Week of February 25, 2002
  Blockbuster Deal of the Week
   from Site Selection's exclusive New Plant database
Location, Incentives, Teamwork Bring $40M Dollar Tree Dist. Center to Marietta, Okla.
By JACK LYNE, Site Selection Executive Editor of Interactive Publishing

Marietta, Oklahoma
With 2,445 residents,
the city of Marietta on Oklahoma's southern border should realize a significant economic bounce from Dollar Tree Stores' new Southwest distribution center.
MARIETTA, Okla. -- Location, incentives and teamwork: That threesome combined to made up a winning recipe for tiny Marietta, Okla., which has successfully landed Dollar Tree Stores' (www.dollartree.com) Southwest regional distribution center.
        A city of 2,445 residents on Oklahoma's southern border, Marietta will be home to Dollar Tree's US$40 million-plus, 603,000-sq.-ft. (54,270-sq.-m.) facility employing 125 workers. The distribution center will be built on an 85-acre (34-hectare) tract at the interchange of Interstate 35 and state Highway 32. The facility will be designed to accommodate later expansions, which could enlarge the total footprint to up to 1.2 million sq. ft. (108,000 sq. m.), company officials said.
        Oklahoma and Texas were the final contending states for Dollar Tree's Southwest center. The company surveyed six Oklahoma sites along I-35 and six sites in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Dollar Tree officials said.
        Dollar Tree late last year came close to buying land in Forth Worth, according to Knight-Ridder Business News. But the company pulled back on the deal after details prematurely leaked, the news service reported.

Location, Incentives, Right-to-Work
All Major Decision Factors

Proximity to major Southwest population centers and easy access to I-35 were two of the reasons that the county seat of Love County got the nod over competing sites, explained Dollar Tree Senior Vice President of Logistics Stephen White. The new facility in Marietta will serve Dollar Tree retail operations in Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, he said.
        Dollar Tree also liked Oklahoma's incentive package for new industries, White added. No information is yet available on incentives for the Dollar Tree project. Oklahoma's policy is to not announce which companies have applied for incentives, state officials explained. Dollar Tree, however, is eligible for a number of state incentives, including the Quality Jobs Program (QJP at domino1.odoc.state.ok.us/newhome/relocate.nsf/pages/QualityJobs), Oklahoma development officials said. The QJP awards direct quarterly cash payments of up to 5 percent of new taxable payroll to eligible firms that create new jobs. QJP benefits can extend up to 10 years.
        Dollar Tree's interest in Oklahoma, said White, was also boosted by last September's voter approval of a constitutional amendment making it the 22nd U.S. right-to-work state. "We viewed that as a positive sign and a clear indication of a growing pro-business attitude in Oklahoma," he said of Oklahomans OK of the right-to-work measure.

Love County Teams with Neighboring Ardmore

Without teamwork, though, this deal may well not have happened. And the teamwork on this project was the kind sometimes not seen in economic development, where political jurisdictions and sizable egos have been known to totally overwhelm commonsensical concerns about an area's greater good.
Ardmore, Oklahoma
Economic development forces in Ardmore in adjacent Carter County helped Love County land the Dollar Tree project. (Pictured: The Carter County Courthouse in Ardmore)

        The teamwork on this project began to unfold shortly after Charles Kimbrough, site location manager for the Oklahoma Dept. of Commerce (www.odoc.state.ok.us), contacted Marietta. But Dollar Tree's huge center, local officials wisely realized, was beyond Love County's resources. At the same time, though, Love County leaders realized that just that sort of experience and expertise was available in a neighboring city: Ardmore, population 23,711, the county seat of Carter County, which sits just north of Love County. The Ardmore Development Authority (ADA at (www.ardmore.org) in turn understood that the Dollar Tree project would also be good for its service area. After being asked to participate, the ADA teamed with the Love County Industrial Foundation in collaboratively recruiting the project.
        "We simply didn't have the expertise or resources to make this happen and appreciate ADA's willingness to work with us for the betterment of Love County and the rest of southern Oklahoma," Love County Industrial Foundation President Willis Choate said as Dollar Tree announced its site decision.
        And the teamwork on the Dollar Tree project may not be a one-shot deal, Choate suggested. "We see this as the beginning of a long-term relationship between our two organizations that will be beneficial to the entire area," he said.

ADA Will Be Contractor, Building Owner

"It takes a team to beat the competition," ADA President Wes Stucky said at Dollar Tree's announcement. "The city of Marietta, the Love County Industrial Foundation, the Love County Commissioners, the Love County Tax Assessor, the Ardmore Development Authority, the city of Ardmore, the Oklahoma Tax Commission and the Oklahoma Dept. of Commerce all worked in concert." The ADA will act as the general contractor on the Dollar Tree project and will own the building. The development organization similarly owns and operates Michelin's 176,000-sq.-ft. (16,351-sq.-m.) warehouse in Ardmore.
        Construction on the Marietta distribution center will begin in mid-March, Dollar Tree officials said. The facility should begin operations in the first quarter of 2003, they added. Chesapeake, Va.-based Dollar Tree has amassed a substantial real estate portfolio by providing discount stores that hark back to the variety outlets of an earlier era. The company now has more than 1,700 stores in 36 U.S. states. Each store sells a mix housewares, toys, food, candy, health and beauty aids, party goods, gifts, and books - and nothing is priced higher than $1.

bd0225bbd0225b?R1_Insider_Btm" ©2002 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.