MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

February 25, 2013

Small business picks up

Shops and diners are opening or planning renovations

— Retail development officials see promise in new small businesses and the recent sale of retail outlets that have been empty for years.

Kamlesh Aggarwal, the owner of Sooner Realty Properties LLC, a commercial sales and leasing agency, said the recent purchase of the Azalea Inn, Barking Frog, Jasper’s Restaurant and others is good news for Muskogee and surrounding areas.

“To me, any shut-down property not only brings surrounding values down, but invites vandalism and doesn’t bring revenues to the city,” Aggarwal said. “This is all tremendous progress for the city.”

Jasper’s Restaurant closed in January 2008. Its new owner recently applied for a $20,000 business remodeling permit from the city.

The Barking Frog was a truck stop on U.S. 69, just outside the city limits. Closed for at least five years, it was sold late last year.

The Azalea Inn has been closed for almost three years, and its new owner intends extensive remodeling, Aggarwal said.

In addition to the future redevelopment of those businesses, several eateries that opened in Muskogee during the last six months or so are also good news for the city, said officials of the Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce.

The eateries include The Bite Market & Cafe on West Broadway, Dessert Girls Bakery Cafe on East Side Boulevard, Erly Rush in the antique district on Main Street and Simply Delicious on South York Street.

The most recent to open is Sarah Jane’s Subs, a food wagon at York Street and Haskell Boulevard.

Ongoing or soon to begin expansions include Sweet N Sassy Cafe on Main Street, Gino’s Restaurant – which is moving from York Street to the old Jasper’s Restaurant on Okmulgee Avenue – and Heirloom Catering.

“What’s really great about these new eateries is they give Muskogee a unique look, feel and flavor that is inviting to visitors,” Chamber President Treasure McKenzie said. “And locally owned businesses recycle a greater amount of revenue back into the economy.”

McKenzie said local business owners spend their profits at home, create jobs, and create sales tax revenue for the city.

Building permits granted by the city in the last two months also show commercial business is growing or being spruced up.

Several projects with more than $1 million worth of work are under way, including a remodeling project at Lake Country Chevrolet on Shawnee Bypass and a commercial development at Hancock and York streets, according to permit listings.

In addition, several remodeling or expansion projects ranging from $60,000 to $280,000 in commercial establishments in the city are under way.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.

Recent commercial building permits

Feb. 13- 20

• 3371 W. Broadway, Muskogee Holdings LLC, commercial remodel, $250,000.

• 3500 N. York St., Elizabeth A. Ross, commercial remodel, $60,000.

Feb. 7-13

• 2400 E. Hancock Road, Yorkshire Investments, signs, $1,192,780.

• 3371 W. Broadway, Muskogee Holdings LLC, commercial remodel, $250,000.

Jan. 16-30

• 2400 E. Hancock Road, Yorkshire Investments, water service, $1,192,780.

• 2711 S. York St., York Properties LLC, water service, $400,000.

• 1702 W. Okmulgee Ave., Southwest Guaranty Invest LTD, commercial remodel, $20,000.

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