes here,” Gregg said. “It’s a great turnout. We’re delighted to have them.”

Town of McAlester Economic Development Manager Kirk Ridenour watched the store as it began to fill with customers, seeing the culmination of years of work.

“It’s really here,” Ridenour said. “This is the official launch of the mall.

“We are very excited about what this means for the community and the quality of life improvements it will bring to residents.”

The next store to open at Shops at McAlester is Hobby Lobby, scheduled for a soft opening on Friday April 1, followed by its grand opening at 8:30 am on Monday April 4.

Other stores opening soon include Rack Room Shoes, TJ Maxx and Ross. Other businesses, such as Five Below and Jiffy Lube, have signs saying they will be setting up on the site. Restaurants the developer says are planning to open in the mall include Chick-Fil-A and Burger King.

The town of McAlester spent several years trying to set up a new mall along the freeway, but it didn’t really begin to move forward until developer Burk Collins of Burk Collins & Company joined the project.

“When Burk came in, it changed the dynamic,” Ridenour said.

Collins entered the project through a tax increment financing agreement with the McAlester Area Southside Reinvestment Committee, also known as the Highway TIF Committee, made up of representatives of entities that benefit from tax collections from city ​​and county.

Through the TIF deal, Collins agreed to build the mall and a nearby traffic light at his own expense. McAlester city councilors and Pittsburg County commissioners have agreed to let Collins receive their share of sales tax collected at the site, for five years or until $5.5 million is collected, according to the first possibility. The five-year countdown began earlier in March, when Starbucks became the first business to open in the new freeway mall.

McAlester Mayor John Browne joined Thursday’s official opening festivities.

“It’s great to see a very long and complicated process come to fruition,” Browne said. “A tremendous amount of work has gone into this.” He said it took a lot of negotiating and a lot of back and forth to get there. .

Browne noted the effort Ridenour and McAlester City Manager Pete Stasiak put into the project, as well as the work done by the Highway TIF Committee.

He said former Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin helped get the new traffic light for the Fourteenth Street intersection approved when she was the state’s chief executive.

“It all had to come together for this store to open today,” Browne said. “We are really looking forward to having a great community partner at Burkes Outlet. Again, my thanks to everyone who made this possible.”

Coale, one of the customers at the new store, liked the prices she saw at Burkes.

“I think it will really help people’s budgets,” Coale said. “I am very happy and excited.”

Contact James Beaty at [email protected]

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